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!

NEW RELEASE: The True Method of Searching the Scriptures

We would like to announce our newest title – The True Method of Searching the Scriptures by Tolbert Fanning – is now available.

The True Method of Searching the Scriptures (cover)Tolbert Fanning (1810-1874) was one of the early figures in the Restoration Movement and had a strong impact on brethren in the South. He began preaching early in his life and at one point traveled with Alexander Campbell, preaching through Ohio, Canada, and New England. He established Franklin College near Nashville and co-founded the Gospel Advocate, a journal that continues to be published today.

In The True Method of Searching the Scriptures, Fanning explained how the Bible teaches us about God, offered several rules for studying, and outlined the various divisions contained in the Scriptures. It was meant to provide a basic foundation for one learning how to read and understand the word of God. It remains a valuable resource today.

Download a sample of the book!

Read more about the book and purchase your copy today!


This is the twentieth release in our Ancient Landmarks Collection. This collection is made up of materials that have been produced by those associated with the Restoration Movement. More titles will be added to this collection in the future. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of new releases.