FoF Lesson 2

How To Know The Bible

Audio message for Lesson 2: How to Study Scripture
Listen | Read | Download High | Download Low

[Lesson 2: Session 4]

[Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]

Notes on Session 4, Sunday, October 11th:


  1. Session on Lesson 2
  2. Welcome to new members of the class
  3. Personal highlights from MacArthur’s message?
  4. Challenges in filling in Answers in Lesson 2? [Answers]
  5. Questions to be addressed?

Common Questions for Lesson 2

  • How do I study my Bible instead of just simply reading it?
  • Why is the Bible sometimes hard to understand, even for Christians?
  • What about alleged errors/contradictions in the Bible?
  • What are some of the roadblocks to coming to Faith?
  • What are some good Bible Study Tools?
  • Do you have another question or issue to discuss?

Class Plan for Lesson 2:

  1. Why to Know the Bible
  2. How to Know the Bible
  3. Principles of Bible Study
  4. Bible Study Tools
  5. How to Study the Bible
  6. Meditation
  7. Applying What I have Learned

Why to Know the Bible

  • Reasons found on second page of Lesson:
    • To be approved by God, 2 Tim. 2:15
    • To grow in salvation, 1 Pet. 2:2
    • To not sin against God, Ps. 119:11, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
    • Produces reverence for God, Ps. 119:38
    • A light to my path, guidance, Ps. 119:105
  • More reasons to know the Bible:
    • Prepare oneself for service,
      • 1 Pet. 3:15, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
      • 1 Tim. 4:6, If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
    • Sanctify our lives,
      • John 17:17, Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
      • 1 Pet. 1:14-19, As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, …
    • God’s will that we dwell on the Word and obey it,
      • Josh. 1:8, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
      • Col. 3:16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
    • Understanding the Scriptures helps us to know God more deeply:
      • John 5:39, You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
      • Prov. 2:1,5, My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, … then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
    • To learn direction in life:
      • Ps. 119:10, With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
    • To find comfort and hope:
      • Rom. 15:4, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
    • To let God expose our innermost thoughts and desires:
      • Heb. 4:12-16, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    • To obey the Great Commandment, love God with all of our being and our neighbor as ourselves:
      • Mark 12:29-31, Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

How To Know The Bible

  • Five way to know the Bible – See chart on first page of this Lesson: Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, Meditation.
  • Hear It – Rom. 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
  • Read It – Rev. 1:3, Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
  • Study It – Acts 17:11, Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
  • Memorize It – Ps. 119:9-11, How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
  • Meditate on It – Ps. 1:2-3, but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
  • Teach It – 2 Tim. 2:2, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Principles of Bible Study

  • Look for God’s Overall Plan
    • OT reveals God’s plan of salvation
    • NT reveals God’s salvation of sinful man and God’s eternal Kingdom
  • Find the Background of the Book
    • Who, what, where, when, why, how?
  • Read verses in context
    • Read surrounding verses and chapters
    • Look at outline of book
    • Use exegesis method
  • Consider whole message of God’s Word
    • The whole Bible is God’s Word
    • Look for explanations in other parts of the Bible
    • Look at cross references and surrounding verses
  • Discover the intended meaning
    • Author’s intended meaning
    • What did in mean in that culture
    • Inductive study: specific examples -> general conclusions
    • Deductive study: general examples -> specific conclusions
  • Learn the history and geography
    • A time line can teach the history
    • A map can show the geography of events
  • Figurative language
    • Figures of speech may help us understand, e.g. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”
  • Forms of literature
    • History,  poetry, wisdom, prophecy, parables, letters, epistles
    • Name one of each

Bible Study Tools

  • Study Bibles – explanations, introductions, outlines, cross-references, study notes, concordance, maps, topical index, e.g.
    • MacArthur, Wiersbe, Morris
  • Concordances – helps you look up any word in the Bible, alphabetical listing of key words, names and topics, list of verses that contain that word, e.g.
    • Strong’s Exhaustive, NAS Exhaustive
  • Bible Software – concordances and other references available online or as smart phone Apps, e.g.
    • Blue Letter Bible ( – verses in various translations (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, etc.)
    • BibleWorks
    • Quickverse
    • What is your favorite App?
  • Bible dictionaries
    • Look up words for better understanding
    • Expository dictionaries
    • e.g. Holman Bible, New Unger’s
  • Bible atlases, maps, time lines
    • Answers questions of where, when
    • Compare with today’s maps
    • e.g. Atlas of Bible Lands, Moody Bible Atlas
  • Bible commentaries and handbooks
    • Study what it means and how it applies to you
    • Read commentaries for comparison
    • e.g. Wycliffe, MacArthur commentaries
    • e.g. Halley, Holman Bible Handbooks
  • What have you found to be most useful?

How To Study The Bible

  • Preparation
    • Ps. 119:18, Open my eyes, that I may behold
      wondrous things out of your law.
    • Become familiar with the Bible
    • What type of book is it? law, prophecy, history, poetry
    • Which translation to use? KJV, NKJV, NAS, ESV
    • Avoid the following:
      • Don’t take verses out of context
      • Do not read your own ideas into Scripture
  • Observation
    • Make use of Bible tools
    • Study words and expressions
    • Notice synonyms (similar meanings)
    • Who are the people?
    • Important ideas in the passage?
    • Where are the places?
    • When did the events occur?
    • What is the historical setting?
    • Literary form? History, law, poetry, prophecy, gospel, epistle
    • What is the context?
  • Interpretation
    • What is the meaning in the original language?
    • How does the genre affect the text?
    • How does the historical situation affect this text?
    • What truths are taught about the nature of God?
    • Truths about human nature? Sin? Redemption? Salvation? The church? Christian life?
  • Application, understanding, seeing:
    • Contemporary question concerning today’s issues?
    • How does this relate to me? Family? Friends?
      • A command to obey
      • An example to follow
      • A lesson to learn
      • A sin to confess
      • Listen and respond to God
    • What am I going to do about what I learned?


  • What does it mean to meditate on Scripture?
  • Josh 1:8, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
  • Ps. 1:2, but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
  • Meditation for its own sake can be useless or harmful.
  • Beware of Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (TM, etc.). Leads their devotees into pantheism and occultism.
  • Is. 8:19, And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
  • Ps. 2:1, Why do the nations rage [imagine/meditate] and the peoples plot in vain?
  • Greek word for meditate used twice in the NT,
    • Acts 4:25, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
      “‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
      and the peoples plot in vain?”
    • Quotation of Ps. 2:1
    • 1 Tim. 4:13,15, Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. … Practice [meditate on] these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
  • The goal of modern meditation is to clear our minds of “things.”
  • Why Christians should not practice Yoga:




Applying What We’ve Learned

  • Where to start?
  • Setting goals
  • Bible study tools to apply
  • Identify and acquire Bible commentaries
  • Read good books about the Bible
  • Read biographies of examples (Elijah, David, etc.)
  • Join a Bible Study

Comments are closed.