How to Better Understand God's Word

Theo1689

Well-known member
This forum has been very eye-opening to me. Years ago, I was naïve enough to think that there was a consensus on what constituted good Bible study techniques. But now it seems that this is anything but the truth.

I would like to share what I believe are beneficial study techniques, and how others apparently disagree. And to keep this on-topic, I find it that non-Calvinists (or even anti-Calvinists) differ in these techniques with Calvinists.

First of all, I would point out that prayer and regular Scripture study stand first and foremost, but I am referring to other techniques of which we seem to sometimes disagree.

1) Prayer

2) Regular Bible study

3) Reading in context - From an early age of my walk with Christ, I learned of the importance of reading Scripture in context. I got into apologetics very early on in my Christian walk, when I was still very ignorant of much of the Bible. So when someone posted a "proof-text", I wouldn't sufficiently understand it, and so I would need to read the entire chapter which contains the verse, and sometimes read even more on one end or the other. This greatly increased my understanding of the text, and I frequently noticed that the context was contrary to the use the other person was trying to use the verse.

But some posters here, namely anti-Calvinists, reject contextual understanding. They claim John 1:13 is irrelevant to John 1:12, that Heb. 2:10 is irrelevant to Heb. 2:9, and that 2 Pet. 3:8 is irrelevant to 2 Pet. 3:9, to name just three examples. Yet when it is convenient, they willi contradict themselves, and try to use John 6:45 to contradict the meaning of John 6:44.

4) Exegesis - If you've read any good commentaries, especially those based on the original languages, you should find that each one verse (or sentence) of Scripture ends up having a paragraph or two of commentary or exegesis. That's because languages are nuanced, and there is more information and understanding in a verse than one can fully represent in a one-sentence translation into another language. Even to study one verse in English, can require much explanation to point out the relationships between the words.

But there are posters here who simply ignore any exegesis when it's given, and when they argue they simply post a verse, as if to say, "I posted a verse. Now you have to agree with me!" And if you disagree with their argument that they didn't present in the first place, you're falsely accused of "running away" or "rejecting Scripture".

5) Learning the original languages - Any good seminary a student may go to is going to provide courses in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Greek. 150 years ago, a student NEEDED to understand the Biblical languages in order to graduate, and they needed to quote significant sections of the Bible in Greek in order to be qualified as an elder. As I mentioned about, there are nuances in the languages that cannot be translated in a "sentence-for-sentence" translation, so being able to read the original languages is very beneficial. I know from first experience that it gives you better understanding of Scripture.

Nowadays, the languages are deemed not as important, they are optional courses, and they are being replaced by language "helps" such as lexicons and parsing programs and apps. And as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and people not knowledgeable in the languages tend to misuse the language resources. And we have an anti-Calvinist poster who seems to believe the English words are more meaningful than the Greek words.

6) consulting commentaries and theologians - As has often been said, we stand on the shoulders of giants. We have 2000 years of Biblical scholarship available to us, some of it good, some of it not so good. And this is scholarship which has been done by people who not only frequently knew the Biblical languages, but they dedicated their lives to studying Scripture, having studied it FAR more than most Christians do today. We shouldn't have to re-invent the wheel. The saying goes, those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

But we have an anti-Calvinist poster here who thinks it's bad to consult other Christians' works. He is afraid of being exposed to the "biases and errors" of these learned men, as if he doesn't have biases and errors himself. Further, people should have sufficient critical thinking skills in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes. I wonder if this poster even goes to church, and if so, why, since his pastor must have similar "biases and errors" as those he thinks everyone else has. Except for himself, apparently.

7) Scripture interprets Scripture - Throughout my Christian life, I was taught that "Scripture interprets Scripture". So if you want to study a topic, such as atonement, or sinfulness, or justification, you not only need to collect what the ENTIRETY of Scripture teaches on a subject, but you have to allow the clearer Scriptures to interpret the less clear or more ambiguous Scriptures.

But there are anti-Calvinists here who like to post only one proof-text, and if you quote other passages which speak to same topic, to get a fuller picture, they don't like that, and they accuse you of "running away from Scripture", or "rejecting" the Scripture they posted.

8) Sentence Diagramming - Leatherneck recently made a comment about sentence diagramming, although he never made a tangible point concerning it. Diagramming is something I've been interested in for many years, and is something that was regularly taught in English classes until around the 1950's or so. It is a way of relating all the words of a sentence to each other. I'm not sure whether this is similar to the "arcing" that John Piper does, but I suspect that the philosophy is similar. It forces someone to concentrate on each word, and which words or phrases modify others. And there is no "one" way to diagram a sentence (because of ambiguities), but it does force the person to think about which interpretation is more likely. Just earlier today I spent some time diagramming the Greek verse John 19:34, and was very proud of myself about my accomplishment. I only had one phrase that I couldn't decide where it fit in the diagram, so I had to think about the relationships. As it turns out, my decision for that phrase was different from the person who created the diagrams available on Accordance. I'm going to have to purchase Randy Leedy's diagrams and see if he diagrammed it differently. And I'll undoubtedly revisit the verse as I gain a better understanding of things.

9) Cultural Context and Audience - The Scriptures, while in one sense being timeless, are in a very real sense dated and anchored in history. Our culture is vastly different than there's was, and the audience was different as well. But many people read Scripture as if it were written by some contemporaneous "buddy" from across town. A significant understanding of the culture, the different groups, the different cults around at the time, etc. etc. are very helpful for a better understanding of Scripture. As an example, reading some of the ECF's, and one anti-Gnostic writing in particular, really emphasized to me how anti-gnostic John was in his gospel and his epistles. Over and over again he was emphasizing that Jesus REALLY came in the flesh, and anyone who denies that Jesus came IN THE FLESH is accursed.


I don't beileve all of the anti-Calvinists are in agreement about all of these techniques, but those who agree with the techniques (even if not the conclusions), I think it's sad that they don't stand up to others on their side of the aisle, as they seem to project that being part of the "bro's club' is more important than truth and rebuking your brother in error.

And that's all I've got to say about that.
 
...
This forum has been very eye-opening to me. Years ago, I was naïve enough to think that there was a consensus on what constituted good Bible study techniques. But now it seems that this is anything but the truth.
...
According to your theology, has that not all been decreed/ordained, all to the Glory of God?
 
.

But some posters here, namely anti-Calvinists, reject contextual understanding. They claim John 1:13 is irrelevant to John 1:12, that Heb. 2:10 is irrelevant to Heb. 2:9, and that 2 Pet. 3:8 is irrelevant to 2 Pet. 3:9, to name just three examples. Yet when it is convenient, they willi contradict themselves, and try to use John 6:45 to contradict the meaning of John 6:44.
False claim

You conflate the act of receiving Christ with the act of regeneration at john 1:10

Heb 2:10 does not establish the context of verses Heb 2:6-9

The beloved of 2pe 3:8 in their saved condition are not in need of repentance or in danger of perishing

finally it is not just john 6:45 you need to ignore but a whole host of verses which show scripture, preaching and testimony are sufficient means to bring about faith in Christ

John 1:6–7 (KJV 1900) — 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John 5:45–47 (KJV 1900) — 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

John 4:39 (KJV 1900) — 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 17:20 (KJV 1900) — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 20:31 (KJV 1900) — 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Romans 10:10–17 (KJV 1900) — 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

PS the following is a major failing on your part and Calvinism in general

7) Scripture interprets Scripture - Throughout my Christian life, I was taught that "Scripture interprets Scripture". So if you want to study a topic, such as atonement, or sinfulness, or justification, you not only need to collect what the ENTIRETY of Scripture teaches on a subject, but you have to allow the clearer Scriptures to interpret the less clear or more ambiguous Scriptures.
 
False claim

You conflate the act of receiving Christ with the act of regeneration at john 1:10

Heb 2:10 does not establish the context of verses Heb 2:6-9

The beloved of 2pe 3:8 in their saved condition are not in need of repentance or in danger of perishing

finally it is not just john 6:45 you need to ignore but a whole host of verses which show scripture, preaching and testimony are sufficient means to bring about faith in Christ

John 1:6–7 (KJV 1900) — 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John 5:45–47 (KJV 1900) — 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

John 4:39 (KJV 1900) — 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 17:20 (KJV 1900) — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 20:31 (KJV 1900) — 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Romans 10:10–17 (KJV 1900) — 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

PS the following is a major failing on your part and Calvinism in general

7) Scripture interprets Scripture - Throughout my Christian life, I was taught that "Scripture interprets Scripture". So if you want to study a topic, such as atonement, or sinfulness, or justification, you not only need to collect what the ENTIRETY of Scripture teaches on a subject, but you have to allow the clearer Scriptures to interpret the less clear or more ambiguous Scriptures.
Here comes the cut and paste champ.
 
Are you claiming you dealt with the OP? ?
I am claiming you do not address rebuttal posted

 
I am claiming you do not address rebuttal posted

When you offer one, proof texting is not a rebuttal, we will address it.
 
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