lunes, 16 de junio de 2014

Basic steps to Bible Study

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Luke 11:28 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Not all versions of the Bible are the same and the version we choose is critical for sound doctrine. When studying the Scriptures is always good to compare the version we are reading with other good translation. That will give us more understanding on some words, or you also
can use a bible dictionary.

The King James Bible is one of the best versions in the English language.  Other Bibles translated from the Textus Receptus or Received Text (Majority Text), which are just a few bibles left today, are also good. Example: 'The Interlinear Bible' by Jay P. Green Sr.; George Ricker Berry, Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, World Publishing, 1997, 1999; Young's Literal Translation; New King James & Modern English Translation.  What is important is that the bible version was translated from the Received Text (Textus Receptus or Majority Text). Most modern translations like New International Version, The Living Bible, New Revised Standard, etc. have many parts translated from a corrupted manuscript or minority text, that comes from Alexandria Egypt and are not reliable translations, you will see some examples below. Also the Greek Interlinear by Wescott & Hort is corrupted, they used the minority text manuscripts and most new modern translation used this Wescott & Hort interlinear to translate their versions (this interlinear is used also by the Jehova's Witnesses). A quick test we can do: Any version of the Bible which omits Acts 8:37, and/or "through his blood" Col. 1:14 evidently has for its foundation a corrupted manuscript. Check this chart: Bible Version Comparison.
Some bible verses about the importance of keeping the Word of God pure: Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, Galatians 1:8-9 ;Revelation 22:19; Acts 17:11.

To study the Bible we can follow this 4 steps:

1/ Setting the context: “ABCs”
There are two broad categories for context. One is called the historical-cultural context. The other is the literary context.

-Author — Who wrote the passage?
-Background — When did the author live? In what culture?
-Context — How does the passage fit in with what comes before and after it? -Reading the text involves looking at the near context (the verse immediately before and after) as well as the far context (the paragraph or the chapter that precedes and/or follows the passage you’re studying). The smaller the passage being studied, the greater the chance of error.  Examples:

-Amos 5:23 "Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols."

But when we read more verses of this chapter we understand the context, this is not about God prohibiting musical instruments as some may believe.  Israel thought that they were really honoring God and pleasing Him by their observance of the feasts and sacred assemblies, but God was offended by their religious ceremonialism, disconnected from the heart and justice towards one another.

See: Psalm 81:1-3,144:9, Hebrews 13:15, etc.

Another example:
-Romans 8:1 (& 4) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, -many stop there, but it also says: who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

When this last phrase is not included (like NIV & new translations) it creates a possible doctrinal error. To say there is no condemnation of any kind to all who are in Christ Jesus is to overlook the whole of Scripture.
By reading the near context we'll understand better the meaning: Romans 8:6,8, also Acts 5:1-10, Gal. 2:20. 'I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; 5:16-25, 1 Cor.6:8-11, John 15:6, etc.

To be in Christ, means to be so under his influence, as not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit; that is, to receive constant divine influence from Him, as the branches receive nourishment from the vine in order to live & give fruit. This close relationship with Christ, and subjection to His guide, are taught throughout the Scriptures. We need to persevere in this close relationship, living according to His Word, if we don't want to fall from grace.
Mat.10:22, Ezekiel 3:20,18:18 & 26; Exodus 32:31-33, Mat.7:21-23; Luke 21:36; 1 Cor. 10:12; Rom.11:20-22; Rev. 5:3, Rev 3:14-16, etc.

2/ What does the passage say ?  (Observation)

-Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Read prayerfully (Ps.119:18, 27, 33-36). Re-read the passage.
-Gather all sorts of facts like an investigative reporter. Ask questions to help you observe the facts: Who? What happened? What was taught? When? Where? How? Why? This is where you see and discover what the author is saying.
-Locate and mark any key words, repeated words or phrases, and commands.

3/ What does it mean? (Meaning)
-Carefully examine the text and let it speak for itself. What is the main idea or lesson that God was trying to communicate? You can also make an outline and or write down the general idea.
-Look at other scriptures that relate to the passage. These are usually found in the margins of Bibles or in footnotes. What do other verses say about this thought?

-Use Bible study helps to get a clearer meaning of the passage as needed: Bible dictionaries, concordances, Cross-references to define any unfamiliar terms or ideas. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. 

4/ Can the principle be applied to one specific area of my life? (Application)

-What is one way I can apply the heart of this passage to my life?
-How does the truth revealed here affect my relationship with God & others?

The application step is not completed by simply answering these questions; the key is putting into practice what God has taught you in your study.  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

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-Here you can see some examples of 2 different bible versions & how they change the Word of God:



Luke 9:56
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Matt. 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Luke 9:56
and they went to another village.

Matt. 18:11

Matt. 9:13
...I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matt. 9:13
...I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

I Cor. 5:7
...Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

I Cor. 5:7
...Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

John 6:47
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 6:47
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.

Mark 11:26
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:26

Matthew 17:21                               Matthew 17:21(Missing)
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but  
by prayer and fasting. 

Matthew 23:14                               (Missing)

The bible version The Message isn't really a translation but an interpretation (created by Eugene H. Peterson), however is being used in many churches and by well know authors of christians books, like Max Lucado & Rick Warren among them:

Romans 10:13 
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved.”

Rom.10:13, The Message “Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help.”

"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,As we forgive our debtors

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."

The Message
Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best -As above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.

Psalm 51:10 - Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

The Message: “Create a Genesis Moment out of the Chaos of my Life”


Studying Psalm 23

We are going to use the same 4 steps:

1/ Setting the context: “ABCs”

- Author — King David
- Background — When did the author live? In what culture? Born in 907 BCE, he reigns as king of Israel for 40 years, dying at age 70 in 837 BCE. He was a farm boy, a shepherd & a musician, then became a warrior & a king.
- Context — Book of Psalm, Chapter 23:1-6 The Christian sees in this Psalm a wonderful foreshadowing of "The Good Shepherd" Jesus Christ, who gave his life for his sheep & watches over them even now.  

2/ What does the passage say? (Observation)

- Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Read prayerfully. Re-read the passage.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

- Questions: 
What is a shepherd?
shepherd is a sheep farmer, a pastor.
What are some of the duties of a Shepherd? Their main duty is  
-to guide the sheep safely from one place to another.
-He has to make sure that he leads them to graze,  
-drink good water,(right food & right water), 
-to make them rest and then to return them to the pen for safety
-He is responsible for protecting the sheep day & night, from wolves or other predators,  
-to examine & keep them healthty, 
-protect them from eating poisonous plants,  
-to take care of the wonded & heal them, etc. 

Sheep are not ferocious animals and have no ways to defend themselves from predators, they depend on their sheperd for survival.
- Locate and mark any key words, repeated words or phrases, and commands: -The Lord & me.

3/ What does it mean? (Meaning)

-Carefully examine the text and let it speak for itself.  

-What is the main idea or lesson that the author/God was trying to communicate? -The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want (or lack anything)

-You can make an outline and/or write down the general idea: In this Psalm King David begins by illustrating the provision of the Lord, both physical and spiritual (1-3). David then describes the protection & provision of the Lord, as he travels through dangerous places and in the presence of enemies (4-5). The psalm ends with an expression of faith and hope in the Lord's care, that God will furnish the goodness and mercy needed throughout life, so that he made abide in the house of the Lord forever (6).

-Scriptures that relates to the passage.


1. The Shepherd's Provision & guidance (23:1-3)  

The source of provision & guidance is God's presence, Josh.1:5-9  
a. Physical & Spiritual Provision (1-2) 1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want 
        (Is.40:11, Lk12:22-32, Heb.13:20, Jer.23:4)
    2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures (Ez.34:14-15; Matt.11:28-29)
    3. He leads me beside the still waters ( Rev. 7;17)
 b. Soul Restauration (3)
    1. He restores my soul (Psalm 51:10, 1Pe.2:25)
    2. He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake 
  (Psalm 5:8, 19:7, 143:11; 1Co 10:13)  

2. The Shepherd's Protection (23:4-5)  
a. His faithfullness through dificult times (4)(Valley of the shadow of death, Job 3:5) 
  1. I will fear no evil, for He is with me (Matt. 28:20; Psalm 27:1-2,138:7) 2. His rod and staff comfort me (He 12:5-11) b. In the presence of our enemies (5) 1. He prepares a table before me in their presence (Psalm 78:19, Jn 16:33) 2. He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over (Psalm 16:5, Eph 3:19-21). 

Oil : Healing, James 5:14, Luke 10:34 
Consecration: 1 John 2:27, Exodus 29:7, 30:22-31, 40:9; 2 Kings 9:6
Ecclesiastes 9:8; Acts 10:38.

3. The Shepherd's Everlasting Care (23:6)
 a. All the days of one's life (6a)
    1. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
    2. All the days of my life (2Ti 4:18)
 b. Forever (6b)
    1. I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    2. Forever (Jn 14:1-3)


 1. "The Lord is my Shepherd; - Relationship,
If we believe & follow Jesus, then we become one of His sheep. Then we can say, "The Lord is my Shepperd". The central image King David uses to describe how the Lord relates to him is a shepherd to his sheep, remember David was a shepherd, and he understood very well that relationship. But God in the Old Testament compares himself to a Shepherd and Jesus in the New Testament in John 10:11, describes himself as the 'GOOD SHEPHERD'. Jn 10:11-15, 25-30; He 13:20; 1Pe 2:21-25; 5:4; Is.40:11, Lk12:22-32, Heb.13:20, Jer.23:4.

* See video:  Do sheep only obey their Master's voice?  

I shall not want! -Provision on every area of my life.When the Lord is my Shepherd, I will lack for nothing for only He can bring satisfaction and I find that my satisfaction is in Him not in things Mat. 6:25-34,1 Tim.6:8, 2 Pe.1:3-4; Revelation 7:15-17  

2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; -Provision for body & spirit. Isaiah40:11, Jeremiah 3:15,Matthew11:28; Heb.4:1
Sheep have been known to stay in one place and eat until they eat down to the dirt. A good shepherd moves them to green pastures.

Sheep are stubborn. They don’t have enough sense to know when to lie down to rest. It's almost impossible for them to be made to lie down unless 4 requirements are met:

-They refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear. 
-Because of the social behavior within a flock sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind.
-If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down. Only when free of these pests can they relax.
-Lastly, sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food. They must be free from hunger.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.  Ez.34:19 , John 4:13-14.

"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39)
3. He restoreth my soul; - Provision for the soul. Romans12:2, Psalm139:23-24; Psalm51:10; Matthew11:28-29, 1 Peter 2:25 
My Shepherd leads me to restoration by leading me in the paths of righteousness. His righteousness was imputed to me (2 Cor 5:21) 
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. John8:12, Matthew5:6, Matthew 6:33-34

4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; The reason for that lack of fear is that we are in the shepherd’s care, and in him we can place all our trust. God never promises to keep us out of these valleys of shadows of death or prevent us from going through them but He does say that He will go “through the valley” with us. Psalm27:1-2,1Peter 5:8-9,Matthew28:20.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Proverbs 3:11-12, Numbers17:1-6, Ezekiel 20:37

His rod corrects us when we need it. He corrects every son or daughter that He loves. He also uses His rod to count & inspect His sheep. His rod also keeps predators away.
The Staff is used to draw the sheep nearer to the Shepherd, which results in a "closeness" that is beneficial to both the sheep & the Shepherd.

5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.   When He prepares a table before my enemies, this means that He has had victory over them.
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 1John 2:27,John16:13-14.  

Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Good Shepherd anointed us, put His seal of ownership on us, and gave us His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
1. An anointing of respect or hospitality. A person was anointed to signify respect and hospitality. This was also a way to welcome guests into a home. (Mk 14:8; 16:1; Luke 7:46)
2. An anointing for service, for priests (Ex. 28:41), prophets (1 Ki. 19:16) and Kings (1 Sam. 10:1).
3. An anointing for medicinal purposes (I Sam. 1:6; Lk. 10:34; James. 5:14 & Rev. 3:18).
In real life, the shepherd would anoint the sheep in order to:
1.  Heal wounds
2.  Protect against insects (& snakes)
3.  Soften fights, the oil serves as a lubricant so their heads will deflect and not cause serious injury to each other.

6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! 2Corinthians 4:16-18,Revelation21:3-4

- Other bible passages related to shepherds & sheep:

Matthew 18:10-14 - Parable of the lost sheep. Compare with parable of the Prodigal Son Luke 15:24.  Nobody can snatch us out of the Lord's hand, but we can wonder around & get lost. Also notice that the prodigal son was spiritually dead.

Ezekiel 34 
Mattew 7:15-29
Acts 20:28-31

4/  How can I apply this passage to my life? (Application)

Personal application. What is God saying in this passage? How does the truth revealed here affect my relationship with God & others?


 The most important is not what we have, but Who we have in our lives.

Important related article for parents:

Spanking kids with a rod, supported in the bible?