"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
"Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30)
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
"And their word will eat as doth a canker..." (2 Timothy 2:17)
"... ALL nations deceived." (Revelations 18:23)
The above statements are from the Bible. They are a warning to all people that the majority of the religious world claiming to be "Christian" would depart from the Truth of God. We are cautioned also that we cannot leave our instruction concerning the will of God to a separate class called the "Clergy": ministers, priests and pastors. The only safe and scriptural course is for us to apply ourselves individually to the examination and study of God's Word, as the "noble" highly-commended believers at Berea examined the Scriptures to check Paul's words - "They searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
The Bible teaches that during these present times there is no distinction between a priestly class and the common people. That ended when the Law ended. The responsibility of searching the Scriptures rests with each individual. A humble, prayerful, consistent study of the Bible itself is the best - the only - way to arrive at a firm conviction of its truth. We grow closer to God and Christ by this exercise; realizing as we read that the natural mind of man, without this Divine direction, is lawless and unruly.
In studying the Bible, we should always seek the assistance of God in prayer. It is important that we understand that it is God Who gives us wisdom in these things and can open our minds to see the beauties of His Word, if we seek it humbly. We will realize that the final Purpose of all things is to fill the earth with the glory of God, and that we are the very highly privileged means He is using to accomplish that Purpose, if we work with Him, and submit completely to Him. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" (Psalms 127:11).
But Paul assures us that: "Our labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
When we study the Bible we should read it very carefully. We should try to keep minds centered on each word and phrase. We should try to understand the relation of one verse to another. We must want to know and obey the truth. Try to have a strong desire to investigate the Bible to become very familiar with its loving message of instruction to us concerning the Way of Life.
After we gain the Bible's knowledge will learn of a duty to spread the information far and wide to other people. Once we understand the glorious message God's Word conveys. We will see the knowledge talks a about eternal salvation and the blessing on all nations in the future Age. Once we learn those things We will not rest until we do God's work devoting our lives to advancing God's honor to everyone we meet.
To begin with, we must recognize and accept the Bible as the Divinely-inspired, infallible message of God to man. Believe "God IS, and is a Rewarder of all who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6)
Evidence shown in the Bible creates and strengthens. The Bible is the Word of God. Study of the Bible shows evidence of it's Truth and that it is from God. It will show you it's sureness in prophetic words. You will learn what God has done. You will gain confidence about what God has yet to accomplish in the earth. You will see the Bible is man's only means of salvation.
By our investigation of this matter with an open mind, we will learn that this book, the Bible, does not speak like other books, but speaks with absolute authority. It uses language such as: "Thus saith the Lord" and "It SHALL come to pass."
The Bible is a compilation of a number of books, written by many different men over a long period of time: approximately 1500 years. The times and circumstances of its being written - periods of prosperity, and captivity and servitude - combine, under God's guiding hand, to bring forth a united message from book to book: unfolding a consistent plan of salvation, and illustrating mankind's need of Divine mercy and salvation, unattainable by its own efforts.
The first five books (Genesis to Deuteronomy) were written by Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel. They are of first importance because they form the basis of all that follows. In them we learn of the creation of the earth, and of its populating by animals and mankind. We read about man's sad fall, and punishment. We read about God's loving provision for mankind's redemption. Then we learn of man's failure at the time of Noah. You will read of the beginning of the Jewish race. Starting with Abraham, and the appointing of the Jews as a "Peculiar People" for God's service and use.
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself above all the nations that are upon the earth" (Deuteronomy 14:2).
We find in these books of Moses the laws God gave Israel to regulate their national existence. They are laws which beautifully teach higher lessons of the coming of a Savior for all mankind. The laws make constantly clear the exceeding "sinfulness of sin" in the eyes of God. The modern world, in its assumed "wisdom" generally questions the writings of Moses. But we will learn that we cannot have Christ without Moses -
"If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16:31).
"Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he (Christ) expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).
"Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me (said Jesus), for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:46-47).
If Moses is not true, then Christ is not true. The writings of Moses and the words of Jesus Christ stand together or fall together.
The next 12 books (Joshua to Esther) show Israel's history for 1000 years. And they are much more than just history. They reveal God's attitude, His desires and principles of action in dealing with people and nations. We learn to love God and reverence Him for all He has done and is doing.
The book of Job illustrates the way God chastens and corrects His true sons and daughters; He does not forsake them, but will purify and refine them as gold.
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon are messages of Divinely-inspired wisdom, portraying acceptable conduct, character, and disposition.
The 17 prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakuk, Zepheniah, Haggai, Zecharaiah to Malachi), contain the Divine message for Israel nationally, being warnings of coming judgment because of disobedience to God; but also joyfully revealing a day when Israel and the world shall rejoice in universal blessings and peace. The fulfillment of the prophecies on Israel in their scattering throughout the earth assures us of the bright side of these same messages, which tell us the day is very near when Christ will return to bless all nations, in the earth.
Turning the pages to the New Testament, we find first the 4 Gospel records of the life of Christ (Matthew to John), revealing the manifestation of God in His Son, showing us a Way, or manner, of Life, to develop the Divine character:
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48).
The book of Acts illustrates the practical application of Jesus' command -
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).
We learn from this book what it really means to devote our lives in all that we do to serve God and His Truth - and not ourselves and our pleasures.
The 21 epistles (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philipians, Collosians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John to Jude) consists of letters to various ecclesias and individuals by the apostles of Jesus. They expound the basic truths of the Gospel, the Divine purpose with mankind; and they show us the way to a godly life. They instruct and direct us in daily activities and associations in relation to each other and to God.
The final book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, gives a panoramic view of nearly 2,000 years of world history, from the days of the Apostles to the establishing of God's Kingdom on the earth. It is shown in signs and symbols, whose meaning and application is learned from other parts of the Bible. Revelation is designed to instruct God's servants concerning world events, so they may discern the Signs of the Times.
The Bible is nothing less than a literary miracle! Although it is composed of 66 books, written over a period of many centuries, by different authors from kings to shepherds, it speaks one theme throughout, unfolding over the ages the eternal Purpose of God. Its very character and unity show it to be not possibly of human origin, and confirm the truth that -
"All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Many of the writers sealed their testimony for God with their blood being shed by their enemies. The only way to account for the Bible is to see - in its composition, and its preservation to our time through the centuries - a supreme guiding hand inspiring and controlling the statements of its authors, causing them to be in complete agreement in all their records. It is impossible to account for the Bible in any other way.
The Bible can be understood by the person who seeks God in humble faith without the need of theological or churchly training in colleges or seminaries. Such institutions only produce priests or ministers educated or trained to preach the particular doctrines of their sects; whose textbooks are the products of generations of traditions, rather than the Bible message.
We must not leave - we dare not leave - our understanding of Bible principles of salvation to such religious leaders. We must apply ourselves to its pages in prayerful, humble petition to God to open our understanding. Personal investigation in this manner will open our minds to the beauties of God's Word and Purpose.
Read the Bible daily and thoughtfully. Use the course of daily Bible readings suggested in the booklet, The Bible Companion. Stick to it faithfully, and you will read the Old Testament once each year, and the New Testament twice yearly. The Bible Companion plan can be found at download .
If there is a book containing the revealed will of God and the plan of eternal blessing for man, IT IS THE BIBLE. It has no rivals. If it does not reveal a Way of life, there is none.
The Bible makes all who sincerely study it better, happier, and wiser.