Questions every Christian should be able to answer Part V
How to study the Bible (continued)
Synopsis of Bible study 8/5/09
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Review of the first part of this topic (07/22/09):
The bible is divided up in 8 groups.
• Historical: This involves Genesis thru Esther
• Poetical or wisdom-literature: This includes Job thru the Song of Solomon.
• Major Prophets: This involves Isaiah through Daniel.
• Minor Prophets: This section involves Hosea through Malachi.
• The gospels: This section involves Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.
• New Testament historical: Acts of the Apostles is the only book of the New Testament to be considered historical.
• The epistles: Romans thru Jude.
• Prophetic works: The Revelation of John is a book mostly in highly figurative and symbolic language, which dealt with things which must shortly come to pass.
Remember that we learned that what we are after when we read a scripture is what the author originally intended. We try not to impose our understanding of the text on the scripture. In order to achieve this, we have to remember that context is important. Keeping this in mind, we have to realize that every word that we read has a context. To understand this context, we use tools of historical data to aid us. We try to understand historical data such as the Roman World, Caesar the ruler, tradition, and customs. When we keep this all in mind while we are reading the Bible, it helps us put into place what the text is really saying.
What is genre? It is a style. For example you have many genres of music such as Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, & etc… The 8 parts of the bible is often referred to as genres. Ex- When we look at Psalms which is from the genre poetry, we can’t view it from a historical prospective or genre.
I. Interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament
1. We live by the whole bible, not just the New Testament. You can’t’ understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament.
2. We have got to understand progressive revelation. God did not give all understanding to Moses or Abraham all at once. As time went on, he gave more and more understanding to them. We have to look at the Old Testament as a chamber with expensive historical artifacts in it. The lighting inside the chamber is really dim. You know that the artifacts are in there, but because the lighting is so dim, you really can’t see them. For example: Jesus was mentioned more than once in the Old Testament, but it was hard for people to notice, because the light is not had not been turned on yet.
3. The light shines in darkness and reveals revelation. Matthew 5:17: 17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. – Jesus didn’t write the Old Testament off when he came on the scene. Instead Jesus came to shed light on what the Old Testament meant. The time, in which Jesus lived, the Old Testament was the only thing that people had to reference what God would have them do. In fact everything that the Pharisees and Sadducees said to Jesus was stuff they lived by based off of the teachings of the Old Testament.
4. Jesus wasn’t a Christian, he was a Jew. Jesus is however, the essence of Christianity. Christianity is based on or relating to a belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Messiah, and acceptance of his teachings, contained in the Gospels. We are Christians because we follow Jesus. Jesus can’t be a Christian because he didn’t follow himself. Christianity didn’t come about until the day of the Apostles. Jesus said he didn’t come to destroy the law, but fulfill it. Ex- Remember when the Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to stone the woman for being caught in the act of adultery? Well they were justifying their action based off of the Old Testament. Jesus told them that whoever was without sin should be the first to cast the stones. This was an example of Jesus shedding light on the Old Testament and its meaning.
II. The dependence on the Holy Spirit
1. The Holy Spirit is the only way to understand the word of God. John 16:12-15: 12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you., 1 Corinthians 2:9-11: 9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. – In these scriptures, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, God revealed things that the people hadn’t ever heard before.
2. Being deep in the word does not involve how deep you make yourself look. Being deep in the word is allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you the word of God. Ex- What Bishop Walker does (preaching 4 services a Sunday and preaching all over the nation through the week) can’t be done in his own comprehension? When he is preparing messages, he applies the skills he learned in seminary. After years of knowing this stuff, it kind of becomes second nature to him. Bishop applies the methodology involving historical data and it all ends up as a compiled pile of data. Now Bishop can’t leave this pile of data just like it is, because it would sound like a lecture. Now Bishop has to ask God to make the pile of data live (much like Ezekiel and the dry bones). Now the Holy Spirit throws everything that the folk in Bishop’s congregation have been going through on him, so when he preaches, the words Bishop speaks will be the words of the Holy Spirit. This is why Bishop can preach the same sermon for all four services and each word will give different revelations for different needs, for different services, for different people, although the sermon is the same
3. How do you know if you are at the right church? When the preacher seems like he is all up in your business every time he preaches, then you know that you are in the right place. The Holy Spirit tailored the word for you. The challenge is we don’t receive some gifts of spirit because we try to analyze it with our mind. You have got to lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge him. As a result, he will direct your path. Ex- Bishop says he only goes to church about 3 times a year. You might think this is funny because of how much he preaches, but Bishop explains that when he is in church, he is working. Even when he goes to visit, he is not able to sit in the back and allow his self to be ministered to, because they want to invite him to the pulpit.
4. Answer as many questions as you can about the text. You need to ask who, what, when, where, why, and how.
a. Who- Find out who is talking?
b. What-Find out what is happening?
c. When-Find out when it was written. The time that the scripture was written in can be important.
d. Where-Find out where the story is taking place.
e. Why –Find out why the situation happened.
f. How-Find out how the story happened.
5. We have to receive Revelation: Revelation brings about inspiration. It is receiving the word of God without error
6. We have to have Transmission: This is copying as accurately as possible the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the scriptures. Translations are importation of the original manuscripts used for seeking and rendering the scriptures in our language. Don’t be married to just the King James Version of the Bible. Find you a bible that you can understand.
7. We must have Interpretation: This is finding out what the author means by what they said or wrote and putting it into meaning that our intellect can understand.
8. We must avoid misinterpretation: People often miss what the Bible is really saying, because they misinterpret the scripture.
9. We must avoid sub-interpretation: This failure to ascertain the full meaning.
10. We must avoid super-interpretation- This attributing more significant meaning than the passage actually meant.
11. We must follow through with Application: This is using a variety of gifts to make the word of God relevant to man so that change of behavior results.
III. Learn the Books of the bible using a bible methodology.
There are 39 books of the Old Testament. Starting with the Old Testament, here is a good methodology that we can use to learn the first 39 books of the bible. This is not biblically sound, but it is a way to train the brain to remember the books of the Old Testament.
1. First we start with the Pentateuch or the first five books of the bible which includes-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
2. Next we use the phrase JJ Ruth which stands for- Joshua, Judges, and Ruth
3. Next use the phrase, Samuel was King and wanted chronicles. Remember there was 1 and 2 of each book which gives us – 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, & 1 & 2 Chronicles.
4. Then you have to think about being at a family reunion and meeting some long lost relatives. Please meet Aunt Ezra, Uncle Nehemiah, and Aunt Ester from Sanford and Son. This gives us – Ezra, Nehemiah, & Esther. Ezra by the way is the only book in the bible where you see the word pulpit.
5. Next we remember the wise grandma JPPES (like the wisdom Genre). This gives us – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.
6. Next we have the Major Prophets. We have Isaiah and Jeremiah. Jeremiah cried or lamented. There were some Dry bones which give us Ezekiel which can be found next to the 3 Hebrew boys which represents Daniel. This gives us – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentation, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
7. Minor Prophets Hosea, fell in love with prostitute (hint look at the first two letters), the first Joel (rhymes with Noel), then musically join Amos-Obadiah. This gives us Hosea, Joel, Amos, & Obadiah.
8. Jonah wanted the Micah which gives us – Jonah & Micah.
9. Last we have a phrase that has to be done to a rap beat. Na-hum Ha-bak-kuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
Congratulations, you have successfully learned the first 39 books of the bible.