Studying the Bible

(Fourie) #1

Hi there. What would RZIM recommend when it comes to Bible study? I have been captivated by John Macarthur’s expository teaching. Now I read that he takes quite a bit of flack for being “too serious” as well as his Cessationism believes and Strange fire conference. But then I also realise that almost all teachers take heat some time or another. I was amazed that even Ravi has critics calling him a heretic As a young christian i need teaching on the bible. Who can i trust?

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(Jennifer Wilkinson) #2

What a wonderful question! We’ll never find a Bible teacher who is 100% correct because we’re all human. I think the more we stay in God’s Word ourselves, the easier it will be to recognize when a teacher is wrong. And, for that matter, we’ll start recognizing when we’re wrong. It helps to listen to a number of different teachers. If we notice areas in which they disagree with each other, we’ll be inspired to pull out our Bibles and seek God’s help in finding the truth.

I’ve found How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur very helpful in learning how to study the Bible myself rather than relying on what other people say the Bible means. You can learn about some of her Bible study techniques at www.precept.org under the “Know God’s Word” tab.

How to Study the Bible for Yourself by Tim LaHaye is also very beneficial. There is one comment in the preface to the youth edition that disturbed me. He said that Jesus "felt disappointment, pain, pressure, guilt, uncertainty, and all the other emotions that we feel throughout our lifetime. I don’t know why Tim LaHaye included guilt in the list. He is probably referencing the fact that Jesus carried our guilt, but I think the statement could easily be misunderstood. That just proves we need to use discernment no matter what great Christian author we’re reading.

Gaining a good understanding of the overall story and structure of the Bible is one of the best safeguards against false teaching. Most false doctrines come from taking a passage of the Bible out of context. As we familiarize ourselves with the broad context of God’s Word, we’ll recognize when something a teacher says doesn’t fit.

Are you familiar with BibleTelling.org and BTstroies.com? John Walsh runs these sites. He specializes in telling Bible stories with adults as his intended audience. Too many people think Bible stories are only for children, but we all love stories and need to know the stories (the true account of history) found in the Bible. At BTstoies.com you can read or listen to 262 stories from the Bible. I’d love to know what other resources people recommend for overviews of the Bible.

May God bless you as you dig into His Word. It’s an exciting journey!

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(SeanO) #3

@jacque Great question. I think the simple truth is that you need to grow in your own ability to discern truth from error. Here are some thoughts on how to go about that process.

  • do not make one teacher’s opinion your basis for what you believe - listen to a variety of teachers and weigh each of their positions as best as you are able. On disputable matters, do not listen only to those who teach with the position you are familiar with, listen to godly people who teach from different perspectives on secondary issues
  • hold fast to the historic doctrines of Christianity - the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, the bodily resurrection of Jesus - and ensure that teachers you listen to also hold fast to those truths
  • before you trust a teacher, examine their life and the lives of their followers - do you see the fruit of the Spirit? Do you see God’s truth being lived out with humility and love? Or do you see mean spirited behavior?
  • become an avid student of the Bible yourself - learn to study God’s Word and make that one of your life’s greatest goals to always be increasing in your knowledge of the Lord

I would same some good teachers to listen, none of whom I agree with on every point of doctrine, are:

Here are some resources that may help you in terms of studying the Scriptures. Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

Levels of Doctrine

Not all doctrine is equally important. Some beliefs are at the very center of our Christian faith and to deny them is to deny Christ. Other beliefs are important to how we practice our faith and are therefore the cause of disagreement between many denominations, but these beliefs do not place us outside of Christ. Still other doctrines, such as eschatology, are difficult even for very learned and godly people to understand clearly and are therefore a matter of opinion.

The below article offers a fuller explanation of levels of doctrine and gives a helpful summary list of 4 levels of doctrine.

  1. absolutes define the core beliefs of the Christian faith;
  2. convictions , while not core beliefs, may have significant impact on the health and effectiveness of the church;
  3. opinions are less-clear issues that generally are not worth dividing over; and
  4. questions are currently unsettled issues.

Where an issue falls within these categories should be determined by weighing the cumulative force of at least seven considerations:

  1. biblical clarity;
  2. relevance to the character of God;
  3. relevance to the essence of the gospel;
  4. biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
  5. effect on other doctrines;
  6. consensus among Christians (past and present); and
  7. effect on personal and church life.
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Resources on study of the Gospels
(Fourie) #4

Thank you all! This means a lot to me! God bless you.

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