Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to read the Bible; part one

This is a study of how to read the King James Bible, also known as the Authorized Version, in order to help with understanding.

1. Law of First Mention – this much abused rule simply states that the way a word is first used in the Bible will be the way it’s used predominantly throughout. It does not mean that there are no exceptions. It just means that the first mention will be the most important mention the majority of times.

Example – The first time any form of love is used, as in “lovest”, will be in Genesis 22:2 and refers to a father loving his son whom he is called to sacrifice as a type of God the Father offering up God the Son for our sins.

2. Defining a word by context – Look at the verse itself and the surrounding verses to see the context. Just as location, location, and location are important in Real Estate so is context, context, context important in understanding the Bible. It has been said that a text without a context is a pretext. Beware of people who use verses out of context to make a point.

Example – The first time evil is used it is in contrast to good in Genesis 2:9 and in contextual verses. It is used again in Genesis 6:5 and linked to wickedness and to the genetic pollution caused by the cohabitation between supernatural beings and human women. Genesis 19:19 gives it a flavor of trouble and calamity that can befall a person as well. It is malicious in Genesis 37:20. It goes to Isaiah 45:7 as calamity and disaster for those who oppose God. It is malicious intent with violence in Matthew 5:39. It is trouble in Matthew 6:34. In context it is doing wrong in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 and verse 22. In 1 Timothy 6:10 it is associated with the consequences of greed and lusting for what you don’t have.

3. The use of AND. And can be used to unite like things for definition purposes;

Example – Cumbrance in Deuteronomy 1:12 is joined to burden and strife by “and”. The dictionary defines cumbrance as a burden, an obstacle, a hindrance, and trouble so cumbrance can be defined as a burden and a strife.

4. A colon can be used to give more definition to the clause preceding the colon.

Example – Proverbs 15:12; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

5. Words surrounding a word, when found in the verse in question or the verses in context can help define the word.

Example – Note the definition of “eschew” in 1 Peter 3:11 by looking at the words surrounding it and then what those same words surround in the previous verse 10.

6. Cross referencing verses – Sometimes a word can be defined by finding another verse in which it is used. This is a combination method with context. It can also mean a contrasting verse with a different word inserted in place of the word being defined

Example – See what “attain unto” means in Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 1:5. Now, what does it mean in Phillippians 3:11?

Example – Reading Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 how would you define the word “gospel”?

7. Parallel phrasing – Within the context of the same verse or nearby verses a word is defined by contrast with a parallel phrase in the same verse or context.

Example – What does create mean by virtue of parallel phrasing in Genesis 2:4?


1. Using the “Law of First Mention” and the use of the word “and” what is the definition of the word “judgment” going to be the majority of times throughout the Bible as per Genesis 18:19? Is that so? Look for any other uses of it.

2. Using the word “and” what is the difference between the word fear in Genesis 9:2 and Hebrews 12:28? Keeping that in mind why do you think Paul said what he did in 2 Timothy 1:7? What are Christians to dread based on 2 Timothy 1:7?

3. Using parallel phrasing within the same verse from where to where do breeches cover in Exodus 28:42? In modern parlance would you consider them underwear or trousers based on context?

4. Based on the context what is the difference between “salvation” in Exodus 14:13 and Ephesians 1:13?

5. If the house of God is the church in 1 Timothy 3:15 and the church is the people of God in 1 Corinthians 14:23 and the Christian’s body is the temple of God as per Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 then how does the word “house” compare in 1 Timothy 3:15 with the two distinct definitions of “house” in Genesis 7:1 and Genesis 28:17? What is the main difference between “house of God” in the Old Testament and “house of God” in the New, after Christ’s resurrection?

6. What does perfect mean in Matthew 5:48 in relation to 1 Corinthians 13:10, 2 Timothy 3:17, and 2 Chronicles 8:16? Does it imply sinless perfection as we understand it?

7. If you read 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and 2 Peter 1:6,7 would you define charity as help, goods, or money given to the poor or would you define it as brotherly love?

8. Search for exceptions to the above mentioned rules.

Next: Doctrine made simple.

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