Bible Study

Editors’ Journal

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17

When the Christian first commits his life unto God he has the desire which Jesus had at his baptism, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7-9). The balance of the Christian life is spent in trying to determine what that will is.

The Apostle Paul discusses this subject in detail in the twelfth chapter of Romans. In the first verse he urges consecration: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

In the second verse he follows through by showing that the determination of God’s will involves a renewing of the mind: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

This will then involve the determination of the Christian in the role God wishes him to fill. Thus Paul continues in verse three with the concept of evaluation: "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

After discussing the diversity of operations in the body of Christ in verses four through eight, he completes the chapter with practical applications of the principles of Christian living.

A Life of Study

With such a task ahead of him, it is little wonder that the admonition is penned: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

The word study in this verse would be better translated as diligent, showing that it is not only the accumulation of knowledge Paul is encouraging but the application of that knowledge in a vital Christian life of service to his God and to his Savior, Jesus Christ.

This issue of THE HERALD is devoted to this topic of studying to determine the will of God. It is based on the premise that the only sure foundation for Christian living is the word of God, the Bible.

The opening treatise examines the relationship of study, devotion, and service. It is entitled Balance in the Christian Walk and shows the necessity of all three elements in a well rounded Christian life. Both proper devotion and proper service are based on an intellectual affirmation of the priority of God’s will in one’s life. Study becomes essential to the determination of that will.

The second article, The Importance of Study, may appear to address an obvious theme; but the author looks at study in four distinct areas—doctrine, prophecy, service, and divine principles.

Some Thoughts on Bible Study, acknowledges that the Bible is hard to understand. Written by a variety of authors over a period exceeding two thousand years and in a minimum of two ancient languages, it would be amazing if it were easy to comprehend. The author discusses various principles that will help the diligent student in his search for truth from this amazing and inspired book.

A tract on Bible study, originally published by the New Albany (IN) Bible Students has been condensed for the next article, entitled How to Study the Bible.

Honest, sincere, and highly educated scholars have disagreed over the meaning of many Bible passages. Inconsistencies between ancient manuscripts and a wide variance between translators of the Bible raise the question, How can I know which Bible is best? In a detailed and analytical study this very question is probed in the deeply-researched article, How to Choose a Bible Translation. We have devoted a large portion of this issue to this article because of the importance of the subject and the thorough research that went into its writing.

Not only do various translations vie for our attention but different approaches to the manner of Bible study are also frequently urged. Some students contend strongly for a verse by verse approach to the scriptures, while others prefer a topical method of study, often using various topical study guides as an aid. These two approaches are evaluated in the treatise, Precept Upon Precept, which discusses the advantages of each method.

A biblical example of the topical method of study is explored through a verse by verse study in the first chapter of Hebrews. The subject of that chapter is The Preeminence of Christ and a study of the chapter not only illuminates that theme but also gives important insights into the apostles’ approach to Bible study and the New Testament use of Old Testament quotations.

Our desire is that this issue not only be an assistance to each of us in gaining more from our studies of the Lord’s word but that it also be an incentive to more diligent study. Such study, however, is not the end of our goal. The purpose of the study is to enable us to each live a life more pleasing to our heavenly Father and more to his glory.

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:…"—James 1:22, 23