Archives for : how to understand the bible

A 2 minute summary of the entire Bible

Born into the Family

I was born March 17, 1971 in St. Louis, MO, into the Holland family, which belongs to the “American Family.” The American family dwells on the North American continent. The American family, to which I belong, is defined by its laws, preeminently the U. S. Constitution. A people. A land. A law.

In order for God to become flesh, He had to be born. Therefore, He needed a family – a people – a land and a law. The Old Testament is the story of God preparing for the coming of Jesus. God chose Abraham to be the “Father of his country” because Abraham, in the midst of unbelief and paganism, obeyed God (Genesis 22:16-18Genesis 22:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, 17 that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because thou hast obeyed my voice.

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God took Abraham’s descendants, the Hebrews, into slavery in Egypt. After 430 years, at Mount Sinai, God formed them into a people – the nation of Israel, a “holy nation” (Exodus 19:6Exodus 19:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

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). The people needed a law; God gave them the Law of Moses to define them as a people. They also needed a land. God had promised Abraham the land under his feet (Genesis 15:18-21Genesis 15:18-21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, 20 and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, 21 and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.

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). God fulfilled that promise under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 21:43-45Joshua 21:43-45
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

43 So Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 44 And Jehovah gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 There failed not aught of any good thing which Jehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

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Everything was ready in its broad outlines for the coming of Jesus. The plan was for Israel to receive the birth of the Messiah and then proclaim Him as the Savior of all mankind to the entire world. But Israel had a hard time staying monotheistic (believing in one God). That issue began at Mount Sinai with the golden calf (Exodus 32). God eventually sent them into 70 years of slavery in Babylon to cure them of polytheism. The rest of the Old Testament details how God pruned the Israelite nation until He had a “faithful remnant.”

That remnant was composed of such people as Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, Nathaniel and others. When the Messiah did come, born of the virgin Mary, the remnant accepted Him, obeyed His word and became members of His new nation – the church.

Read the Bible with its overall theme in mind: The salvation of man through Jesus Christ to the glory of God.

–Paul Holland

A people. A land. A law.

I was born March 17, 1971 in St. Louis, MO, into the Holland family, which belongs to the “American Family.” The American family dwells on the North American continent. The American family, to which I belong, is defined by its laws, preeminently the U. S. Constitution. A people. A land. A law.

In order for God to become flesh, He had to be born. Therefore, He needed a family – a people – a land and a law. The Old Testament is the story of God preparing for the coming of Jesus. God chose Abraham to be the “Father of his country” because Abraham, in the midst of unbelief and paganism, obeyed God (Genesis 22:16-18Genesis 22:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, 17 that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because thou hast obeyed my voice.

WP-Bible plugin
).

God took Abraham’s descendants, the Hebrews, into slavery in Egypt. After 430 years, at Mount Sinai, God formed them into a people – the nation of Israel, a “holy nation” (Exodus 19:6Exodus 19:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

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). The people needed a law; God gave them the Law of Moses to define them as a people. They also needed a land. God had promised Abraham the land under his feet (Genesis 15:18-21Genesis 15:18-21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, 20 and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, 21 and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.

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). God fulfilled that promise under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 21:43-45Joshua 21:43-45
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

43 So Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 44 And Jehovah gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 There failed not aught of any good thing which Jehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

WP-Bible plugin
).

Everything was ready in its broad outlines for the coming of Jesus. The plan was for Israel to receive the birth of the Messiah and then proclaim Him as the Savior of all mankind to the entire world. But Israel had a hard time staying monotheistic (believing in one God). That issue began at Mount Sinai with the golden calf (Exodus 32). God eventually sent them into 70 years of slavery in Babylon to cure them of polytheism. The rest of the Old Testament details how God pruned the Israelite nation until He had a “faithful remnant.”

That remnant was composed of such people as Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, Nathaniel and others. When the Messiah did come, born of the virgin Mary, the remnant accepted Him, obeyed His word and became members of His new nation – the church.

Read the Bible with its overall theme in mind: The salvation of man through Jesus Christ to the glory of God.

Learn more about the Bible with this FREE Bible study.

–Paul Holland

There are many guidelines we can use to become better Bible students.

The Bible is God’s inspired book (2 Timothy 3:16-172 Timothy 3:16-17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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From it, we find the path to heaven (Romans 10:17Romans 10:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

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Therefore, we should be eager to immerse ourselves in God’s Word.

How can we presume to follow and emulate a Savior that we know nothing about? Christians must develop the initiative and routine to read and study God’s Word on their own (John 14:15John 14:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

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We must be very careful when we study so we can learn the truth of the Gospel. We must be diligent to monitor the veracity of the teachings of men (Galatians 1:6-9Galatians 1:6-9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; 7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. 9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.

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; 1 Timothy 4:11 Timothy 4:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,

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We must never tamper with the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Jehovah your God which I command you. 32 What thing soever I command you, that shall ye observe to do: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

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; Proverbs 30:6Proverbs 30:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

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; Revelation 22:18Revelation 22:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:

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). In fact, we’re warned not to even think beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:61 Corinthians 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.

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There are many guidelines that we can use to become better Bible students.

First, God is always good. His “goodness endures continually” (Psalm 52:1Psalm 52:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. 52 1 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The lovingkindness of God endureth continually.

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, NKJV). He is eternal, all- powerful, all-knowing, awesome and incomparable (Jeremiah 32:17,27Jeremiah 32:17,27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 Ah Lord Jehovah! behold, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power and by thine outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for thee, 27 Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?

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; Psalm 66:3; 86:8Psalm 66:3; 86:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Say unto God, How terrible are thy works! Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. 8 There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord; Neither are there any works like unto thy works.

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; 1 John 3:201 John 3:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

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). If we see God as always being good, then we will not charge him and the Bible with error.

God and His Word deserve the utmost respect and reverence (1 Corinthians 4:61 Corinthians 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.

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Second, facts are not trivial. We must learn everything we can about the Bible. The number of books of the Bible, the divisions, the authors, the names of prophets, priests, apostles and cities are important as we build familiarity and comfort within the Biblical world.

Third, remember the covenants. The majority of false doctrines come from a failure to understand that we are under the new covenant and no longer under the Law of Moses (Hebrews 9:11-16Hebrews 9:11-16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12 nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it.

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). The student must rightly divide the Word if they will be pleasing to God (2 Timothy 2:152 Timothy 2:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.

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Fourth, slow down and notice the small words. We miss so much when we hurry. Scripture is laser focused on its redemptive story. Nothing is wasted. When we slow down, we notice a richness of detail that we would otherwise miss.

Spiritual light and darkness is a major theme in the writings of John (John 1:5; 8:12John 1:5; 8:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. 12 Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.

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; 1 John 1:51 John 1:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

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). When we slow down, we notice an overlooked gem in the hours leading up to Christ’s arrest.

In the upper room, Jesus tells the Apostles about his imminent death (John 13:1John 13:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 1 Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto his Father, having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

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). Jesus says that one of them would betray him, and he sends Judas out to make provisions (John 13:25-29John 13:25-29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 He leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus therefore answereth, He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him. So when he had dipped the sop, he taketh and giveth it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 And after the sop, then entered Satan into him. Jesus therefore saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy what things we have need of for the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

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John mentions Judas leaving and notes “it was night”

(John 13:30John 13:30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 He then having received the sop went out straightway: and it was night.

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). Judas was a part of a drama that began before time and was prophesied in Genesis 3:15Genesis 3:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

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. John’s theme carries through to the end.

God’s Word is filled with such overlooked examples if we will notice them.

Fifth, we must focus on the simple. Fleshly man craves the dark and exciting. Conspiracies capture our imaginations. When we approach God’s Word, we must be childlike and filled with wonder and trust (Matthew 18:3Matthew 18:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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God’s Word says what it says, and there aren’t any schemes or tricks. We develop spiritual eyes through the gospel transformation and we see as God wants us to see (Romans 12:1-2Romans 12:1-2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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Bible students need to restrain their imaginations and focus on the spiritual, not the fleshly (Romans 8:5-8Romans 8:5-8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: 7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

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Bible scholars are often atheists and every passage, author and book in the Bible is doubted and discredited.

We must be very careful with men and we must trust God above all (Titus 1:2Titus 1:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal;

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). God’s Word is a treasure if we will respect, revere and receive it with gladness.

Visit http://howtounderstandthebible.abiblecommentary.com/ for more helpful Bible study tips.

— by Richard Mansel

The Bible: Many stories, one book

IN HER BOOK Mystery on the Desert, Maria Reiche describes a series of strange lines made by the Nazca in the plains of Peru, some of them covering many square miles…

For years, people assumed these lines were the remnants of ancient irrigation ditches.  Then in 1939, Dr. Paul Kosok of Long Island University discovered their true meaning could only be seen from high in the air.  When viewed from an airplane, these seemingly random lines form enormous drawings of birds, insects, and animals.

Similarly, people often think of the Bible as a series of separate, unrelated stories.  When we view the Scriptures as a whole, however, we discover that they form one great story of redemption–from the first “In the Beginning” of Genesis to the final “Amen of Revelation.  Weaving through all the diverse strands of the Bible is a divine story line, the overarching story of how God has rescued, redeemed, and restored humanity, from the first nanosecond of creation through the final cry of victory at the end of time.  (Mike Macintosh)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.”  Ephesians 1:3-10Ephesians 1:3-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5 having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say,

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–Mike Benson