Desire To Do God's Will:
My friends, Truth will not be found by those who read the Bible, with no intention of followig its precepts. For a moment the precious seed reposes upon their hardened hearts only to be quickly shaken off. They may even erect a mental barrier against that which they do not wish to do. It is as difficult for such persons to see the Truth as it was for the prodigal son to see the blessings of his fathers' house.
Jesus said: "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether, it is of God, or whether I speak from myself" (John 7:17)
Without this willingness one is unprepared to receive an understanding of God's Word. He may be reading to gain an academic familiarity with its contents but fail to comprehend its true origin and prupose. Like those described by Paul, he is "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7).
There is today a wide-spread indifference about divine authority. Many feel that it is good to do what God has commanded but not essential. Others, like Balaam, are ready to do His Will as long as it pleases them. It matters not, they think, whether one does exactly what God appointed. They labor under the misconception that He will accept them while they do as they wish. Those who entertain such views can not possible understand the scriptures.
Have An Open Mind
An open mind is an honest heart (Luke 8:15) " One that is receptive to all the words of this Life" (Acts 5:20). This does not mean that one should be gullible or even credulous, but that he be willing to consider fairly that which is read. Like the noble Bereans he ought to receive, "The Word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures Daily, wheter these things were so". (Acts 17:11)
My friends, It is very difficult to be altogether unbiased in everything. This is expecially true in religious matters. Many approach the Bible with their minds made up. Their thinking is colored by the influence of parents, friends, religious teachers or some human creed book. As a result they often fail to see what is in a passage because it is contrary to what they have believed; or they read their opinion into a passage because it is contrary to what they have believed; or they read their opinion into a passage even though it is not there. Some have even read plain declarations and then replied, "Well it says it but I still dont believe it". Such closed-mindedness is prejudice and prejudice is sin. (Proverbs 18:13) And Sin separates us from God.
No Man would be so foolish as to asert that he knows everything, to include this writer. However; If one chooses to closes his mind to all that does not agree with what he has learned, then he will never know any more than what he knows, and the very thing that he refuses to learn maybe what he really needs.
The Jews of Jesus' day furnish a very vivid illustration of closed-minds. "And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, "which saith by hearing ye shall hear and shall in no wise understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: for this peoples heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand that their heart, and should turn again, and I should heal them" (Matt: 13:14ff) Cornelius and the eunuch, like the Bereans, had open minds. (Acts 10:33; 8:31)
Study For The Right Motive
Jesus accused certain Jews of seeking him "Not because ye saw signs, but because ye ate of the loaves, and were filled" (John 6:26). They followed from wrong motives and were unable to discern the true bread out of the heaven. For the smae reason many now fail to understand the scriptures which they read.
Skeptics search the Bible to find mistakes, and inconsistencies but rarely for "Truth". Invariably they find, to their own satisfaction, that for which they were looking. If they would study correctly it would become evident that the apparent contradictions were due to their own lack of perception.
Many read the Bible to prove what they already believe. Like the skeptic, they succeed by finding in nearly every word and sentence what appears to them to be that proof. We should recognize that the Bible is not a book of proofs for doctrines but is itself the doctrine of God, to Foolish Man. It should be studied to ascertain God's will for Man, Not to try to find our own views therein.
Others when questioned about a practice run to the Bible in an effort to justify it. They did not begin the practice because the Bible taught it, but began it, and then searched for a passage that could be construed as approval. This attitude has blinded so many to the Truth.
Some read the Bible to find that which is quaint or novel. They delight in quoting scripture and reciting genealogies. Such persons wish to be known as of of the great learning. This thirst for distinction and exaltation will hinder one from seeing the plain simple gospel message.
For they will even be foolish enough to refer to themselves as a "Prophet"! Jesus warned against such types. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A Good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord", shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord< have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name"? And then I will declare to them, "I NEVER knew you, DEPART from Me, you who practice lawlessness!". (Matt 7:15-23)
If one's motive in Bible study is to know God's Will that he may do all things commanded then it becomes easier to understand.
In Part III Of How To Study The Bible:
I Will Be Talking About:
Regards The Divisions Of The Bible
Consider The Context.
Stay Tuned My Friends