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The goal of this section is to present some general guidelines on "how to read the 'Best Book'" but you will find the principles applicable to anything you are reading.
The Bible is unlike any other book for it is essentially a "love letter" from God to mankind. You have probably received a letter from your sweetheart when you were dating or courting. You kept checking the mailbox to see if the mail had arrived.
How, why, when a word was spoken or an act done, helps to explain it, is its local coloring.
The Bible is not men's truth but God's special revelation of Truth. All of us in reading some current book have wished the author were present to answer and explain some things, but this is rarely possible.
We must always begin by conversing with the Author, beseeching Him to open the eyes of our heart to see, understand (put together the pieces so to speak) and illuminate His supernatural "love letter" to us (see Col 1:9, 10, 11f-notes, Ps 15-note, Ep - note; Ep , 19-note). Amazing as it seems, this is possible when reading the Bible." Spurgeon comments: Open thou mine eyes.
To help facilitate this goal of knowing God better (John 17:3) and growing more like his Son (2Peter -note), be alert for the "periodic pit stops" which we call - these junctures will give you an opportunity to practice what you are reading and this in turn will help you to "internalize" what you are reading and will increase your retention and your confidence to apply these techniques in your daily time with God in His Word.
As you become more comfortable with these techniques, you will increasingly experience the joy of self discovery of precious nuggets of Truth.
Do you remember how you responded when you received that letter? And when it did come, you blocked out everything, opened the envelope and devoured every word, every nuance, every innuendo, as you read the letter from your beloved..you read it not just once but over and over and over.
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You permitted nothing to interfere with reading the letter from beginning to end.The phone might have rung, but you paid little attention to the ringing.You were far more focused on observing and interpreting what the the love of your life had written.Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. I shake the Bible as a whole , like shaking the whole tree () A T Pierson a well known 19th century preacher once wrote this comment regarding a passage he was studying When I read this passage for the 100th time, the following idea came to me....(Regarding Context, Pierson said) As in any organism, no member or part, however minute, can be fully understood aside from its relation to the whole; so, in Scripture, every paragraph and sentence is part of its totality, and must be studied in relation to all the rest.Observation describes the act of taking notice, fixing the mind upon, beholding with attention and as used in science includes the idea of making and recording one's findings, a skill certainly applicable to fruitful inductive study of the Scriptures.Observation is not just seeing but perceiving what one sees, so that one becomes mentally aware of what one observes.Observation is the means by which the data (Ed: Don't let that word "data" discourage you - observation should never become a mechanical, pedantic exercise, but should always be like a much anticipated journey which eventually leads to the matchless joy of discovering for yourself what God has said in a particular passage of the Bible) of a passage becomes part of the mentality of the student. Zondervan) You may be surprised and maybe even a bit insulted by the suggestion that most of us have never really been taught how to read a book, much less a divinely inspired book.It supplies the raw materials upon which the mind may operate in the interpretative process (Ed: As led by the Holy Spirit - Jn , 1Jn ). (Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book is a recommended secular work and makes for fascinating reading on this topic).Is not this the approach we should take to "the letter" called the Bible written by the One Who "demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Ro 5:8-note)?(aorist imperative) the deeds you did at first or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent." (Re 2:4-note; Re 2:5-note) TWO PREREQUISITES - For Productive Inductive Bible Study Martin Luther whom God used to return His church to a Sola Scriptura approach (only the Scriptures) which birthed the Reformation, described what in essence is an inductive approach to Bible study when he said... First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest might fall .