Vol.II No.III Pg.5
April 1965

Use Your Bible---

Robert F. Turner

Instead of our Bible outline, this month's USE YOUR BIBLE page will contain some simple suggestions for better understanding of the Bible. We plan three or four articles per year on HOW TO STUDY, and such like.


Books of the Bible are just that -- independently written, by different authors, and written over a period of 1,600 years. The convenience, and propriety, of combining all into one volume is sometimes overshadowed by the mistaken conception a casual reader may have.

For the most part, the books are not chronologically arranged; i.e., the events of Romans did not follow in time, the events of Acts. One cannot read "straight through" and get a connected account. Each book must be separately studied, just as you would study books in a library.

The design or purpose of books differ. Some are historical, some are written much as a thesis on some vital subject, some are collections of hymns of praise, some are personal letters -- whose value lies in the application of principles to like circumstances in our present day. NONE are mystical symbols, to be used as tea leaves for "fortune telling." Although figurative language is used, as in our normal conversations, its meaning must be determined by context and not by the reader's "feelings."

Regard each book as a separate volume upon your shelf. Before you begin to draw conclusions, determine the writer, to whom written, time and circumstances (when and why?) as these may affect meaning of content.


Preparation for serious study is within the grasp of the ordinary reader. Note the general placement of the book (Old or New Testament) and then read the first few paragraphs. Many books contain their own introduction. If your Bible has center reference (the scripture citations coordinated with the text by numbers or letters) read all that pertain to names of people and places. (Skip other reference in initial study.) Use maps in back of your Bible to locate places.

Now, using large print text, read whole book completely through. Most N. T. books are short, and this can be done easily at a single reading. If the book is very long, read large sections at a time. Read rapidly, not stopping to study a particular verse. Purpose of this first reading is to acquaint yourself with general context and subject matter.

This may seem extreme; but actually you should read through two or three times -- or until you begin to see the book as a whole, and can note its natural divisions and subjects. Only then should you try to study a particular verse, or come to some conclusion about some teaching.

A Bible dictionary is extremely helpful, and later you may want a concordance. But nothing can take the place of reading and meditation upon the text itself. Why not start today?