Bible Study Guides – How to Understand the Bible

January 23, 2005 – January 29, 2005

Memory Verse:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26, RSV.

Suggested Reading: Selected Messages, Book 1, 15–23.

1 What claim does the Bible make about itself? 11 Timothy 3:16. See also 11 Peter 1:20, 21.

note: “God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world; bequeathed to them, that by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 16.

2 Why were God’s people in ancient times destroyed? Hosea 4:6. See also Isaiah 5:13.

note: “The words of God to ancient Israel have a solemn warning to the church and its leaders today. Of Israel the Lord said, ‘I have written to him the great things of My law; but they were counted as a strange thing.’ Hosea 8:12. And to the priests and teachers He declared, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee; . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.’ Hosea 4:6. . . .

“Will they [God’s people today] reject God’s word as the Jewish leaders rejected Christ? The result of Israel’s sin is before us. Will the church of today take warning?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 306.

3 How much of God’s Word is needed for real spiritual growth? Matthew 4:4. See also Deuteronomy 8:3.

note: “The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the word must be their source of power. Like their Master, they were to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4. . . .

“We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 390.

4 What did Jesus say was the basic theme of the Scriptures? John 5:39. See also Luke 24:44.

note: “In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ ‘give all the prophets witness.’ Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven’s glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ’s death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt.” The Desire of Ages, 211, 212.

5 What did Jesus call those who did not believe all that the Bible says? Luke 24:25. See also Matthew 22:29.

note: “The great themes of the Old Testament were misapprehended and misinterpreted, and Christ’s work was to expound the truth which had not been understood by those to whom they had been given. The prophets had made the statements, but the spiritual import of what they had written, was undiscovered by them. They did not see the meaning of the truth. Jesus reproved His disciples for their slowness of comprehension. Many of His precious lessons were lost to them, because they did not understand the spiritual grandeur of His words.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 404.

6 On what two points did Paul commend the Bereans? Acts 17:10, 11. See also 11 Timothy 2:15; 11 Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 8:20.

note: “The minds of the Bereans were not narrowed by prejudice. They were willing to investigate the truthfulness of the doctrines preached by the apostles. They studied the Bible, not from curiosity, but in order that they might learn what had been written concerning the promised Messiah. Daily they searched the inspired records, and as they compared scripture with scripture, heavenly angels were beside them, enlightening their minds and impressing their hearts.

“Wherever the truths of the gospel are proclaimed, those who honestly desire to do right are led to a diligent searching of the Scriptures. If, in the closing scenes of this earth’s history, those to whom testing truths are proclaimed would follow the example of the Bereans, searching the Scriptures daily, and comparing with God’s word the messages brought them, there would today be a large number loyal to the precepts of God’s law, where now there are comparatively few.” The Acts of the Apostles, 231, 232.

7 What is one condition that God sets forth for understanding the Bible? Matthew 11:25; Psalm 25:9. See also Isaiah 57:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 26–31.

note: “It was the experience gained during the years of toil and waiting in Midian—the spirit of humility and long-suffering there developed—that prepared Moses to meet with patience the unbelief and murmuring of the people and the pride and envy of those who should have been his unswerving helpers. Moses ‘was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth’ [Numbers 12:3], and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. They have a sincere desire to know and to do the will of God. The Saviour’s promise is, ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ John 7:17.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 384.

8 What is a second condition that God gives for understanding the Bible? 11 Timothy 2:15. See also Isaiah 28:9, 10; Luke 24:25–27, 44.

note: “The Holy Spirit is ever at work, seeking to purify, refine, and discipline the souls of men, in order that they may become fitted for the society of saints and angels. . . . As children of God, we should make earnest efforts to be overcomers; and as students who seek to honor and glorify God, we should study to show ourselves approved of Him, workmen that need not to be ashamed.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 238.

9 What is a third condition for understanding the Bible? 1 Corinthians 2:10–14; John 16:13.

note: “The office of the Holy Spirit is distinctly specified in the words of Christ: ‘When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ John 16:8. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin. If the sinner responds to the quickening influence of the Spirit, he will be brought to repentance and aroused to the importance of obeying the divine requirements.” The Acts of the Apostles, 52.

10 What is the fourth condition God sets forth for understanding the Bible? 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12. See also Romans 1:28; Hebrews 4:12.

note: “Those who are unwilling to accept the plain, cutting truths of the Bible are continually seeking for pleasing fables that will quiet the conscience. The less spiritual, self-denying, and humiliating the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are received. These persons degrade the intellectual powers to serve their carnal desires. Too wise in their own conceit to search the Scriptures with contrition of soul and earnest prayer for divine guidance, they have no shield from delusion. Satan is ready to supply the heart’s desire, and he palms off his deceptions in the place of truth. It was thus that the papacy gained its power over the minds of men; and by rejection of the truth because it involves a cross, Protestants are following the same path.” The Great Controversy, 523.

11 What is a fifth condition God gives for understanding the Bible? Jeremiah 29:13. See also Matthew 5:6; 13:45, 46.

note: “We are not at liberty to teach that which will reach the world’s standard, or the standard of the church, because it is the custom to do so! We are safe only when following the lessons of Jesus Christ. That which was safe for Him to teach, is safe for our children to study. Eternal life is before us, and do we not want our children to win the precious boon? But all who win eternal life, old or young, must put aside their likes and dislikes, and with simplicity of heart and profound humility they must search God’s Word. Those who are bold and domineering and full of self-sufficiency, will not search the Scriptures with an eye single to the glory of God; for they will seek to find something with which to vindicate their own ideas and sustain their own theories. There is a great deal of insubordination in the heart that is not fully sanctified.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 75, 76.

12 What is a sixth condition for understanding the Bible? John 8:31, 32. See also John 7:17; Matthew 13:12; 7:24–27.

note: “When we are truly Christ’s, our hearts will be full of meekness, gentleness, and kindness, because Jesus has forgiven our sins. As obedient children we shall receive and cherish the precepts he has given, and shall attend to the ordinances he has instituted. We shall be seeking constantly to obtain a knowledge of him. His example will be our rule of life.” Review and Herald, August 4, 1891.

Answer key available upon request.