How Do You Study The Bible?

Many people believe all they need to know about any Bible subject ought to be found in one verse. This oftentimes becomes their favorite verse. If you inform them of other verses which show something additional is required, they usually refuse those verses and insist on their one "favorite" verse. While it is true that "all scripture is given by the inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16), we must realize it takes "all scripture" in order to have the complete understanding of what God would have us to know on a subject. All the information on any given Bible subject is rarely found in one verse.

If we were to only read Mark 14:47 we would know that somebody who was standing nearby drew a sword and cut off an ear of the high priest's servant. There is no way we can know who that person was, who the high priest's servant was, or which ear was cut off. At least, we can not know the answers from just having read Mark 14:47. However, if we were to find the same incident being refered to by another writer, we might get more insight. Thus when we turn to Matthew 26:51 we learn a little more. In this passage we find the one who drew the sword was "one of them which were with Jesus". He becomes more than just a "by-stander" but is identified as being with Jesus. Also if we look at Luke 22:50 we learn which ear was cut off. It was the "right ear". Then in John 18:10 we can learn it was Peter who drew the sword and the high priest's servant had a name as well, Malchus.

While the example just looked at may seem trivial as far as Bible study is concerned, what about God's plan of salvation? Many think everything about salvation from sin can be found in a single verse. Some quote John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Others quote Romans 10:13: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Other verses MUST be considered! Jesus in John 3:16 is not teaching salvation by faith only. Nor is He teaching salvation apart from works. We have to look at verse 21: "But he that DOETH truth cometh to the light, that his DEEDS may be manifest, that they are WROUGHT in God." The same is true of Romans 10:13. Paul is not teaching that just calling on the Lord will save. We must look at verse 14 which shows we must HEAR and BELIEVE. Also verse 16 shows we must "OBEY the gospel". Even Jesus said, "Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

How do you study your Bible? Do you study only in view of your "favorite" verse or do you consider everything God has said on the subject? Your eternal destiny will depend on it.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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