Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
The Christian Bible is a collection of 66 books.39 books comprise the Old Testament. while 27 books comprise the New Testament. The Bible was written over a 1600 year period from 1500 BC to approximately 100 AD. Over 40 different men were used by the Lord to record His revelation.
Other worldly religions, such as Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist or Mohammedan have their own collections of sacred writings sometimes referred to as Bibles. This works are man’s reasonings about God, while the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind.
The Canon of the Bible
The Canon of the Bible. The word canon means a "rod"-- specifically, a rod with graduated marks used for measuring length. This word refers to the list of individual books that were eventually judged as authoritative and included as a part of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The early formation of the canon of the Old Testament is not easy to trace. Its threefold division in its early history-- the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings- may reflect the three stages of its formation.
The First Division - The Law
From the beginning, the Law was accepted, even if it was not always obeyed. Evidence of its acceptance would include Moses' reading of "the Book of the Covenant" to the people at Mount Sinai and the people's response, "All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient" (Ex. 24:7).
History indicates that the Jewish nation did not treat their sacred writings with national respect. The nation was centered in SACRIFICE not SCRIPTURE.
Further evidence of acceptance of the Law includes the discovery of the "Book of the Law," probably the Book of Deuteronomy, in the Temple of Jerusalem during King Josiah's reign and the religious reform which followed (2 Kin. 22:8--23:25). Also, following the return of the Jewish people from the Babylonian Captivity, "the Book of the Law of Moses" was read to the people of Jerusalem under Ezra's direction. This book became the constitution of their new nation (Neh. 8:1-18).
After the captivity of Israel by Assyria and Babylon, Ezra lead the first Jewish captives back from captivity to rebuild the destroyed temple (c. 538 BC). At this point in Jewish history, the nation became SCRIPTURE; They allowed their sacrifice to be a fulfillment of their scripture. The long captivity of Babylon caused the common Jewish populace to loose their national language of Hebrew to the common dialect of Aramaic. From this point Hebrew became the religious language, while Aramaic became the language of the common man.
Ezra could not communicate the sacred writings to the returned captives because of their inherited language barrier. Ezra was forced to translate the Hebrew manuscripts into Aramaic for the common people. These translations were called the TARGUMS. These Targums became the root of the official Hebrew Bible. The only books that were assembled into official form to use in public worship was the Pentateuch (5 books of Moses) (c. 525 BC)
Second Division - The Prophets
The second division of the Old Testament accepted by the Jewish people was the Prophets. The prophets' words were preserved from the beginning by their disciples, or by others who recognized the prophets as messengers of God. In general, their words were probably written shortly after they were spoken, for their authority as God's messengers came before their widespread acceptance by the Jewish people. The words of the prophets were not regarded as authoritative because they were included in the Old Testament; they were included because they were considered to be authoritative.
The Prophets were not added to the Hebrew Cannon until between BC 300 and BC 200.
Third Division - The Writings
The third division of the Hebrew Old Testament, the Writings, may have remained "open" longer than the first two. Scholars know less about the formation of this division than the first two.
The writings were not canonized until after the Prophets BC — 160 to 105.
Quite early in its history, the church felt a need for a written account of the teachings of Jesus. His teachings did provide the basis for the new Christian way of life. But the church grew so large that many converts were unable to rely on the instructions of those who had heard and memorized the teachings of Jesus. From about A. D. 50 onward, probably more than one written collection of sayings of Jesus circulated in the churches. The earliest written gospel appears to have been the Gospel of Mark, written about A. D. 64.
The Apostles — The Claim of Public Use
An individual gospel, a letter from an apostle, or even several works circulating independently, would not amount to a canon, or an authoritative list of books. A canon implies a collection of writings. There is evidence that two collections of Christian writings circulated among the churches at the beginning of the second century. One of these was the gospel collection-- the four writings which are commonly called the four gospels. The other collection was the Pauline collection, or the letters of the apostle Paul. The anonymous letter to the Hebrews was added to this second collection at an early date.
Toward the middle of the 2nd century AD the FOUR GOSPELS were universally accepted by the Eastern and Western churches. (c. 110 to 140 AD)
Apostolic Fathers (Major Epistles) — AD 170 to 190
The testimonies of Iranaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian extended authoritative status to the 11 epistles of Paul, 1st John, 1st Peter, and the book of Acts as authoritative, with the noted exceptions of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Titus, and Philemon.
Church Fathers (Minor Epistles) — AD 270 to 290
For nearly one hundred years no new books were added to the cannon of the New Testament. Near the end of the 3rd century the Minor Epistles of 2nd and 3rd John, 2nd Peter, Jude and James were finally accepted by the Eastern and Western Churches. The earlier testimonies of Iranaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian extended authoritative status to the Apocalypse, but Apocalypse would be questioned by the Eastern church. The books of Revelation and Hebrews encountered considerable resistance (Apostolic authorship) until near the end of the fourth century. The books of Revelation and Hebrews were accepted by the Western Church of Rome, but the Eastern Church of Constantinople disputed the authorship and apostleship of both these books.
Persecutions — AD 303 - 397
In 303 AD, Emperor Diocletian instituted an empire wide persecution designed to destroy all the Christians manuscripts. Church history clearly records the fact that the Donatists church of North Africa went into extinction, because they refused to surrender the holy manuscripts. In 397 AD at the third Council of Carthage the New Testament of 27 books was formally canonized and accepted as authoritative in the universal Christian church.
History indicates that Emperor Constantine used his influence to have the books of Revelation and Hebrews canonized by the Council of Carthage.
So often when we think of the Bible and the people associated with it, we only think of the authors. For us to have the Bible today in the English language demanded a considerable price in blood. The authors that penned the Old and New Testaments were used by God to record His revelation. These men were the mighty scribes of God, but their not the only people who deserve recognition for their part in the preservation of the Holy Manuscripts. Church history is filled with heroic acts of death and torture performed by countless thousands who chose to die in order to preserve the sacred texts. Consider for a moment the self sacrifice of John Wyclif and William Tyndale who were visionaries of the Holy Scriptures being translated into the English language. The followers of John Wyclif call the Lollards continued his work of English translation, by they were severally persecuted and burned at the stake by the decadent Roman Catholic Church.
The True Agnostic
Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (KJV)
(Amplified Bible) In many separate revelations - each of which set forth a portion of the Truth - and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets. (2) [But] in the last days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time - [that is] He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order.
God has granted to us a powerful revelation in the Bible, but He did not bestow the entire revelation to only one person. He gave His revelation to over forty different authors, and each one only had a portion of the total revelation. God will never give His entire revelation to any one person, but He shares His revelation with multitudes.
2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (KJV)
(Amplified Bible) Every scripture is God-breathed - given by His inspiration - and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness [that is, in hold living, in conformity to God’s will in though, purpose and action], (17) So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well-fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All scripture is given by God to us to be used for our reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness. God’s desire is to have the man or woman of God complete, proficient, well-fitted, and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
agnoia (ag'-noy-ah/52); from 50; ignorance (properly, the quality): KJV-- ignorance.
agnosia (ag-no-see'-ah/56); from 1 (as negative particle) and 1108; ignorance (properly, the state): KJV-- ignorance, not the knowledge.
idiotes (id-ee-o'-tace/2399); from 2398; a private person, i.e. (by implication) an ignoramus (compare "idiot"): KJV-- ignorant, rude, unlearned.
agnoeo (ag-no-eh'-o/50); from 1 (as a negative particle) and 3539; not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication, to ignore (through disinclination): KJV-- (be) ignorant (-ly), not know, not understand, unknown.
On 16 occasions in the New Testament we are admonished not to be ignorant. The warnings of the New Testament authors must be heeded; failure to do so will result in a defeated spiritual condition. What type of ignorance are these men of God warning us about?
Three of the four Greek words come from the root word of Gnosis (1108) which is translated "knowledge or science". By putting the letter "A" as a prefix to this word, we now have the application of a person who doesn’t have the necessary knowledge.
We all are familiar with the Greek word "Agnostic" which has come to represent the man or woman who has no knowledge of the existence of God. The purest application of this Greek word is associated with the Bible. The true Agnostic is the average Christian who believes in the existence of God, but who is ignorant of the holy ways and will of God recorded in the Bible.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children (KJV)
Hosea, the Prophet summed this whole debate. God’s people are destroyed by their lack of knowledge. Because of our ignorance, God will reject our priesthood. Since we have forgotten His word our priesthood, and the spiritual welfare of our children. This is a serious problem, we must take seriously the knowledge of God.
We think that the destruction referred to in this verse is the eternal judgment of God, but the Hebrew word used in this verse for "destroyed" does not have this application.
damah (daw-mam'/1820); a primitive root; to be dumb or silent; hence, to fail or perish; trans. to destroy: KJV-- cease, be cut down (off), destroy, be brought to silence, be undone, X utterly.
The people of God are made DUMB and SILENT, unable to speak for God because of their ignorance.
The Student of the Word
The Bible has much to say concerning the value of meditating the Holy Scriptures. Lets examine two references to gain understanding of this principle.
Josh 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (KJV)
According to this verse our physical and spiritual prosperity is directly connected to our meditation of God’s word on a daily basis.
Ps 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (KJV)
King David also understood this principle. He realized that the Godly man or woman who loves and delights in the word of God will flourish like a tree planted by a river. He also understood that these men and women will not seek acceptance and world conformity. They will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor will they admire the lifestyles of sinners, nor will they seek peer-pressure acceptance from scornful men or women.
In the Old Testament there are seven different Hebrew words used to translate the English word "mediate/meditation," but there is only two basic root words and they are HAGAH and siyach.
hagah (daw-gaw'/1897); a primitive root [compare 1901]; to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder: KJV-- imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, X sore, speak, study, talk, utter.
haguwth (haw-gooth'/1900); from 1897; musing: KJV-- meditation.
hagiyg (haw-gheeg'/1901); from an unused root akin to 1897; properly, a murmur, i.e. complaint: KJV-- meditation, musing.
higgayown (hig-gaw-yone'/1902); intensive from 1897; a murmuring sound, i.e. a musical notation (probably similar to the modern affettuoso to indicate solemnity of movement); by implication, a machination: KJV-- device, Higgaion, meditation, solemn sound.
siyach (see'-akh/7878); a primitive root; to ponder, i.e. (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence, aloud) or (transitively) utter: KJV-- commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with).
siyach (see'-akh/7879); from 7878; a contemplation; by implication, an utterance: KJV-- babbling, communication, complaint, meditation, prayer, talk.
siychah (see-khaw'/7881); feminine of 7879; reflection; be extension, devotion: KJV-- meditation, prayer.
Ps 77:11-13 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. (12) I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. (13) Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? (KJV)
The Hebrew word used to translate "meditate" in this verse also has the application of diligent study. Meditation of the scriptures is much more than thoughtful contemplation of the verses being studied. The word also has the application of serious Bible study.
Ps 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands (KJV)
Prov 15:28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things (KJV)
These last two scriptural references also use the Hebrew word "Hagah". The verse in Proverbs clearly states that the righteous saint will study the Word of God in order to properly answer any questions. (1 Peter 3:15,21)
The Workman of the Lord
The Apostle Paul emphatically stressed the need for the ministers of the Lord to study the word of God.
2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (KJV)
(Amplified Bible) Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved [tested by trial], a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing — rightly handling and skillfulling teaching — the word of truth.
spoudazo (spoo-dad'-zo/4704); from 4710; to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest: KJV-- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.
dokimos (dok'-ee-mos/1384); from 1380; properly, acceptable (current after assayal), i.e. approved: KJV-- approved, tried.
orthotomeo (or-thot-om-eh'-o/3718); from a compound of 3717 and the base of 5114, to make a straight cut, i.e. (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): KJV-- rightly divide. 5719 orthrizo (or-thrid'-zo); from 3722; to use the dawn, i.e. (by implication) to repair betimes: KJV-- come early in the morning.
The first principle clearly presented by these Greek words is the primary need for DILIGENCE in your Bible research.
The second principle is associated with the first. The Lord will TRY, TEST, and APPROVE our faith according to our willingness to study His word.
The third principle presented by these definitions is the importance of CORRECT ANALYSIS of scripture. When we speak of correct analysis we also imply solid Biblical balance. It is important we understand the seriousness of being balanced in our Bible doctrine.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Two Lesson Plan
The Four Problems of Bible Research
Most Christians realize the importance the Bible should have in their spiritual lives, but they are frustrated by their continual lack of qualified Bible Study. Let's ponder the three levels of Bible study.
Our handling the Bible requires one very crucial task; we must interpret these sacred writings. The Bible authors wrote from a perspective unique to them, unique in history, custom. Language, and geography. The four areas create for us four problems the student of the word must solve in order to successfully interpret the Bible.
The Four Major Problem of Bible Research
The Language Barrier
The first problem the student of the word will confront is the language barrier. The Bible was written in three languages which are not in use today in their ancient form. The three languages are Hebrew, Aramaic/ Chaldee, and Koine Greek.
The Hebrew language originated from the old Phoenician alphabet. Nearly all alphabets in current use — Semitic and non-Semitic — find their ancient roots in this alphabet.
Nowhere in the Old Testament in the language called Hebrew, but it is referred to as "the language of Cannan" (Isa 19:18), and "the Jew’s language" (2Kings 18:26,28)
On three occasions the children of Israel were taken into captivity. Each captivity resulted in major inter-pollution’s being introduced into the Hebrew language.
These captivities caused the Hebrew language to erode to the point that the common people of Israel could not speak their ancestral language. The death of the Hebrew language forced Ezra and Nehemiah to develop the targums (translation of the law from Hebrew into Aramaic) in order to bridge the gap between the sacred writings and the people. With the creation of the targums the Hebrew language became known as the "Sacred Tongue" reserved only for religious worship and priestly use.
Aramaic is a northwest Semitic dialect believed to have originated in the Mesopotamian area. Should we disregard two words that occur in Genesis 31:47, the earliest notice of the use of this language in scripture is the request the representatives of Hezekiah made to Rabshakeh (2Kings 18:26 Isa 36:11). We next meet with the Aramaic language in Jeremiah 10:11. Nearly all of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew with the following exceptions which were written in Aramaic — Daniel 2:4-7:28, Ezra 4:8 - 6:18 and Jeremiah 10:11.
During the days of Jesus it would be necessary for Him to speak both Hebrew and Aramaic.
The world conquests of Alexander the Great (c. 356 BC) caused the Greek language to spread throughout the known world. Koine Greek became the common language of communication between nations and peoples; in fact the word "Koine" is translated "common".
Alexander’s conquests caused the Greek culture to spread into new territories. Often God will select unlikely people to fulfill His will. Alexander, the Great was one of these people. The Lord used Alexander’s love for culture and literature to spread a common language throughout the known world. The most significant by-product of Alexander’s conquests was the publication of the Greek Septuagint. This Bible is a translation of the Hebrew manuscripts by 72 Hellenistic Jewish scalars into Greek. The translations took nearly 40 years to complete from 285 BC to 246 BC. The Septuagint had a definite affect on the establishment and growth of the first century Church. In fact, several of Jesus’ scriptural quotes are derived from the Septuagint, and the author of the book of Hebrews also utilized this translation.
Consider this fact with me. When Jesus ministered the Sermon on the Mount He spoke to a mixed crowd ( people from Decapolis and Peraea — Matt 4:25 Luke 6:17 — Greek speaking nations). This mixed crowd would have forced Jesus to speak in Greek. Now that we have established this fact, we now can prove that Jesus spoke three languages — Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
On the day of Pentecost Peter definitely preached in Greek, because of the mixed nations present, and he was understood by all (Acts 2:5-12).
Each of these three languages, in their own way, fashioned and formed the written word of God. When we study in the English language we remove ourselves from the linguistic atmosphere the Bible was written in. Now we come to the crux of the language barrier, the English language often doesn’t have word for word perfect translation. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are very picturesque; often it takes more than one English word to accurately translate the original languages.
The Cultural Barrier
The second problem the student of the word will encounter is the cultural barrier. Often the student of the word will attempt to interpret the Bible according to his or her own cultural perspective. This would cause a distortion of interpretation, because the Bible was not influenced by the typical Anglo-European culture. The Bible was written in an oriental culture, the Bible is an oriental book recording culture, customs, and modes of thinking in an oriental fashion.
The customs of Israel today have not changed much since Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem. The oriental customs of today are nearly the same as those of ancient times.
Acts 15:22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. (NIV)
Acts 15:28-29It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: (29) You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. (NIV)
The council meeting in Jerusalem recorded in the 15th chapter of Acts is a perfect example. When the council instructed the Gentile Church to abstain from eating or drinking animal’s blood, and from eating strangled meat that was not bled, they were being granted divine wisdom that would help them bridge the cultural gap between the Jewish and the Gentile Church. According to Oriental (Jewish) custom the eating or drinking of animal’s blood would result in the person being absorbed by the soul of the animal with all it's beastly qualities. The wisdom of the early church fathers proved sound. By respecting these customs, the Gentile and Jewish churches could fellowship in the communion celebrations and love feasts. No longer would the two churches be divided, now they would be recognized as one church.
The Oriental Culture and Women
According to Oriental custom women are considered to of low degree, and the enslavement of women in numerous cults of Oriental paganism are notorious. According to Jewish custom women were granted only an extremely restricted access to the Temple. Women also were only allowed to view synagogue services from behind galleries or curtains.
The Christian church on the other hand welcomed women, commended them, liberated them socially and spiritually, and granted them privileges of service and ministry they never enjoyed before. According to Galatians 3:28, "...in the eyes of God, there is neither male or female..". It is the customs of men who separate the sexes into superior and inferior degrees. Several denominations grant women only restricted access to the ministry of God for two reasons.
The only restriction the Apostle Paul placed on women was in matters of ruling and teaching in the house of God, women were never to usurp authority over men, and thus introduce anarchy. It is important we interpret these controversial passages in the light of history and culture. The Corinthian church were admonished to control the verbal expression of their women (1Cor 11:3 14:34). Is it possible that Paul admonished the Corinthian church to control their women because of an unique problem that existed in this church?
Paul’s admonishment to the Corinthian church to silence the women was not designed to communicate that women were to be restricted because they were inferior. The admonishment was clearly an attempt by Paul to control the influence of pagan ritual. Should we arbitrarily apply these restrictions to our denominations today with total disregard to the history and culture of the first Epistle of Corinthians, then we are doing women a disservice.
The Geographical Barrier
The third problem the student of the word will confront is the geographical barrier. At first glance ignorance of geography would not seem to be a serious hindrance in understanding the Bible.
Why were the Judeans prejudicial and antagonistic toward their Galiean country men? One reason could be found in consulting a rainfall chart for the nation of Israel. The annual rainfall of lower Galilee is between 25 and 30 inches per year, while the lower region of Judea receives less than 15 inches. Remember, consistent rainfall is translated into economic wealth. In simple terms, Judea was poor in wealth, but rich in religion, while Galilee was rich in crops but poor in religion.
The greatest need for understanding Biblical geography is in the areas of Bible prophecy and the geo-political progression of the empires that influenced the nation of Israel.
The Historical Barrier
The fourth problem the student of the word will confront is the historical barrier.
What was the tower of babel? The existence of this tower in the Old Testament is confusing.
Gen 11:4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
The Interlinear Bible casts an interesting light on this verse; "...And they said come let us build for ourselves a city and a tower with it’s top — the heavens." The term "...to the heavens..." is inserted by the early translators to explain this passage. Accord to several Hebrew scalars, the phrase should read "...with it’s top for the heavens...". This variation in translation confuses the reason for the tower. It was a temple mountain called a ZIGGURAT dedicated to an early form of Zodiac paganism.
Another example is the family of Abram. According to Josh 24:2, Terah, the father of Abram served other gods in the city of Ur. Abram was raised in Babylonian paganism. God instructed Abram to the land of the Chaldeans to remove from him the peer-pressure of his pagan family.
Genesis 16:1-16 record the account of Abram, Hagar and Sarai. It would be easy to cast a value judgment on Abram for engaging in sexual relations with Hagar. We must interpret this chapter in the history and culture of 2000 BC. According to the NUZU marriage law, the marriage custom that influenced Abram, a barren wife was to furnish her husband with a slave girl in order to provide her husband with a child.
In the New Testament we have a test of Christianity provided in 1John 4:1-3. We use this test to root out false teachers. Should we hear a controversial teacher proclaim the test found in these verses, then we rest at ease knowing that he or she must be a man or woman of God. How dangerous this can be! John gave us this test to expose and root out the heresy of GNOSTICISM.
Picture that these four barriers are massive canyons that separate us from the ancient Apostles and Prophets. On one side of the canyon is the student of the word, and on the other is the original author. How can we bridge the nearly a 3500 year gap? We must build a bridge from our point of view to the original authors. In order to build this bridge we must have research tools. The Christian market is filled with volumes of research aids designed to bridge the canyon of ignorance.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Three Lesson Plan
In chapter Two we examined the four barriers that hinder serious Bible study. Since archaeologists began the study of antiquity the need to understand ancient points of reference has demanded the use of a wide variety of research tools. It is a known fact that over 80% of all archaeological work is conducted in the dusty halls of libraries not with the pick and shovel on archaeological digs. No matter which ancient civilization is studied, the archaeologist must decipher the language, culture, geo-political influences, and the history of his dust and stone remains.
Consider this fact with me, we are scriptural archaeologists. When we approach our Bible studies we must dig out the influences of the ancient civilizations that motivated the writing of the Bible. The dust and ashes of nations long since dead are filled with clues the diligent student of the Word will sift in order to understand the Bible writer’s point of reference.
I will present a basic overview of several research books. Let me stress that the books presented are only a sampling of what is available on the research market.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
The SEC will become the cornerstone of your linguistic library. The copy right on the original publication of the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance has elapsed, therefore we have many publishers who have their own version of this great work.
Three Different Applications:
The Main Concordance is the largest section usually between 1200 and 1300 pages, it's assembled in basic English dictionary format.
Three Segments of the Scripture Entry
In order to understand the definitions utilized in the different dictionaries, we must refer to the "ABBREVIATIONS and SIGNS EMPLOYED" prior to each dictionary.
The Original Word(Transliteration – Phonetic Transcription)
Etymology of the Word
Etymology is the history of a word as shown by breaking it down into it's basic elements, or by tracing it back to the earliest known form and indicating it's changes in form and meaning (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary).
The Definition of the Word
The definition section of our study word can be difficult to understand should we fail to consult the Abbreviations and Signs Employed section.
In the definition there are several ITALICIZED words; these words indicate explanations and variations from the usual form in the KJV.
The format of James Strong was to present the literal translation of the word, but often he would include the implied (imp) application of the word. Also Strong would include the figurative (fig) application of the word.
Various Translations of the Word
I must draw our attention to the ":–" symbol, because it indicates the end of the definition and the beginning of the various ways our study word is translated in the KJV.
Each word appearing after the:– are the different English words used by the translators to communicate the various applications of the host Hebrew or Greek word.
With these various translations we could look up in the Main Concordance each English word and record each place where our SEC number is used, and we would have a list of every place in the Bible where our study Hebrew and Greek word is used.
Thayer’s Greek/English Lexicon - New Testament
For many years Thayer’s Greek/English Lexicon could be used only by those advanced students of the Bible who could recognize the Greek alphabet. In the early 1970’s the publishers realized that their publications were limited to only advanced Bible students. In order to widen their market the publishers used the Strong’s numbering system to help the Bible student to use their linguistic aids.
You should always purchase linguistic aids coded to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
When you use this book take the time to review the list of ancient authors, and the list of books. The most important section is the explanations and abbreviations section.
CAUTION: The Thayer’s Greek/English lexicon is one of the best linguistic aids on the market today, but a word of caution is necessary. Joseph Thayer was a Unitarian, and the heresies of this sect occasionally come through in the explanatory notes.
Gensenius’ Hebrew/Chaldee Lexicon - Old Testament
Gensenius’ Hebrew lexicon is one of the best Hebrew concordances the Bible student can own, but you should purchase one coded to the SEC.
In order to understand the abbreviations used in this book familiarize yourself with the publisher’s introduction, the preface, and the to the student sections.
The Englishman’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance
Both concordances were compiled by the same man, and that man is George V. Wigram. Both concordances were copy-righted in the 1840’s. The value of the Englishman’s concordance is found in the fact that George Wigram recorded every occurrence in the Old and New Testaments where designated Hebrew and Greek words are used. In the same way that the SEC identifies every occurrence of an English word in the Bible, the Englishman’s concordance identifies every occurrence of the original Hebrew and Greek words.
Hopefully you have purchased these concordances coded to the SEC.
Should you have these books not coded to the SEC.
Should have these books coded to the SEC.
We shall examine a typical Hebrew or Greek entry.
Expository Dictionaries of Old/New Testaments
These two books are excellent additions to a linguistic library. We are examining these books together because they are nearly identical in their use.
The Hebrew and Greek languages are picturesque in nature. Many times there is no perfect English equivalent, therefore I usually require two or three witnesses to confirm a definition. Remember this simple rule while you’re studying in the Hebrew and the Greek.
Unger’s Bible Dictionary
Unger’s Bible Dictionary is my favorite historical research aid. This Bible dictionary has the ability to bridge historical, cultural, and geographical gaps. I prefer Unger’s dictionary, because of it's excellent archaeological commentary. The author, Merril F. Unger, before his death was the foremost Bible archaeologist in the nation.
In order to understand many of the abbreviations used in this book, please read the abbreviations and key to pronunciation page. This dictionary is arranged according to English topic.
Oxford Bible Atlas
Every Bible research library should have a Bible atlas. I currently use and recommend the Oxford Bible Atlas. On page 8 you will find an abbreviations page that will aid you in understanding the maps and explanations.
Manners and Customs of the Bible
The last book we will examine is Manners and Customs of the Bible, written by James M. Freeman. This book is an excellent tool to bridge the cultural and historical gaps of the Bible. At first this book may seem difficult to use, but be patient, in time you will find it easy to locate important information. The book is divided into three indexes.
Recommended Purchase Order
1. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 2. Unger’s Bible Dictionary
3. Expository Dic. New Testament 4. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
5. Englishman’s Greek Con. 6. Gesenius Hebrew Lex.
7. Englishman’s Hebrew Con. 8. Expository Dic. Old Test.
9. Manner/Customs of Bible 10. Oxford Bible Atlas
Your first two purchases should be the SEC and Unger’s Bible Dictionary, because these two books will allow you to bridge all four research gaps. Remember to make all purchases coded to the SEC.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Four Lesson Plan
Nearly all Christians realize the importance of meditating the scriptures, they realize that there is a clear mandate given in the scriptures to meditate "..day and night.." the Word of God, but how do we meditate scripture? This is the question of the hour. In Chapter One the biblical basis For Bible meditation was presented; In this chapter we will examine practical methods of Bible meditation.
What is Bible Meditation?
Bible meditation IS not an exercise which can be conducted in 30 second time slot: true Biblical meditation is a function which should encompass day and night. Bible meditation is a process which can require several hours of work
It is easy for me to associate, Bible meditation with being a detective. The function of a detective is to investigate a crime in order to solve its mystery.
Picture with me the possibility that the diligent student of the Word should be a SCRIPTURAL DETECTIVE. When the student of the Word seeks to meditate the Word of God, he or she should approach the scriptures with the attitude of a detective.
Remember a cause investment of time will reap cause results. Now let's consider the secret to successful Bible mediation.
Changing Point of Perspective
Successful Bible meditation is built on the technique of changing your point of perspective. Lets say that I was standing in the middle of a room, and I had four people positioned around me; one on my left, one on my right, one in front of me, and one behind me. On my direction I asked each person to describe the part of me they saw. Each person would see a different portrait of me based on his or her point of perspective. Should each person believe they had the total picture of my appearance they would be sadly mistaken. In order to gain an accurate picture you must combine the testimony of all four individuals. In simple terms you must consider each point of perspective in order to develop a three dimensional picture of me.
You must handle the Word of God in the same fashion. The scriptures are not one dimensional, but they have many facets and applications: in Fact the Bible is multi-dimensional. The secret to successful Bible meditation is found in your ability to change your point of perspective.
The Positive/Negative Method
The normal method of Bible meditation is to ponder for a few moments the proper application of the topic being studied. We will call this approach, meditating your topic from the positive perspective. The secret to this method is to change your approach and meditate your topic from the negative perspective.
With the negative method you seek to identify the opposite application of your study topic. You read between the lines.
2 Cor 3:18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (KJV)
This method of Bible meditation will take some practice but once you develop the technique you will find it easy and effective.
Key Word Method
The second method of Bible meditation is to identify the key words in your study topic. With this method you identify the key words in your topic that give it action and direction. Simply stated, look for the verbs in the topic.
Rom 6:11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (KJV)
The third method of Bible mediation is a modified form of the key word method and the positive/negative method. With this method you identify the synonyms and the antonym of your key words.
How can I discover a word’s synonyms and antonyms?
The fourth method of Bible meditation is based on the simple scientific law of cause and effect. This law states that with every action there is an equal and opposing reaction. We can also use this method to conduct Bible meditation. Simply stated, every action you see produced by your study topic will have an equal and opposing reaction.
In order to be successful with this method you should seek to establish spiritual motive, cause and effect, and reaction. Seek to discover what causes your topic to function, what effect the topic has on the truth of God, and the spiritual action and reaction that will be produced in your life by your study topic.
Gal 6:7-8Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (KJV)
Simply stated, the cause and effect method seeks to identify the sowing and reaping principle of your study topic.
Five W’s Method
The final method is based on the normal journalistic approach to writing. Seek to identify Who, What, When, Where, and Why of your study topic.
Heb 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (KJV)
During these times of meditation do not forget to consider HOW your study topic relates and functions with the subject context.
These method presented are not an end in themselves. Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit the truth of scripture will not be opened to you. When you change your point of perspective with these Bible mediation methods all you are doing is providing the Holy Spirit with a fertile breeding ground for scriptural illumination.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Five Lesson Plan
The Word Study
The most common way of studying the Bible is to use a simple concordance and study the Bible in the English language. I have discovered over the years that the true wealth of the Bible is hidden in the expanded application of the original languages; it is for this reason that I never conduct word studies in the english language, but I access the treasure of the original tongues with the research tools available.
The Word Study Format
The secret to a successful Bible research project is organization and proper study habits. Diligence and tenacity are the necessary attitudes needed to be successful in Bible research. Lets eradicate the idea that a research project is a study completed in thirty minutes, start to finish. Some research projects might require weeks or months to complete.
Each word study project should have three parts; an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. Each of these parts are designed to organize your study time and meditation. In order to have a successful project you must complete a thorough Introduction. A thorough Main Body is built on a thorough Introduction. The success of your conclusion is totally dependent on the thoroughness of your Main Body. In simple terms each part of the research project is inter-dependent on each other. Should you be sloppy in one section that sloppiness will affect the entire project
The success of a Bible Research project is seriously influenced by the quality of Introduction you do. Should you rush through the preparation of your Introduction the entire project will reflect your lack of diligence and patience
Step One — Word Study Introduction
The Word Study Introduction is designed to control subject wondering. Think of one or two sentences which accurately describe the goal and direction of your study. Often presenting your thesis statement in the form of a question is an excellent way to define the goal of your topic.
Word Study Introduction: In Proverbs 9:10 mention is made of the knowledge of the Holy What type of knowledge is referred to in this verse
The key to preparing a simple but thorough thesis statement is meditation. Spend a few moments defining the goal, objectives and parameters (limits) of the research project.
Step Two — Identifying Your Study Word
The second step is to open your strong's exhaustive concordance to the English word or words under consideration. Identify the Hebrew or Greek words needed to construct your study project
Word Definition (s) Strong’s Number Transliteration
1847 Da’ath (dah’–ath)
Step Three — The Etymology
Establish the etymology of the Greek or Hebrew word being studied. It's important to clarify the etymology of the word being studied, because the history of the word can influence your understanding of its meaning and application.
Open your Strong's Exhaustive Conqordance to the Hebrew or Greek dictionary in the back of your concordance. Once you've located the proper dictionary open it to the Strong's number which corresponds to the word being studied. Once you have located the appropriated Hebrew or Greek word read the first few words in the definition, these words will be your etymology.
Read carefully the etymology of your word, and record its definition in the space provided on the Worksheet. While you are researching the etymolory of your word be sure to carefully meditate its definition and the implications the definition has on your study.
ETYMOLOGY: From 3045: Yada (yaw-dah') "To know, to ascertain by seeing, including observation, recognition, care; to know by experienee. To see, to observe with the eyes to what we hear with the ear..."
Step Four — The Definition
Aain lets refer back to the Strong's Hebrew or Greek dictionary. After you have read the preliminary etymological informatlon, the next words you read compile a simple definition, but you must pay careful attention to this symbol (:–) because it indicates the end of the definition and the beginning of the various ways your word is translated in the KJV. As useful a tool as the Strong' s concordance is you will find that other lexicons are needed to establish an accurate definition. It is at this point the Strong's numbering system has its greatest value. Many Greek and Hebrew study aids are coded to the Strong's numbering system
On the worksheet you will notice three words adjacent to the subtitle definition, these words are basic, primary, and applied. These words indicate various expanded degrees of the definition.
Do not get hung up with these various degrees of definitions. If they confuse you don’t worry about them. Definitions may vary as you read from lexicon to lexicon; because of these variations I have a policy that two or three witnesses are necessary to solidify an accurate definition.
Definition: (Basic, Primary and Applied) "Knowledge, used as knowledge of God: Intelligence, Understanding, Wisdom: To be possessed of wisdom; to acquire knowledge by intimate experience with God..."
Step Five — Various Translations
The final step you need to complete your introduction is to consider the different translations that affect your theme word. When you begin studying in the original languages you will often find that one Hebrew or Greek word can be translated by several English words. For example, the Greek word "Logos" is translated by 23 different English words. Some of these words are ".. to cause, to communicate, to give account, to think, to talk, to reason, or to question..". You can see that identifying the various ways your study word is translated can seriously influence the direction of your study. To finish step five please complete the follow functions.
Translations: The most common derivative of Yada; this word is used 90 times in the Old Testament. Da’ath is correctly translated "Knowledge, Unawares, Ignorantly, Unwittingly, to Know.
To conclude tis section on the Word Study Introduction I wish to present some helpful hints that will increase the productivity of your study time.
Now that you have completed your study introduction you have a solid foundation for your research of scripture. In the Main Body of your study you will examine the usage of your introductory subject, text of word in the Bible.
Step Six — Scan All References
Once you have completed your introduction you are ready to observe the it's usage in the volume of God’s Word. In order to accomplish this task you need to scan all the scriptural references in the Bible where your study word appears. Remember your study word should be in Hebrew or Greek, therefore you need a concordance that will list it's scriptural references according to the Bible’s original languages.
You can use the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to scan all references, but it is difficult. In order to accomplish this task you must look up every word that appears after the ":–" symbol in your definition in the main concordance. Take the time and record the various scriptural references where your SEC number appears. This technique can be used but it's difficult and time consuming, but there is an easier way. Purchase an Englishman’s Hebrew or Greek Concordance coded to the SEC numbering system. Locate your SEC number, and before you is listed every place in the Bible where your Hebrew or Greek word is used.
With your Hebrew or Greek concordance opened to your SEC number, slowly scan every reference. Make note of very scripture that helps answer or clarify your Word Study Thesis Statement. Once you have identified the references you will use in your study, take the time to meditate each reference considering the influence it has on your introduction. Remember, as you scan your concordance you will be looking for cause and effect.
Step Seven — The Word Study
In the Main Body section of your Word Study Worksheet begin recording your selected scriptures on your worksheet
"The fear of the Lord is the begining of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
"..fools hate knowledge (Prov 1:29)
To learn this type of knowledge we must first learn to fear the Lord (Prov 8:13
Foolish, ignorant people set themselves against this type of knowledge. (Tradition, attitudes, hardness of heart)
When you have completed the Main Body section of your study you are ready to bring your study to a conclusion. Often the novice Bible student is apprehensive of this section, because they are confronted with not no knowing what to say or how to summarize their research. You should have no problem writing a thorough Conclusion if you prepared a thorough Main Body. In simple terms, your Conclusion should be a simple reiteration of your meditations in the Main Body.
When your conclusion is finished you should have answered your Introductory Thesis Statement. In fact you should begin compiling and directing your study project toward it's conclusion with the first pen strokes of your Introduction. Your conclusion is the goal line of your project. You cannot score until you cross the line. In other words, you cannot win a race until you cross the finish line. Any experienced runner realizes that he or she must picture the finish line in his or her mind at the sound of the starting gun in order to win the race. When a runner pictures the finish line, the runner knows the proper pace, energy, and effort that will be needed to finish the race.
Remember dear reader, the study of God’s word is not the occassional experience. Our study of the Word of God must be a life-style of seeking the Lord. You can not enter deeper dimensions of Bible understanding without a life-style of prayer. In fact the life of prayer has a greater application, because without prayer your Bible study will be an empty head knowledge exercise in futiltity. Prayer and the ministry of the Word was the power source of the New Testament church. The two factors must also become the power source of your life (Acts 6:4).
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Six Lesson Plan
The Topical Study
Once you develop the skills to conduct qualified word studies you will be able to research any topic or subject in the Bible. Even though the word study is the foundation of successful Bible research it's limited in it's scope and effectiveness. The simple word study format doesn’t allow you the flexibility of researching the various words, applications, and influences that are recorded in the volume of the Bible
Now I have come to the crux of the matter. How can the student of the bile expand the word study format to incorporate a wider arena of research? The answer to this question is simple. When the word study method will not meet the needs of your research project, expand your horizons and conduct a topical study. The topical study is also a useful tools when a student seeks to dissect a verse or verses of scripture into key word study formats.
The Topical Study
The secret to any successful Bible study is organization. No matter which study format you use organization is the key to success. Each Bible research project should three parts:
Each part of your research project is interdependent on each other. Should you be casual and sloppy in any section of your study, your lack of attention will affect the entire project.
The secret to a qualified introduction is the topical thesis statement. When you sit down to begin a topical study spend a few moments defining the goals, objectives, and parameters of your study. Once you have established the conditions of your study you need to record these conditions in a well constructed thesis statement. A good topic thesis statement will be simple but exact as to what you seek to discover in your study.
Topic Thesis StatementIn the Bible much is said and taught concerning the pursuit of knowledge. Conduct a topical study on knowledge in the Old and New Testaments. Seek to identify the different types of knowledge in the Bible, also seek to understand how we can learn each type of knowledge. Also, seek to identify the influence each type of knowledge will have.
In the sample introduction I defined of my topical study. In the Thesis Statement I clearly established the the goals, objectives, and parameters of my study.
It's a good practice to personalize your thesis statements in order to discover the influences your study topic would have on you. Let me spend a few moments describing some of the different ways your can use the topical study.
Each of these methods are effective tools to aid you in your Bible research. All you need to do is record in your introduction the direction you desire your study to take.
The Main Body of the topical study is slightly different from the format presented in word study. When you assemble the main body of your topical study your goal is not to research the usage of one Hebrew or Greek word, but your intent is to identify the various Hebrew or Greek words used in the Bible to describe your study topic.
In order to accomplish this task you should identify which English words best describe your topic. Now is the time you would include the usage of synonyms that clarify your study direction.
1847 (1843, 44)
Step One — Identify Your Study Words
The first step you should do is identify which words you will research, and you should know which synonyms influence your study. Record these words on your worksheet under the heading of "Topic Word/Synonym".
Step Two — Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
The second step is to open your Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the main concordance and locate your English word or words.
Scan the scriptural listings and identify the different Hebrew or Greek reference numbers listed under your topic. Record these different numbers on your worksheet under the heading of "Strong’s Number".
When you see numbers in numeric progression you will find that they are different forms of the same word. To research each of these words separately is redundant and time consuming. The best way to research these words is to group them together and study their influence as a group. It's helpful to distinguish between Old and New Testament words.
Step Three — Transliterations
Step three is to record the transliterations of the numbers you have identified on your worksheet under the heading of "Transliteration"
Step Four — Word Studies
The fourth step is not recorded on your topical worksheet, because it's a procedure you perform separate from your worksheet. Once you've identified your study words used by your topic you should complete separate word study worksheets for each word or group of words.
These four steps comprise the main body format. Let me challenge you with this thought. After you have compiled your main body take the time to compile a brief study on antonyms of your study topic
Fourth Application — Seed Thoughts
I depicted three different applications of the topical study, but there is one more application. I waited until this time to describe this application, because you needed to understand the proper format of the topical study.
Often, while I am engaged in intense prayer and communion with the Lord I receive seeds of truth. These illuminations are seeds of revelation the Holy Spirit plants in my mind. I meditate the nuggets of truth until I can formulate them into a research project.
Let me explain! One time the Holy Spirit spoke to me this simple truth "the mind of Christ is the mind of the cross..." Eventually I formulated the seed thought into a topical thesis statement: "Since the mind of Christ is the mind of the cross, then what does the Bible teach concerning the mind of Christ? How do the scriptures portray the cross? What influence does the mind of Christ and His cross have on me? How can I identify with Christ and His cross, and how can I yield to their workings in my life?" Each of these questions formulated the goals, objectives, and parameters of my topical study. Over a period of several months this seed thought, in conjunction with other illuminations, eventually gave birth to a fifteen week course and syllabus entitled "The Cross Principle".
If you can formulate your seed thoughts into topical thesis statements you can research your illuminations in the volume of scripture.
The conclusion for a topical study is more in depth than the conclusion for the word study. In the topical study the conclusion is a correlation of the main body, but remember your main body is comprised of individual word studies. In order to write your conclusion to your topical study you must extract from each word study summary the necessary information which answers or clarifies your topical thesis statement.
In order to write a thorough topical conclusion, correlate your meditations with your introduction. Look to find similarities, and seek to establish cause and effect in your word studies. Your topical conclusion should be recorded under the heading of "Topical Study Summary". Your study is finished when you have answered your study thesis statement.
Topical Study Summary: (Correlate All Word Study Summaries)
As I correlated the different word study summaries associated with this topical study I found that there are several dimensions of knowledge. In the Old Testament the word Yada is the central root word of Da’ath, Dea’, and De’ah which are the most common Hebrew words used for knowledge. These four words clearly indicate that the true knowledge of the Lord must be experienced on an individual basis. Often we teach people the doctrines concerning God, but we do not teach them how to experience God. It's interesting to note that nearly all the Hebrew words used for knowledge have a definite tie with spiritual wisdom and understanding. In order to experience true biblical knowledge we must seek and experience true spiritual wisdom and understanding. These same truths are clearly indicated in the New Testament. The Ginosko/Gnosis knowledge is the basic knowledge each Christian must learn and teach. The New Testament also speaks of the Epiginosko knowledge which is the understanding we develop of Jesus by and through intimate personal relationship. You can’t learn this type of knowledge nor can you teach it, all you can do is experience it in the Lord’s presence.
The Pyramid Structure
When you conduct study projects, organization is the prime key to all qualified Bible research. The only thing you should remember is to stay within the parameters of your study direction. Also try to maintain the pyramid organizational structure in your studies. Should your research projects require two or more topical studies you should develop one major topical study that will organize and control your other minor topical studies, and these minor topical studies should control your word studies. In simple terms, you should have one topical study that controls all other studies. When your intention is to research one major topical study that will control two or more minor topical studies all that you need to do is develop a simple but exact topical introduction, and correlate all minor topical summaries into one major topical summary.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Seven Lesson Plan
The Person/Place Study
The topical study is an excellent format when your research require the use of several word studies, but the topical study is limited when the word study format will not meet the need. For example, should your topic be a person of place the word study format will not help you discover the scriptural importance of the person of place being studied. The word study format was designed to help the student of the word conduct Hebrew or Greek word studies. To conduct a person or place study in the original languages is redundant and unnecessary, because the names of persons and places in the Bible are in their original form already.
The Bible is filled with the successes and failures of men and women of God. According to 1Corinthians 10:11 their lives are recorded in the Bible as examples for us. The testimonies of faith and the admonishments of unbelief are eternally etched on the holy pages of scripture. When you meditate the lives of your holy ancestors, or you sift through dust and stone to discover the importance of Bible locations, you are touching the real humanity of God’s Holy Word. When you study the people and places of the Bible, you are gazing into the lost reflections of your own humanity. Their failures are your failures, and the keys that released the blessings of God in their lives can also work for you.
The Person/Place Study
Each person/place study you conduct should have the same three basic parts as the word and topical study formats.
Be very careful that you are researching the correct person or place. The Bible makes reference to thirty different Zachariahs, fifteen Jonathans, eight Judases, seven Marys and five Jameses. Also be careful that you identify the various names that may apply to one individual or location (i.e. Peter, Simon, Simeon, Cephas — Zion, the City of David, the Holy Hill). (Bible Research; by Ken Malmin: Bible Temple Publications)
The Person/Place study method should have five steps; let's examine each step. A sample place study is included on the importance of Zion in the Bible, take time to review this study.
Step One — Topic Thesis Statement
The first part of the person/place study introduction is to develop an introductory thesis statement. In order to construct your thesis statement you should think of one or two sentences that accurately describes and defines the goals, objectives and parameters of your study.
Topic Thesis Statement: In the Bible the term Zion or Sion is used over 160 times. Since the Bible places considerable emphasis on this term, identify the importance of Zion, and what influence it has on us today..
The purpose of an introductory thesis statement is to prevent an unorganized research project. You will find that any good research project should be guided by a question or seeking thesis statement. A seeking statement is one or two sentences where you establish a seeking direction to your project. Please take notice of the fact that the sample thesis statement has two objectives defined.
It's good to include in any research project, especially a person/place study, what influence your study topic has on your life; by doing this action you personalize your project
In order to complete the next four steps of your introduction you will need research tools that will bridge the four research barriers of your study topic. When I compiled my sample study I used Unger’s Bible Dictionary, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the Gensenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, and the Oxford Bible Atlas.
Step Two — Name Definition
When you study scripture you will often find that the definition of the name of a person or place has a striking similarity with their place in Bible history. It was common for children of destiny to receive names that indicated the influence – in a positive or negative fashion – he or she had on the plan and purpose of God.
Once you've written your topic thesis statement you should seek to identify the proper definition for the name of the person or place being studied
Name Definition: Strong’s Number: 6726/4622 (Tsiyown/Zion:Sion) The name signifies "..Fortress, to Protect, Citadel.." Zion is also known as the City of David and the Holy Hill.
Step Three — Historical Significance
Before your study your person or place in scripture compile a basic historical survey on your study topic. In order to do this open your Bible dictionary or encyclopedia to your study topic and extract pertinent information. When you read the articles about your study topic seek to establish the reason why your study topic had scriptural significance.
Historical Significance: Zion is significant because David captured it and made Zion his city (the city of David) (2Sam 5:7). In Zion, David constructed his palace (2Sam 5:11). David acquired the threshing floor of Araunah farther up the ridge, and there he erected an altar. Solomon built his palatial temple on the sight of Araunah’s threshing floor. (2Sam 24:18 f.)
Seek to identify the factor that caused your study person or place to rise above the ordinary. For example, Bethel, a town about twelve miles north of Jerusalem would have no scriptural significance without the dream of Jacob (Gen 28:10-22). When you seek to establish historical data you should always consider the influence of great events and ancestral background.
Step 4 — Cultural Influence
Every person or place in the Bible was motivated and influenced by their cultural surroundings. The three strongest cultural influences that influenced the writing of scripture is religion, family, and government
Cultural Influence: (Religious, Family, Political, etc.) The religious influence of Zion is established in the erection of the tabernacle of David and the eventual construction of Solomon’s Temple. Zion was designed to be a holy place of worship. Zion was known as the Temple Hill. David’s palace was also located on Mt. Zion.
In my sample study you will notice that the influence of religion gave Zion it's scriptural importance. Without the tabernacle of David and the presence of the Arc of the Lord the influence of Zion would have been limited to the location of David’s royal palace.
Step Five — Geographical Importance
The final step to our introduction will be to determine what kind of influence geography might have on our study topic. You should locate where your person lived, or where your place is located on a Bible map. Once you have located your study topic on a map, you should seek to determine which governmental centers ruled over your person or place. Also you should identify which pagan nations could have influenced your study topic.
Geographical Importance: Zion was a rock escarpment on the ridge between the Kidron and the Tyropeoean valleys of Jerusalem. Eventually the name signified the city of Jerusalem.
You should still consider these factors in the studies you compile. Also you should consult rain fall and vegetation charts, because in Bible times rain fall and vegetation determined wealth. When you consider the influence of rain fall and vegetation you are considering the economics of the region your study person or place inhabited.
The reason you gather historical, cultural, geographical, and linguistic data is to create the point of reference your study person or place dwelt in. By placing yourself in the shoes of your study person you can travel the dusty roads of ancient lands and civilizations. The point of reference you create for yourself will either open to you the secrets of your study, or it will lock you out because you failed to create the proper environment to conduct your study
The format for compiling the Main Body of your person/place study is nearly the same as the word study, the only difference being you're not referencing the usage of a Hebrew or Greek word, instead you're studying the influence of a person or place. When you compile the data of a person/place study you will need to use the Main Concordance of your Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Locate your study person or place, and before you is every place in the Bible where the name of your person or place is used
"...David took the strong hold of Zion...David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David..." (2Chron 5:2)
King David captured Zion from the Jebusites (c. 1005 BC). David built his palace on Zion. Now it's called the City of David.
When you research and meditate a person or place in scripture there are nine guidelines your should consider. Each of these guidelines should help you establish and build an understanding of your topic.
These nine guidelines will help you understand the person or place being studied. When you identify any one of these guidelines in your study record that information on your worksheet.
Every project must have a natural conclusion, you must bring your study to a completion. Your conclusion should be a correlation of clues, observations, and facts acquired from your introduction and main body. Also your conclusion should answer any question your topic thesis statement presented.
When you summarize a person/place study you will record the events or attitudes that caused your topic to distinguish itself from the ordinary. Let us study their lives and learn from their testimonies of faith.
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By J.M. Beatty
Chapter Eight Lesson Plan
Helpful Teaching Hints
2 Tim 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (KJV)
The working men and women of the Lord must be able to correctly analyze and accurately divide the word of truth
The Amplified Bible states that the labourers must be able to teach what they have learned.
All saints have the ability to teach, train, and disciple people they influence. Confidence and organization are the keys to a successful teaching ministry. In order to teach you must have faith in your ability to teach; self confidence can overcome any fear of teaching you have.
The folly of ignorance believes that teaching is a gift given by God to a few selected eloquent speakers. I believe the ability to teach or preach is a craft that can he learned.
The essence of teaching is the communication of truth At times the gifted speaker can be enthralled with the sound of his or her voice and fail to open a channel of communication; while the skilled teacher who lacks eloquence may be more effective to teach or preach the word of God.
An efficient teacher will be prepared and organized when he or she enters the class room. No matter which age group the teacher will teach preparedness and organization will determine success or failure in the class room
In the last several lesson I presented an organizational format for the Word Study, the Topical Study, and the Person/Place Study. Each of these formats required organized thinking and diligence, when you develop a teaching outline you should use the same method of organization. When you teach a class or preach a message I have found the three part method an effective presentation format. Each message you minister should have introduction, a main body, and a conclusion.
The Outline Format
The outline format will allow your to extract from your research a lesson or sermon plan. Usually when you finish a research project it's to exhaustive to be assembled into class or sermon notes, therefore you'll need to reorganize your study worksheets into an outline format
The outline format is a system designed to help you organize your thoughts and research. This is accomplished by dividing or grouping related facts into compatible categories.
I. (Major grouping of related facts and topics
A. (Minor sub-topic related to major grouping)
1. Supporting fact of the sub-topic
2. Supporting fact of the sub-topic
a. Minor supporting fact
b. Minor supporting fact
(1). Minor supporting fact
(2). Minor supporting fact
B. (Minor sub-topic related to major grouping
II. (Major grouping of related facts and topics)
Should your lesson plan require more detail you would use the Arabic numerals and lower case letters within parentheses. Also all letters and numbers should be followed with a period. Do not complicate your outlines with to much detail, you'll confuse yourself when you try to use a complicated outline. Also each division should be indented five spaces for each topic or fact in the outline
Ken Malmin, author of Bible Research (Bible Press
"An outline is the simplest means of showing the plan of presentation. It's merely a means of grouping similar facts. Small details need not appear in the outline, but an effective outline will show:
Do not allow single headings to appear in the outline. The very fact of dividing implies two or more parts. This fact means if you have a "I.", you must have a "II.", or if you have an "A.", you must have a "B.", etc."
Consider with me the possibilities, in chapter six I presented the structure of the topical study. Should you have researched and outlined all fourteen Hebrew and Greek words presented you would have a fourteen week course designed to teach the truths of the Bible concerning knowledge. The marriage of the research format with the outline format will produce a blessed union of the knowledge of the truth, and the communication of this knowledge to the people you influence. The outline format will work for you, but you must work the format. The old adage fits well here, practice will make perfect. Now that I have described the outline format, I will incorporate this technique with the three part method of Bible teaching, and me show you how easy it is to minister with this system.
When I described the importance of the introduction to the study format I stated that the introduction was designed to establish the goals, objectives and parameters (limits) of your research project. When you teach a lesson or preach a sermon the introduction should accomplish the same results. When you prepare teaching outlines or sermon notes your first few statements should be the basic ideas of your introduction. The introduction of your lesson outline should project the mood you desire to create. When you teach or preach God’s word you should dedicate a few moments at the beginning to create the proper mood or atmosphere for your class or congregation to receive the ministry of the word. You should dedicate your class or sermon introduction to open a channel of communication, also to set the goals of your message, or to review the last lesson taught. I will describe the introduction in more detail.
When a the minister of the word seeks to establish a mood for his or her message, he or she is creating a atmosphere of words which will endeavor to open the hearts and minds of his or her class or congregation. There are several methods a minister of the word can use to attract the attention of his or her audience: I will describe three of these methods. Before I describe these methods let me state a sad truth, often when the word is ministered some audiences put themselves into a lethargic state and must be motivated and attracted to hear the word of God. The typical average Christian is manipulated by apathy and deafness to God’s word, and the minister of the word must break through this air headed mind set to properly teach or preach God’s truth. The introduction of your message should address this problem by establishing an interest and attention span.
The first method is the scenario technique. A scenario is a word picture used to create a summary or outline of any dramatic work. When you create a scenario as your introduction, you are building a word picture or scene which will attract the interest of your audience. The first way of doing this is by constructing a dilemma or situation which your audience must solve, simply stated, you appeal to their curiosity. The second way is to create a situation which your audience can identify with, by using this method you are establishing an empathy between your audience and your message.
The second method is the shock technique, this method can be very effective in grabbing the attention of your audience. The shock technique is a modified form of the scenario method. First you create a word scene which is tranquil and soothing, then abruptly you shock your audience with a word, statement, or action which is not part of the scenario. Let me explain, several years ago while I was in speech class, I presented a simple speech on the proper first aid for snake bite. When I began my speech I created a tranquil scenario of walking in the beauty of a forested covered valley on a warm spring day. Slowly I lulled the class into this tranquil place, at which point I yelled in a loud voice, "..ZAP, your bitten by a snake, what do you do?.,'. The shock of the abrupt change in my scenario jolted everyone back into their seats, and I had their undivided attention through the remainder of the speech. When you present a lesson or sermon you can use the shock method in a variety of ways, the only limit to this technique is your ability to be creative.
The third method is the challenge technique; this method is designed to challenge established doctrine which has no real scriptural basis. When you use the challenge technique you should introduce your lesson or message with the doctrine being challenged. On numerous occasions I have raised a Bible in the air and shouted ,,how many brought your sword tonight, let me see those drawn swords,,. It doesn’t take long before the class or congregation have raised their Bibles among strong shouts of amen. Once I have my audience responding in this manner I shock them with the truth concerning the sword of the Spirit. Now I have the attention of my audience and I can minister the truth that the sword of the Spirit is the Rhema (spoken) word of God. This technique works well when you present your challenge. Simply stated you SET UP your audience, you DUPE them into acknowledging the doctrine, tradition, or pre-conceived idea, then you challenge the doctrine your message will expose.
Jesus, the master teacher of the sermon on the Mount, clearly used teaching techniques similar to these three method being describe. In Matthew chapters five, six, and seven the sermon on the mount is recorded. When Jesus introduced His message He created a definite mood which allowed Him to teach the main thrust of His message. In Matthew 5:3-19 Jesus created a scenario of truth which captivated the attention of the multitude. Jesus understood the needs of His audience, therefore He created a scenario of blessings which touched the pain and suffering of the crowd. Once Jesus had captivated the attention of his audience with the blessings of righteousness, He shocked them with the declaration of verse 20; His rebuke of the false righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees established an open channel for his searing words of truth. A close observation of the remainder of the sermon on the mount would reveal Jesus, use of the CHALLENGE technique; on six' occasions Jesus challenged the obsolete church doctrine commonly taught with statements similar to this "..for it has been said unto you.." (Matthew 5:2l,27,3l,33,35,43). Jesus may not have realized his use of these teaching methods, but his expertise clearly revealed Him to be a master teacher of the word.
The introduction is the most important part of your lesson or sermon, should you fail to gain the attention of your audience your message will fall on deaf ears. These three methods can be presented in a question format. When you present a question to the people to solve their attention will be focused on you to answer the introductory dilemma. You will notice in the sample outline that the introduction contained three challenge questions which control the flow of the message. These introductory questions help to generate a curiosity, establish the goals of your message, and clarify the objectives and limits of your presentation. A quality introduction will create a proper mood in your audience, and you will discover it’s easy and fun to minister the word of God.
In chapters five, six, and seven I stated that the main body was designed to research your introductory thesis statement. When you minister a lesson or sermon the main body should develop and expound on the conditions, directions, and questions presented by your introduction. In the sample outline the main body examined the three questions proposed in the introduction. A well prepared main body will stay within the limits set by the lesson or sermon introduction, also the main body will comprise the bulk of your teaching or preaching time. Remember, the goal of your main body is to develop the theme presented by your introduction. You will notice how thorough the sample outline is, your outline does not need to be that complete. When you prepare outlines you should include in your notes the meditations which were inspirational to you, but do not read these notes to your audience. During the ministry of the word you should glance at your outline occasionally to refresh your memory on the meditations you desire to teach or preach. never should you read your notes to your audience, this is disastrous to the ministry of the word. You must understand that the ministry of the word occurs with the minister of the word not with his or her outline. Let me present four helpful hints teaching which will improve your presentation.
The first hint is to control your desire to skip and jump around your outline this will cause confusion in you and your audience. It is one thing to skip a section of your outline during your ministry for the sake of time, but it is another thing to skip and jump all over your outline without rhyme or reason.
The second hint is to instruct your audience to look up a minimal amount of scriptural references. This action will take time, and time may be the hidden treasure of your ministry. I have seen many good messages ruined because the minister constantly had his or her congregation look up and read scriptures. This action is confusing and boring, also it will distract from the real beauty of your message. It is good to have your audience be involved in your message by reading scripture with you, but do not overdo it, because if you become excessive your audience will only remember their weariness with looking up scripture. A good teacher or preacher should limit this action to five or six scriptures per message. You will notice that the sample outline quotes seventeen scriptural references, but the audience was encouraged to look up only six.
The third hint is to encourage audience or student participation with your lesson or sermon. Student participation can really enhance the ministry of the word. Several methods can be used to encourage involvement. One is the common question and answer method, also you can use skits. You can purposefully present erroneous doctrine to stimulate debate, also you can antagonize your audience to solicit a response.
The fourth hint is to use audio/visual aids. The use of audio/ visual aids can greatly enhance and make your ministry interesting. In the sample outline you will notice the visual sheet created for an, overhead projector, when this message is taught the overhead transparency could make the difference. When an audience can hear and see a message their degree of retention will dramatically increase.
These teaching hints can streamline your presentation when you minister the word of God. To often good messages die in the ears of a deaf audience because their presentation lacked sparkle and style. Should you take the same message and give it to a skilled teacher or preacher the message would be received by the people. You should use these teaching techniques when you present the main body of your message; with practice you can become a skilled minister of the word.
In the research techniques you have been taught the conclusion was used to summarize your research. When you minister the word of God your conclusion should also summarize your message. The conclusion is crucial to the success of a lesson or sermon, because it completes the message, and the audience is not confused by what conclusions could be developed from your message. It is sloppy to construct a message and not present a conclusion, even if you must skip part of the message. you should present a conclusion. A properly prepared conclusion will solidify and reinforce the lesson or message in your audience. When you present a conclusion to your message you should include three main points. Lets examine each point!
The first point is to summarize all your observations presented in the main body of your message. In this section you could include excerpts from the conclusion you wrote on your research worksheet. To summarize your observations you should reiterate the main points of your lesson or sermon.
The second point is to personalize your message. You should include in your conclusion points which will allow your message to apply to the lives of your audience. When you bring your ministry into a personal level you will teach the people how they can apply your message to their lives.
The third point is to answer the questions or the scenario presented by your introduction. In simple terms your conclusion should solve the dilemmas of your introduction.
Your summary should be the natural conclusion to your introduction. The goals you established in your introduction should be accomplished by the time you complete your conclusion. Your conclusion should drive home the main points of your message, when you have finished your message all loose ends should be tied.
It's common for ministers to preach or teach lessons which are confusing because their messages lack an introduction, a main body, and conclusion. A properly prepared outline will help to prevent a disorganized message. ounce you discipline yourself in this three part ministry format, your forced organized thinking will transform your teaching and preaching skills. The discipline of organized thought will train and channel your meditations when it's necessary for you to minister an effective message on a moment's notice; your research techniques will create a reservoir of Bible understanding, and your organized teaching methods will allow you to formulate a message quickly in your mind. It is crucial for the minister of the word to be able to think and formulate messages quickly; you never know when the call to teach or preach a qualified message will come.
To conclude this syllabus is difficult because there is so much which could be said concerning the ministry of God’s word. No matter how proficient you become in teaching the Bible you cannot replace the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is vital to the minister of the word to learn to flow with the Holy Spirit, a message ministered without the Holy Spirit is dead, but the presence of the Holy Spirit changes a nice Bible lesson into the ministry of the WORD of GOD. When you stand before your audience please remember that your outline is not cast in concrete, but you can add or subtract from your lesson or sermon plan as the Holy Spirit guides you. In every message there is that one point where the Holy Spirit is released, and the true ministry of the word has occurred. With practice you will learn to recognize the Holy Spirit being released. True New Testament ministry
can only occur when the Spirit of Jesus is released to the people of God. Please let me state that this syllabus has no value or use in your life without the anointing, guidance, and power of the Holy Spirit of God. These study principles I have written are designed to etch into your heart practical methods, techniques, and tools of Bible research which the Holy Spirit can amplify in your life and ministry.
Now that you have finished the teachings of this syllabus you are responsible for the knowledge you have learned. No longer can you use the excuse of ignorance when you speak of your lack of Bible truth. You have in your hands several simple study methods and techniques which can open to you the word of God, but you must practice these formats in order for them to work for you. You have been given several keys which can revolutionize your Bible study habits, but you must make the investment of time and energy in order to reap the benefits of diligence. Please deeply etch these research and ministry disciplines into your daily Christian walk; with patience and tenaciousness you can become the minister of truth you desire to be.
The Knowledge of the Holy
I. In LUKE 24:45 Jesus opened His disciples understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. What occurred in the minds of the disciples when Jesus opened their understanding? What is true spiritual understanding?
A. Does the memorization of doctrine (cassette tapes/Christian books) constitute true spiritual understanding?
1. KNOWLEDGE - DA'ATH (dah'-ath) ''....Knowledge' used as knowledge of God: intelligence' understanding, wisdom: to be possessed of wisdom; to acquire spiritual knowledge by experience with God..''
2. Etymology: From 3O45 ''..Yada..'' (yaw-dah'): ''..To know, to ascertain by seeing, including observation, recognition, care; to know by experience. To see, to observe with the eyes, opposed to what we hear with the ear..,,
C. This type of kno~ledge is learned by experience and intimate relationship with the Lord. Only the Lord can open our understanding to the intimate knowledge of the Holy.
II.PROVERB5 1:7 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
A. To learn this type of knowledge ue first must learn to fear the Lord (door-way to the intimate revelation of the Lord). (Proverbs 8:13) The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, arrogancy, the evil way, and perverted and twisted speech
B. (Proverbs 1:22,29) foolish ignorant people hate this type of knowledge (traditions, attitudes, and lusts harden their hearts)
III. PROVERBS 2:3-6 "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; (4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; (5) then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. (6) For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."
A. The knowledge of the holy can only come from the mouth of God. it is the revelation of the holy one.
B. only thoss who diligently seek for the intimate knowledge of the holy will find it (silver/hidden treasures). God is not obligated to reveal the knowledge of the holg to the casual inouirer.
1. (Isaiah 58:2) ''Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways,...they take delight in approaching to God,'
2. daily we must take delight in approaching to God.
C.JOB 42:5-6 (Amplified Bible) "I have heard of You [only] bL the hearing of the ear; but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. (6) Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
1. Job was taught of God by godly religious men. Job dio not really understand the Lord until he stood in the intense light of the Lord,s presence Cbroken and repentant). Job had built his religious faith on a hearsay knowledge of God.
2. A hearsay knowledge of God will fail you during times oE trial; only the personal revelation of God you have personally experienced will strengthen you during tribulation.
IV. PROVERBS 3:19-20 "The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. (2O) By His knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.''
A. Ihe knowledge of the holy is the eternal knowledge of God, and this dimension of knowledge is filled with great power of creation.
B. (Isaiah 11:2) indicates that the knowledge of God is a living Spirit; could it be that the Spirit of Knowledge is the Spirit of Iruth (John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-15). (another title of Holy Spirit)
V. HOSEA 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast reJected knowledge I will also reJect thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."
A. Many of God,s people are being destroyed (DAMAH Cdaw-maw' /l820) "..to be dumb or silent; hence to fail or perish..''), because they fail to seek the knowledge of the holy. Ihe church is ever learning new doctrines but failing to come to the knowledge of the Iruth (II Timothy 3:7). (The image of Christ impressed on our souls.)
B. According to Malachi 2:7 the lips of God,s anointed ministers (priests) should keep (treat in a sacred fashion) the knowledge of the holy. The ministers of the Lord should teach the church the knowledge of the intimate ways of the Lord which they have received from the mouth of Jesus. The Lord,s people are being destroyed because HIS ministers are feeding their flocks DOCTRINE not REVELATION.
VI. Consider the painful truth that our spiritual understanding of God is eclipsed by our traditional Christian doctrine. We spend much time, effort, and money to practice, preach, and propagate our favorite doctrines, but we are dangerously ignorant of the truth of Christ.
COLOSSIONS 1:9-1O "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (1O) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of god;''
A. Paul's desire is that all spiritual saints be filled with the knowledge of god's will; according to these verses wisdom and spiritual understanding are the by-products of the Knowledge of God's Will (the Knowledge of the Holy).
B. KNOWLEDGE - EPIGNOSIS (ep-ig'-no-sis/1922): ''..full discernment, acknowledgment; precise and correct knowledge of things ethical and divine..''
1. Epignosis is an extraction of EPI which is translated ''..over' above, beyond..", and GINOSKO which is translated ,'..knowledge, to know..,,
2. GINOSKO/GNOSIS knowledge is human communicated knowledge (doctrine), while EPIGNOSIS is knowledge we learn over, above, and beyond normal human communication. EPIGNOSIS is the knowledge we acquire of God and His will through intimate relationship with Him.
C. Should we desire to seek and experience true spiritual understanding we must seek the intimate knowledge of the Holy One. When Jesus opened the spiritual eyes of His disciples, He gave them the ability to taste and experience the knowledge of the holy; after pentecost the Spirit of knowledge was resident in the spirits of Christ's redeemed. when we DAILY seek the face of Jesus' and seek to approach the manifest presence of the Living God; we will enter the intimate arena of the Knowledge of the Holy. Should we desire to walk in spiritual understanding we must walk in the knowledge of the Holy.