Welcome back to the Personal Bible Study Challenge at BibleBaton! Today you’ll learn how to answer your Bible questions using one simple resource—the Bible itself! If using the Bible to answer your questions about the Bible doesn’t make any sense to you, scroll down to discover what it actually means to study the context of a Bible verse.
Context is king (in Bible study).
I once heard a speaker claim that there are 3 key rules for understanding the Bible.
And with good reason!
Use the Bible to interpret the Bible, and you will save yourself a whole lot of trouble and confusion.
Plus, you’re far more likely to draw accurate conclusions about the message of Scripture.
That means your doctrine will be solid.
If that’s something you want, read on! 😉
Question the Bible.
In the last post in this Personal Bible Study Challenge, we talked about 5 questions to use for Bible study.
That’s a great starting place.
Read through your passage repeatedly.
Come up with as many questions as you can. Those questions will kickstart the process of truly understanding the Bible.
Then look for answers—in the Bible.
After you’ve come up with as many questions as you can, start looking for answers.
The best place to look for answers to your questions is in the Bible itself.
I know that sounds redundant. But it is SO helpful to take this approach!
The Bible is many small books, but it forms one cohesive message.
So if you’re struggling to understand one small part of it, another part can often cast light.
Start close by, and work outward.
Many times, the answer to your question will be close by.
So when you have a question about a certain verse or a passage, start by looking at the rest of the chapter.
Then look at the entire section (which may be several chapters).
Next, look through the whole book.
Then search through the entire testament.
And finally, consider the entire Bible. Think about any other passages you can think of that comment on the same topic.
That’s what it means to look at “context” for answers to your questions.
Look at the “close by” context first.
Then work in gradually expanding circles to find anything else in Scripture that’s relevant to your question.
The Bible is the best place to find your answers.
I’d say that 9 times out of 10, you can find an answer to your question elsewhere in Scripture.
And that is the safest place to find your answers.
If you find an answer in a commentary or another book, you have to consider whether the author was correct.
But if you find answers to your questions in another section of Scripture, you know that is an accurate source!
What about other sources?
I’m not saying that dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and other books are no help at all.
In fact, I love referring to those kinds of books for certain info and to double-check my own conclusions. I’ll tell you more about which books to use—and how to use them—in the next post in the Personal Bible Study Challenge.
But, honestly, if you do a good job searching & studying the Bible on your own, then you’ll often find that the other books simply tell you what you’ve already found. 😉
Look at the context to find answers to your questions.
Ready to give it a try? 🙂
Choose one of the questions from Ephesians 6:10-20 that you wrote down during the last part of the Personal Bible Study Challenge.
If you haven’t done that step yet, go back and do it first. Then choose a single question to work on.
Write that question in large letters at the top of a clean sheet of paper.
Now, work your way through the “expanding circle” of context.
- Look at all of Ephesians chapter 6.
- Look at the entire section (which stretches from Ephesians 4:1-6:24).
- Look at the whole book of Ephesians.
- Look at the New Testament.
- Look at the Bible as a whole.
When you find something that is relevant to your question, write it down (along with the reference so you can find it again later).
Answer your own Bible questions.
After you’ve worked your way through the entire set of sections listed above, take a moment to read through everything you’ve found on your paper.
Are there any repeated thoughts or themes? Anything that’s emphasized?
How could you summarize everything having to do with your question?
Now that you’ve looked at the context of Ephesians 6:10-20, see if you can answer your own question.
Write your answer in large letters at the bottom of your page.
Then get a fresh sheet of paper, choose a new question from your list, and find the answer to another question—and another—and another!
And happy studying! 🙂