Pointers on How to Study

Okay, we ve covered a great deal about reading and meditating. We ve talked about patience and seeking help. But I know we re all looking for more specific clues on how to get more out of what you study. Here are some ideas that should help. As you study there are critical and key questions you can ask that will help you uncover truth. Following are a few examples.
First, it is helpful to ask: Who is talking?In Ezek. 18:2, the Jews used the proverb of sour grapes, which indicates that children are held accountable for the actions of their parents. If we lift the proverb out of its context and assert it as true, we are doing violence to scripture. By noting Jews spoke this parable and God spoke the rebuttal (Ezek. 18:3, 20) we can discern which idea is true and which is false. To properly understand the scriptures, take note of who s talking in the context.

This concept can really help in Job. Job was a prophet of God but what his friends said was sometimes wrong. See Jas. 5:10-11 and Job 42:7. We do well to take special note of who s talking in Job. When Job speaks, his words are the words of God s prophet. But when his friends speak, what they say may be in error.

It also helps to ask: Who is being addressed? This principle is well illustrated in the story of Simon the sorcerer. In Acts 8:13 the Bible tells us that Simon believe and was baptized. When we couple this with Mk. 16:16 we discern that Simon had to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. However, in Acts 8:22, Peter told Simon to repent and pray. So what must a person do to have their sins forgiven? Which of these two plans is the plan for us to follow? By noting the first case speaks to Simon as an alien sinner and the second as a fallen saint, we can discern the two plans speak to two different types of people. To properly understand the scriptures, take note of who s being addressed in the context.

Another question we should ask is: Does the principle apply today? In Col. 2:14-16 the Bible tells us Moses law with its Sabbath requirements was nailed to the cross. Though many Old Testament passages command to keep the Sabbath, this passage tells us those commands are no longer binding. By realizing we are no longer under Moses covenant we can discern that the Sabbath laws don t regulate us. To properly understand the scriptures, remember to divide the covenants and see if the command applies today.

It also helps to ask: What were the circumstances of the passage? In 1 Cor. 7:6-9 Paul says that most have the need to marry, though there are advantages of being single. He seems to indicate what he says is with the Spirit s permission, but not a command. A person might gather from this that Paul s words were uninspired. But in 1 Cor. 7:26 he indicates he is speaking about the present distress. The present distress was the persecution faced by the early church. By taking into account the circumstances we can better understand Paul s message. He was not speaking his own opinion. Rather he was speaking the Spirit s advice for the current situation.

A final important consideration is: What other principles speak to the subject? In 1 Jn. 3:17 the Bible tells us to give to those in need. This may sound like an open-ended requirement to help everyone that asks. However, 2 Thes. 3:10 shows there are limits to how we conduct our benevolent work. A lazy person should not be fed. By allowing principles regarding laziness to speak to our benevolent efforts we can understand the principles of the work ethic limit the principles of benevolence. When studying scripture always bring relevant principles to bear on a given subject.

These are examples of how asking the right questions about a given context can help us properly understand what the scriptures say.

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The Doctrine Of
Women Teachers
In 1 Cor. 14:34-35 The Bible says, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. Because of this and other passages, we do not have women teachers in the church.

This fact really bothers many of our denominational friends. They cannot comprehend why we don t allow women to speak in the church. When we appeal to this passage, many claim Paul was just speaking his own opinion. But in verse 37 Paul stresses that these are God s commands! So the prohibitions of women teachers are God s word, not Paul s prejudice.

Others attempt to avoid the force of this passage by claiming the prohibition of women teachers was based on culture of their day. But 1 Tim. 2:11-14 tells us the regulation against women teachers is due to the fact that Eve was deceived in the garden. Slice it any way you want, but when all is said and done, the Bible still says women are not to teach in the church assembly.
Question For This Study
What key doctrinal issues separated the Pharisees and the Sadducees?
Answer To Last Question

What was the name of the apostle Peter's father? Jonah. In Jn. 1:42 he says as much. Mt. 16:17 refers to Peter as Simon Barjona which means son of Jonah.