Rules for Studying the Bible

The True Method of Searching the Scriptures

RULE I: We must be satisfied, before we can read the Scriptures understandingly or profitably, that our kind Father intended them for his erring children of earth.

RULE II: In reading the Bible, the study of words is not to be disregarded.

RULE III: We should read, not to prove a system, but to learn the truth.

RULE IV: We should read the Bible with the idea that God is his own interpreter, and he has made it plain.

RULE V: The different portions of the Scriptures should be read with direct reference to their legitimate connections.

RULE VI: In reading, attention should be given to the character of the persons addressed.

RULE VII: The proper division of the Bible should be constantly before the mind of the reader.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The True Method of Searching the Scriptures by Tolbert Fanning. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Reading the Bible with Uncertainty

The True Method of Searching the Scriptures

Years ago, in our travels, we spent a night at a town in a southern state and heard the following conversation with the lady who presided at the supper table. She was asked:

“Are you a member of any church?” The lady in a feeble voice replied, “No.” “Why are you not?” “I could not get religion.” “Did you try?” “Yes,” was the reply, “I tried several years, and when I saw many succeed so easily, I felt that there was none for me; and I have not prayed since.” “Do you read the Bible?” said the fair inquirer. “Not now,” said the woman, with a sad heart. “Why do you not read?” Said she, “I cannot understand the Bible; and when I saw, many years ago, that I could not understand the Scriptures, I quit reading.” The next question asked was; “What part of the Bible did you read, to learn how to become a Christian?” “Oh!” said the lady, “I was not particular; I found very pretty reading in Job, the Psalms, and more; I believe in Proverbs.”

The reader will discover that this honest yet deluded daughter of an old preacher was looking up and down the Scriptures hoping that she would, by chance, light upon some place that would show her how to “get religion.” Her friends knew not how to direct her and were, indeed, so shamefully ignorant that they could not inform her; religion is not something which people “get,” but a practice. James 1:26. She had no idea of the object of the books of the Old or New Testament, and presumed she would as likely learn how to become a Christian from the Proverbs of Solomon, the Psalms of David, or the distresses of poor, old, afflicted Job, as any part of the New Testament. Her father ought to have been able to teach her that the Old Testament was not written for the purpose of giving information in reference to becoming the disciples of Jesus Christ. Indeed, she ought to have known, that it was written long before Christ was born or Christianity was revealed; and that Job, David and Solomon, all died looking for better things, but were not permitted to see the rising of the Sun of righteousness with healings in his wings.

If we are not mistaken, thousands of sincere persons read the Bible with quite as much uncertainty as this good woman; and it is to them, so far as intelligence is concerned, a sealed book.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The True Method of Searching the Scriptures by Tolbert Fanning. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Ananias and Sapphira

Now Concerning the Collection

While the church in Jerusalem was doing an exceptional work, not all among them were completely sincere. Ananias and Sapphira, a husband and wife, basically did what the others were doing. They sold a piece of property and brought money from the sale to the apostles (Acts 5:1-2). What was different about their contribution compared with the others in the previous chapter was that they “kept back some of the price” (Acts 5:2).

While it is not directly stated, we know the couple gave part of the proceeds of the sale, while portraying it as being the whole amount. We know this because Peter condemned them for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). We also see that their property, before and after the sale, was in their control (Acts 5:4). They could choose to give some or all of it. There was no sin in keeping some of the profit from the sale. The sin was their deception as they tried to make it look like they gave the entire amount they had received.

In reality, the only reason for them to do this would be for the appearance it gave to others. As we conclude from Peter’s statement, the money was in their control; therefore, they could keep back as much as they wanted. But they tried to make themselves appear to be as generous and caring as the other Christians like Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37).

We need to remember that what we give is personal. It is our decision and does not concern anyone else. Jesus spoke of the hypocrites who would give publicly “so that they may be honored by men” (Matthew 6:2). He then added, “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” They wanted the praise of men. They got it, but that was all the reward they would receive. In contrast, our giving should be done in such a way that we could nearly say that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3). When we give “in secret,” that is, give without seeking the praise of men, our “Father who sees what is done in secret will reward” us (Matthew 6:4). Our giving reflects a personal decision that we have made. We ought not desire to make it public.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Now Concerning the Collection: A Study of Giving. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Cain and Abel

Cain thought the first fruits of the soil a suitable offering, but God rejected both him and his offering, and he became a murderer and a vagabond.

Abel followed the law of God without interposing his own opinion and though slain, yet he lives and speaks in warning to the people of all ages, and of all kindred and countries, warning them, that it is salvation to turn from and reject human opinions and to walk in God’s appointments, even though it brings death. Even when man’s inventions bring present prosperity and triumph, it still is ruin, sure and eternal, to use them in religious service.

Cain and Abel plainly teach that an humble walk in God’s ways, free from the introduction of man’s opinions, even though it brings death, is infinitely preferable to following the opinion of men, though it brings present success and gives earthly power.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Christian Unity: How Promoted, How Destroyed, Faith and Opinion by David Lipscomb. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Fiendish Deeds of Alcohol

Rum and Ruin: A Collection of Writings on the Issue of Alcohol

by L. F. Bittle (1833-1905)

There guarded by our license laws,
With Appetite to plead his cause,
The Alcoholic Demon reigns,
And in his retinue retains.

The hydra dire of vice and crime,
And, with an imprudence malign,
Enthrones himself in church and state,
And rules the little and the great.

Untrammeled in his evil ways,
Upon the nation’s life he preys,
Degrades the lofty, stains the pure,
And robs the wealthy and the poor.

Arouses hatred, kindles strife,
And makes the land with murder rife,
Each pauper house and prison fills,
The innocent assails and kills,
Breaks woman’s heart with purpose fell,
And dooms his devotees to hell!

His horrors our official view,
And all permit for revenue,—
Permit, encourage, sanction all,
The fiendish deeds of Alcohol,
That they may fill the public purse,
With taxes from a nation’s curse.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Rum and Ruin: A Collection of Writings on the Issue of Alcohol. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!