You’ve heard the saying: Pray and read your Bible.
Its supposed to be a magical fix for every problem, the answer to every question. But how? What makes the Bible different from the Book of Mormon, or the Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita? How can we know that the Bible really contains the truth about the God of the universe?
To answer these questions, let’s look in the Bible for answers. Since we want to get answers about the Bible, what better place to look than IN the Bible! Sometimes it takes a little digging and critical thinking, but God wants the answers to become plain to us when we dedicate a little time to looking.
So get out your Bible, or access the Bible online by clicking here.
Locate the index, the page that tells you what order the books are in and what their coordinating page numbers are. This page will be handy, so put a bookmark there. Since we’ll be using our Bibles, here’s a quick breakdown of how to look up a text. For example: John 3:16
“John” is the book of the Bible that this text is found in. You can find the page number for the book of John in the index. “3” is the chapter, so look for the BIG number 3 in the book of John. “16” is the verse, which is the little number under the big 3. John 3:16 reads: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
So now that you know how to use your Bible, Lets look at how the Bible was written.
Read: 2 Peter 1:19-21
Peter (one of Jesus’ closest followers) is saying here that the Holy Spirit influenced men to write the words found in Scripture. These are people who had dedicated their lives to serving God, who allowed God to speak and write through them. Peter also says here in verse 20 that the Bible isn’t intended to have any sort of private interpretations. The Bible is intended to be understood plainly by everyone! Old and young, rich and poor, male and female. I think this also means that we should be able to take the Bible at face value. We shouldn’t have to use other books or writings to figure out what the Bible is trying to say. God’s Word is self explanatory.
So from what Peter said, it is apparent that the Bible was written by humans. So that leaves the question, is what they wrote really from God?
Read: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Paul (who wrote the book of Timothy) specifically says ALL Scripture is inspired by God. Not just the gospels, not just the New Testament, Every single part of the Bible! He goes on to list the reasons the Bible is given to us today. Doctrine: The Bible gives us fundamentals of what to believe. Reproof and Correction: The Bible tells us the things we are doing that are wrong. Instruction in Righteousness: The Bible shows us the right way to live and how to grow into the people we were created to be. Why? So that we can be COMPLETE, ready and equipped to do good for others.
Notice that Paul uses Present Tense when writing about God’s Word. He says Scripture IS _____. Not was, not will be.
Read: Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25, and Matthew 24:35
Three different writers all say the same thing: God’s Word lasts forever. It is always relevant.
So what does the Bible say about TRUTH? Thats what we’re ultimately looking for right?
Read: John 17:17
Here Jesus is praying to God the Father. Jesus specifically says “Your word is truth”, literally meaning God’s Word is truth. How much more simple could it be!
So here’s another thought, there are so many people who interpret the Bible differently, so many Christian religions, so many beliefs! Which one is right? How can we know that we are really learning the truth as it is described here?
Read: John 8:31-32
Jesus says, if you abide in my word – if you read it, study it, understand it – you will be a true follower of me. He makes a promise: “and you shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free”. Following Jesus isn’t necessarily about being a part of a specific religion or believing what your friends believe, its about digging into the Bible and understanding what God is really saying to you. Jesus promises that when we choose to spend time getting to know Him by reading and studying the Bible, we WILL learn truth – we will KNOW truth. We will be able to separate truth from lies, we will be able to see clearly.
Read: John 16:13
Jesus gives us the promise of the Holy Spirit. He promises that the Holy Spirit will help us understand truth and practically apply it to our lives. This is where the power of prayer comes in. When we are searching for truth, when we are studying the Bible, we need to ask for guidance. Asking God to help us ensures our success!
So how do we find TRUTH?
Read: Acts 17:11
This verse is talking about a group of believers who lived in a city called Berea. Luke (the writer of this book) says this group wanted to figure out truth for themselves and so they “searched the Scriptures daily”. This is the formula for growth: daily study. If you look at verse 12, the result of that daily study was that many of them believed – they found the truth.
Personal study is essential to figuring out what the Bible and God are all about. Does the Bible talk about how to study it?
Read: Isaiah 28:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 2:13
Isaiah has this method: studying “precept upon precept, line upon line… here a little, there a little”. He is saying that we need to study the principles in the Bible closely, carefully, thoughtfully. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that we need to compare spiritual things with spiritual things. Both of these writers are pointing out the same concept: we should be looking at what different Bible writers say about the same topic and thinking critically about what is being said.
There are many methods for studying the Bible and discovering truth, and sometimes it takes a little time to find a method that is most beneficial for you. To learn more about the 7 step method that I am currently using for Bible study, click here.
The Bible contains God’s words to us, as relevant today as they were when they were first written. Friends, I can tell you from personal experience that God’s Word is powerful – it has changed my life and is continuing to transform me into the woman I was meant to be. I know that it can change your life too, should you choose to start this journey. Finding truth, realizing truth, and living truth are all in God’s plan for each one of us. Will you join me on the quest for truth today?
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4