THE INDISPENSABLE PRINCIPLE OF BIBLE STUDY
There are many principles that are helpful in the study of the Bible but there is only one indispensable principle of Bible study. Among the helps, we can name Bible commentaries, dictionaries, atlantes, sound critical texts of the original languages, lexicons, concordances, grammars, sermons on special passages, and the like. We are truly thankful to the Lord for the many aids He has given to assist earnest Bible students in their handling of the Word of God. However, there is only one indispensable principle of Bible study.
The indispensable principle of Bible study is a total reliance upon God"s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, who first inspired the Book, is the very One who must reveal Christ to the hungry heart through its pages. Academics alone will never reveal the precious treasures in God"s Word. No labor of mere research can discover the Lord to the heart. Only God can reveal God. The purpose of all Bible Study is to come to a heart-knowledge of the Lord through the Holy Spirit"s progressive unveiling of the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures.
The Bible, like the Lord Jesus, is both human and divine. We do not glorify ignorance! We clearly recognize the need to apply sound hermeneutical principles if we are to rightly interpret the human side; but we also recognize the need to come as dependent babes to the Holy Spirit if we ever hope to receive insight into the divine side. The revelation of the Lord is in His hands and He sows light spontaneously into the bosoms of the humble and needy. If all we get through our study is the human side, God have mercy on us! We will only become proud, for knowledge puffs up. We will end up with a chilling orthodoxy without a living Savior. Scriptural truth in the abstract, however profound and extensive, will leave the heart barren and the affections cold. We must behold the Living Word in the Written Word or all of our study is in vain. Christ Himself is the spirit and life of the Bible; He is the very essence and substance of sound doctrine.
Because of the great importance of the indispensable principle of Bible Study, and because of its sad neglect among very earnest students of the Scriptures, we are going to underscore this truth over and over again from many different portions of the Word of God. Hopefully, in a year"s time, we will have several dozen Bible illustrations of the principle and the enormous promises connected with it. May God teach us how to trust Him in our study of His Book!
Allow me to wrap up these comments by calling attention to several verses from the Bible. John 6:45 says, " It is written in the prophets, "AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD ." Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." If a heart is not "taught of God" it will never come to the Lord; if a heart is "taught of God" it will always come to Jesus. To come to Him in faith is the proper end of all Bible study. II Corinthians 4:6 says, " For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. " When we behold Him in His light we are transformed into His likeness. The changes that we experience by beholding Him are redemptive changes. Any change or reformation that comes into our lives in any other way than as the fruit produced by beholding Him is an unreal change and is destined to perish with all flesh. This is why we lay such tremendous stress on the indispensable principle.
The final verse I lay before you is part of the Apostle Paul"s prayer for the believers in Ephesus: Ephesians 1:15-18a " For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened." This is the prayer from all of us at Bible Study Ministries for you. May He unveil Himself to your heart in a living way, as you study the Scriptures under the guidance of the dear Holy Spirit.
"No lambkin by its shepherd borne;
No child clasped to mother"s heart;