How to Study the Scriptures
By Brian Pepper
There was a very poor Russian family that had been reduced
not only to the breadline but to starvation after the great
war. We can hardly imagine the terrible conditions that
prevailed at that time. This Russian family had reached the
stage where they were down to the last ounce of bread and
all they possessed was sixpence. They badly wanted a Bible.
Somehow they felt that if they could get a Bible their
troubles would be over. It was a question of 'bread' or the
'Bible'. It was a hard choice. The father put it to the
mother. The mother looked at the children. How desperately
they needed food. But sixpence even in those days would not
go far. The choice was made. The decision was to buy a
Bible. What happened to those poor folk we do not know, but
I am sure that we will find out one day in the Glory Land.
In a land like Australia it is a disgrace for anybody not to
know the Bible. If you cannot afford to buy one the British
and Foreign Bible Society will give you one free of charge.
So there is no reason why every person should not have a
Bible to study it and find out the things of eternal
2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth."
We are told to study the Bible in order to know the
difference between truth and error. St Paul gives a further
2 Timothy 3, verse 7, "Ever learning, and
never able to come to a knowledge of the truth."
It is a great tragedy when people go on reading the Bible
and never coming to the Truth. You see, it is possible to
read your Bible and yet not find the Truth. Or, if you do
find the Truth, not to keep that Truth.
Now if you are one of those people who have found the Truth,
you are sure that this is the Truth, and yet you don't keep
that Truth, then I can assure you that the Bible says you
won't be going into the Kingdom.
Isaiah 26:2 says, "Open ye the gates, that the righteous
nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."
So you can see very clearly from this that in order to be
among the saved you need to be keeping the Truth. And we
need to know the Truth.
2 Peter 3:16 says, "As also in all his epistles, speaking
in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be
understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable
wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own
The Bible warns against those who wrest the Scriptures. That
is what the Devil did in the temptation of Jesus in the
So you can see that there are some people who study the
Bible or would it be better to say that they mis-study the
Bible, because they try to make the Bible say what they want
it to say.
Key to understanding the Truth
Well how can we find the key that unlocks the precious Old
1 Corinthians 2:13,14 says, "Which things also we
speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but
which the Holy Ghost teacheth comparing spiritual things
with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things
of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
St Paul tells us that we do not need great wisdom in order
to understand the Bible. It is the Spirit that teaches us.
Some folk say "I am not very clear about the Bible", or "I
find the Bible hard to understand." Why, we are told that
the natural man receiveth not the things of God. You just
cannot understand the Bible without the help of the Holy
The Bible comes to us from the Spirit of God. It was the
Spirit of God who dictated those words.
For instance if I were a businessman and employed a
stenographer. Well I dictate letters to my stenographer and
she types them out for me. Tell me, whose words are they,
miner or hers?" They are mine. She does not put in her words
at all. So God dictated those words and men wrote them down,
so actually friends these words are not the words of man but
they are the words of the Spirit of God. Isn't that so?
Spiritual things are Spiritually Discerned
Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.
John 16:13 says,
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will
guide you into all Truth..."
We should always open the Bible with prayer so that God will
give us understanding.
John 7:17 says, "If any man will
do His will he shall know of the doctrine."
I want to say right here that many folk never come to
understand the doctrines because they close the Bible by
their attitude to it. Many people read the Bible but they
cannot understand it because they are not willing to obey
Jesus said, If a man is willing to obey God's will then God
will open it to them. But the moment you refuse to obey God,
immediately you close the Bible and that is the reason why
millions of professed Christians in the world today scarcely
know that the Bible has two covers, for they are not willing
to obey it.
But God said if you are willing to obey it then He will
reveal it to use. And this is how He does it. By letting one
part of the Bible explain another. I am going to give you an
example of how we can arrive at truth.
Linking Scriptural Texts
Daniel 8:16 says, "And I heard a man's voice between the
banks of Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, make this man
to understand the vision."
God is speaking and He tells of a being by the name of
Gabriel, who was to make Daniel to understand the Book.
Who was Gabriel? Well let us compare this text with
Luke 1:26 says, "And in the sixth month the angel
Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named
You see when we link these two texts we find that Gabriel is
an angel. There is no need to speculate about that. By
following and guiding of the Spirit we can come to a
knowledge of all truth.
Studying the Second Coming
Now notice as we build up a study on the 2nd Coming, see how
it is done. And now we will take this text,
1 Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself
shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in
Christ shall rise first."
We are told here that the LORD will shout. Now what will He
shout? We could speculate all things. But if we turn to
5:28 we are told Why He will shout. "Marvel not at this:
for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the
graves shall hear His voice."
Christ gives a mighty shout to awaken the dead. And we are
told that the Dead hear His voice.
Now what is it that Christ says to the Dead?
says, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust..."
Here we are told the very words that Christ will utter on
that great and dreadful day.
So you see
1 Thessalonians 4 tells us that Jesus is going to
Shout. John 5 says that the Shout will awaken the dead.
Isaiah gives the very words He utters. And now the psalmist
Psalm 50:3 says, "Our God shall come and shall
not keep silence...".
There are some people who say He will be silent when He
comes again, but the Scripture does not say that, "Our
God shall come and shall not keep silence."
says, "He shall call to the heavens from above, and to
the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather my saints
together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by
Building up the Full Story
And so you see how that you can on and on build up a
wonderful picture of the coming of Christ. In just these few
texts you have the full story.
Using the blackboard to amplify these texts:
1. Jesus is going to Shout.
2. That Shout will awaken the dead.
3. The actual words He utters.
4. Jesus shall not keep silence.
5. His instruction to the Angels.
You see God's method of Bible Study is to take a whole
series of texts and then you have a watertight case. You are
comparing Scripture with Scripture, Spiritual things with
Chariots of God
Here is another example.
Isaiah 66:15 says, "For, behold, the LORD will
come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to
render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames of
The LORD will come with His chariots! You could speculate
for weeks about this one. What are the chariots of God? Turn
Psalm 68:17, "The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in
Sinai in the holy place."
The Bible tells us that the chariots of the LORD are great
companies of angels. There is no need to speculate over what
the chariots mean. This is how you arrive at the Truth. Then
you won't have Mr Pepper's interpretation of the Bible. In
this way you do not have a Baptist interpretation, or a
Methodist or Adventist interpretation, but God's own
interpretation. Now isn't that so? You will find that all
through the Bible, that you are comparing spiritual things
Importance of Doctrines
Well, how can we gain a True knowledge of the Bible?
28:9 says, "Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall
He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from
the milk, and drawn from the breasts."
The Doctrines are the great teachings of the Bible. There
are some people who say "We don't want the doctrines of the
Bible." The talk about the doctrines as if they were
something dry and of little use.
I want to tell you friends, the Doctrines are the only
things worth teaching. If you don't preach the doctrines you
only preach froth and bubble.
Now note the next verse,
Isaiah 28:10 "For precept must be
upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line
upon line; here a little, and there a little.."
The great teachings of the Bible are the doctrines. You see
some Christians never advance any further than
But we are told to grow in the Scriptures. It would be a
terrible thing if a baby decided to cling to its bottle and
not to start eating solids.
Our little girl used to love her bottle along with her doll.
It was the dearest possession she had, but that bottle had
to go. And so it is with a Christian. They will have to move
on from the milk stage to the solid food of the great
Why, the doctrines show the Love of God. We are told in John
3:16 that God love the world. But as we take the further
step of deeper study we find just the great depth of God's
love. And we study bit by bit. A little at each time until
we really know our Bibles. And I tell you that you will have
to know your Bibles very well in order not to be deceived in
these last days.
How Jesus Studied the Bible
I could preach any heresy imaginable from one text. We best
need to study the way that Jesus studied.
Luke 24:27 says,
"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He
expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things
Did you notice that Jesus began at Moses. Now who was Moses?
Why, he was the first writer in the Bible. The first Five
Books were written by Moses. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers and Deuteronomy. In the Hungarian Bible you have 1st
Book of Moses and so on.
How many Christians today would begin with the Books of
Moses? Why, it is a strange thing but most so called
Christians today do not even believe in the Books of Moses.
They don't believe in Creation as given in Genesis, or the
true Sabbath as given in Genesis, the record of the flood,
and many other things. And yet we are told that Jesus began
with Moses, and then He quoted from the Prophets.
All Scripture is Inspired
I would say that we have to be very careful of preachers
that cut out portions of the Old Testament. I personally
would not have any confidence in them at all, for the Old
Testament was the Bible that Jesus used. And how a man can
reject something that Jesus believed in and at the same time
call himself a Christian, that is something that I cannot
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, "All scripture is
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
We must take All of the Scripture, not just what we think is
suitable. Yes, it is all inspired, not just portions of it.
In the next verse it says, "That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The study of the Complete Bible makes a man perfect. It
gives him a complete understanding of the will of God. Yes,
what we need is to study the Word of God. The sweetest joys
that can come to a man's soul is the study and understanding
of the Bible.
Private Interpretation of Scripture
2 Peter 1:20 says, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy
of the scripture is of any private interpretation."
St Peter tells us that you can't put your own interpretation
on Scripture, it is not to be done. That is the trouble in
the Christian world today. Men are using the very method
that God said is the wrong way to study.
A little girl said to her Sunday school teacher, "If the
Bible doesn't say what it means, then why doesn't it mean
what it says?" And that is just what so many people are
saying today. Because men have put their own interpretation
on the Bible teachings, people say the Bible contradicts
itself, or you can't really believe what the Bible says. It
is a great tragedy. Christians who do this should hang their
heads in shame and in disgrace, for they have made the Word
of God of no avail.
How to find texts in your Study
Well the big question is "How do you find the texts that you
need to help you in your study?" One way is in your marginal
references. These can be helpful but at times they can be
misleading. Then of course you can take a concordance that
will give you the various words right from the Bible, and
you can trace them through.
Then there are the books that we sell or loan down on the
Book table. There are a number of little books available to
help you in Bible study. The Bible Handbook by Haskel is
very hard to beat. Also Shuler's Help to Bible Study. These
books take all the texts and group them all together. Also
in the back of your Bibles you will find Special helps to
Blessings from Bible Study
There is nothing like daily Bible study. Take a subject and
follow it through so that you will really know it. And as
you do this you will be truly blessed.
The Bible is to be our guide to Heaven. You will find that
it will change your home. All the bickering, all those
smarting little troubles will vanish like a cloud. As you
study the Bible you will find that the Holy Spirit is a
personal matter, you can't get it from the minister. It is
only as you open your heart to God and study your Bible that
the Spirit will take control of your life.
Bibles may be taken away
Then there is that terrible threat that one day soon we
cannot be sure when, our Bibles will be taken away.
Amos 8:11,12 says, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord
God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of
bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of
the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from
the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to
seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."
While it is still time, while we have the opportunity, let
us make the very best of the good Old Book.
Inconvenient Truths in the
In your study of the Bible you will find some things that
are very awkward. You are asked to do something that you
won't want to do.
I read about a wayward son who ran away from home and he was
gone for years. He came home just in time to be at his
father's funeral and to hear the will read. Everybody was
surprised when the will went into detail about the lad and
his waywardness. The young man was angry and he stormed out
of the room. Nothing was heard of him for several years
until one day he met an old friend and this friend told him
that while the father had outlined his wayward career, he
went on to say that he had forgiven the lad and left him a
large sum of money. What a pity the boy had not waited for
just a few more moments and heard the rest.
So friends, when you come to the Word of God and you find
some things that are not very pleasant, for instance you
will read that "the wages of sin is death." Don't stop
halfway through the verse. Just go right on, be willing to
obey God and He will lead you into the full light of His
Let us pray, "Our Lord and heavenly Father. We thank Thee
tonight for the study of Thy precious Word. We thank Thee,
Lord for giving us this Book. Teach us Lord to appreciate
it, to love it, and to read it day by day. Dear Lord, as we
bow our heads here this evening, we are determined to read
Thy Word and to follow it.