Q. How Do I Study the Bible?
A. by Dr. Roy Blizzard

from Yavo Digest Vol. 1, No. 1, 1986

I have five steps for studying the Bible that I use in my own study, and would like to share these five steps with you:

1. You must first learn to study the Bible lexically.  What do I mean, "lexically?"  You need to have a working knowledge of a good Hebrew and Greek lexicon, so that you can go to the original language and look up the meaning of the word in the language in which it was written.
Heretofore, these lexical aids have been available only for those who had a working knowledge of Hebrew and Greek; but now these lexical aids have been numerically indexed to Strong's Concordance and can be utilized by everyone, even without a working knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.

2. Second, one must study the Bible contextually; that is, "What is the context in which this passage is found?"  To answer that question, one must read the passage in its context--with the Scriptures preceding it and following it.  Don't just look at the isolated passage, but see it in its entire context.

3. One must study the Bible scripturally.  By that I mean that you must see this passage in its context as it relates to all other Scripture in the biblical text.  In other words, this passage cannot be taken out of its context and then interpreted in such a way that it disagrees with other Scripture--either preceding or following.

4. This leads me to the fourth step: one must then study the Bible historically.  In other words, we cannot take any passage or event in the biblical text and withdraw it from the historical context in which it is set, and then try to make it apply in our own historical situation--perhaps 2000 years or more removed from the passage or the event.  For example, in one passage in the New Testament, Paul allows women the unfettered right to pray or prophesy publicly, and then in another, he says, "Let the women be silent in the churches."  How do we reconcile these two passages?  Are they contradictory, or is the answer to be found in the historical context that gave birth to the statement?  The answer is, of course, in the historical and cultural context.

It's not my purpose in this response to deal with the subject of the role of women in the Church; I just use this as an example of the importance of seeing each passage in its historical and cultural context.

5. Finally, one must study the Bible prayerfully.  The Bible says, "You have no need that any man should teach you,... the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth."  However, the Holy Spirit is not going to teach you anything unless you are studying.  But if you're studying, following the guidelines set forth above, and prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to direct you in your study, chances are that you will either find the answer for yourself or the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone who will give you the right answer.

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