Principles of Bible Study

Following these principles will help keep you from going wrong in interpreting scripture after thorough prayer for understanding and insight through the Holy Spirit:
1) Find ALL verses related to the subject you are interested in. What if the subject didn’t exist in bible times–such as dating, television etc.?  Find verses related to principles such as purity, appropriate speech, attitudes etc.
2) Study the context for each verse on your list.  Note who is speaking, who they are speaking to and the immediate situation surrounding the verse.
3) If some verses seem to contradict one another, look more into the context. Perhaps the situations addressed are different.  Perhaps our behavior and attitude has to incorporate both extremes.
4) Use the early Christian writers as a resource. Greek was their language, and they discuss many verses from the bible. Sometimes their writings clarify confusing passages.  They were also much closer to the age of the apostles.
5) Compare your understanding of the verses with general Christian principles. Does your interpretation contradict principles such as humility, purity, loving enemies etc.?
6) If Old Testament verses seem confusing, consult the Greek version, the Septuagint. The apostles and Jesus used that version. The best version is the NETS translation of the Septuagint which can be read on line.  If you know NT Greek, the Septuagint can help clarify the meanings of words used just a few times in the NT.  However, there is no concordance of the NETS version yet.
7) Consult commentaries and other Christians, but always be careful not to be swayed by group pressure or the prestige of the commentator. Even the wisest men of God have made errors in interpreting scripture.

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