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How to Study the Bible Effectively Part I


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The first in a three-part seminar on how to study the Bible effectively. Deep, effective Bible study is not only for trained theologians.

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How to Study the Bible Effectively Part I

  1. 1. Part I The real and pressing need for Bible Study Background & Definitions – Understanding what the Bible is – The meaning of inspiration – The meaning of revelation – Bible versions: translation philosophies – Testing the versions – Choosing the right version for you The Holy Spirit – The Role of illumination – Two methods of interpretation – Method 1: Allegory
  2. 2. Part II  Bible Study Proper – Method 2: Exegesis – finding the meaning (with practical examples) – Interpreting the different genres of Scripture • Poetry • Commands • Parables • Epistles • Prophecy • Eschatology – Content and context – Bible Typology – Common pitfalls: Eisegesis, blind application, prooftexting – Guidelines for effective study
  3. 3. Part III Interpreting the different genres of Scripture (poetry, commands, narratives, epistles, prophecy, eschatology) Interpreting The Spirit of Prophecy SDA Methods of Bible Study Recap How to use Bible study tools (lexicons, concordance, commentaries, software) How to effectively share Bible truth
  4. 4. What is the Bible? Hebrew Scriptures Septuagint (LXX) Jerome’s Vulgate Atthanasius’ Canon Roman Catholic Bible Luther’s Bible Protestant Bible
  5. 5. Canon (Greek kanon, “reed,” used as an instrument of measurement). A measure or rule that offers a standard. In the context of the biblical writings it refers to those writings that serve as a standard or measure against which the faith, morality, and way of life of the community (Hebrew or Christian) can be measured. Any books that are excluded from the canon are referred to as extra-canonical books. For more see Kwabena Donkor
  6. 6. Features of the Bible Ancient Written in ancient languages Inspired God’s revelation Timeless Universal
  7. 7. An Ancient Book The Bible addresses ancient culture The Bible addresses ancient issues The Bible speaks to ancient peoples The Bible is written in ancient languages
  8. 8. The Bible is God’s Self- Revelation The Bible reveals knowledge about God This knowledge is given by God Himself The Bible is God speaking to me It is highly personal The Bible is God’s manual for the Church It is highly corporate
  9. 9. The Bible is Inspired The Bible is inspired (2 Tim 3:16) Inspired means God-breathed – Θεόπνευστος (theoneustos). Adj. Inspired means the writers were moved, motivated, instructed (2 Peter 1:21) Inspired means it is spiritual (Romans 7:14; 1 Cor 2:14)
  10. 10. The process by which the revelation of God is transformed into objective language whether spoken or written, under the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit, is known as inspiration. - Millard J Erickson
  11. 11. A Timeless Book Timeless: “Not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion” – Oxford Dictionary Contains examples for us (1 Corinthians 10:6) The Gospel is for all of history (Matthew 28:19, 20)
  12. 12. A Universal Book Applies across: – Culture & Language – Race – Location – Religion The Bible is for EVERYONE
  13. 13. What is Bible Study? Bible study is a set of activities aimed at understanding what the Bible says and how to apply and teach it. Useful images on Bible study – Growing in knowledge (2 Peter 1:5, Luke 2:47) – Dividing the meat/bread (1 Tim 2:5) – Personal reflection (Psalm 1:2, 63:6, 119:23) – Defending the faith (Mark 13:9)
  14. 14. A History of Versions Targums (Aramaic versions of the OT) Septuagint/LXX (Greek version of the Pentateuch) Latin Vulgate Luther’s Bible Tyndale’s New Testament Wycliffe’s Bible (based on Vulgate) Erasmus’ Greek Bible (Textus Receptus) Bishop’s Bible King James’ Bible (based on Erasmus) Modern English versions
  15. 15. A Bible version is a specific translation of the Bible text. As of October 2016 the full Bible has been translated into 636 languages, and 3,223 languages have at least some portion of the Bible. -
  16. 16. Testing the Versions Bring out your: – King James Version – New International Version – New King James Version – Revised Standard Version – English Standard Version
  17. 17. Matthew 17:21 Matthew 18:11 Matthew 23:14 Mark 7:16 Mark 9:44 Mark 9:46 Luke 17:36 Luke 23:17 • John 5:4 • Acts 8:37 • Revelation 1:11
  18. 18. So Why the Omissions? – 1st Century – Originals – 2nd Century – Copies in Alexandria, Rome [Alexandrian & Western text] – 4th Century – Persecution in the West. Copies in the East. Constantinople and Antioch (modern Turkey) [Byzantine text] – 16th – 17th century introduced to the West by Byzantine scholars escaping the Turks – Erasmus had access to at most 8 Byzantine manuscripts – Today we have over 400, 000 manuscripts  A History of Manuscripts
  19. 19. So Why the Omissions? Each translation chooses its preferred manuscripts Modern versions rely on a wider variety of manuscripts Modern versions often explain their translation decisions in footnotes
  20. 20. Two Philosophies of Translation Formal Equivalence Dynamic Equivalence Word for word Free expression The most literal reading The most understandable reading Leaves student to figure out meaning Clarifies meaning for modern reader Preserves original structure Does not always preserve original structure Preserves original style Form supersedes content Content supersedes form
  21. 21. Examples 1 Thessalonians 4:4 KJV: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour NIV: That each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable
  22. 22. Examples John 3:8 KJV: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. NIV: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where tit comes form or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
  23. 23. Examples 2 Peter 3:11 KJV: Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness NIV: Sine everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives
  24. 24. Examples Luke 15:32 NASB: This brother of yours was dead and has begun to live. NIV: This brother of yours was dead and is alive again.” NASB and ASV focus on correct tenses
  25. 25. Paraphrases Free translation Often by Single individual Reflect subjective views of translator Not very trustworthy –Good News Bible –JB Phillips New Testament –The Living Bible
  26. 26. Predominant use of formal equivalence • King James Version (1611) • Young's Literal Translation (1862) • Lexham English Bible (2011, 2012) • Revised Version (1885) • American Standard Version (1901) • Revised Standard Version (1952) • New American Standard Bible (1995) • New King James Version (1982) • New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013) • English Standard Version (2001) • New Revised Standard Version (1989) • Douay-Rheims (1610) • Green's Literal Translation (1985) Moderate use of dynamic equivalence • New International Version • Today's New International Version[6] • Holman Christian Standard Bible called "optimal equivalence" • New American Bible • New English Translation • Modern Language Bible Extensive use of dynamic equivalence or paraphrase or both • New Jerusalem Bible • New English Bible • Revised English Bible • Good News Bible (formerly "Today's English Version") • Complete Jewish Bible • New Living Translation • God's Word Translation • Contemporary English Version Extensive use of paraphrase • The Message (2002) • The Living Bible (1971)
  27. 27. “No biblical doctrine would go unsupported if a favorite reading was abandoned in favor of a more valid variant…a doctrine that is affected by textual variation will always be adequately supported by other passages.” - David Alan Black
  28. 28. Choosing the Right Version Don’t stick to only one version Decide you objectives – Bible study KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV – Devotion NIV – Teaching & audience NKJV – Adult/Child? NIV
  29. 29. End of Part I