How to Read and Understand the Bible

Is it possible to understand the Bible? The answer to this often asked question is, Yes! This book gives some “keys” or guidelines which will help the reader better understand God’s Word, and then demonstrates the use of these keys in a basic dispensational study through the Scriptures. The book takes the reader step-by-step through how to read and understand the Bible. (181 pp.)

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction Why is there so little agreement among people about what the Bible teaches? Though the Bible is still the most widely distributed book in the world, it is also the most misunderstood. Is it really that difficult to understand the Bible? Why would God provide a book for us, and yet make it so difficult ...
  2. Why Study the Bible? Why is it important that we study the Bible? Unlike all other books, which are merely the words of men, the Bible is The Word of God It is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The expression “given by inspiration of God” is a single ...
  3. Someone to Show the Way “Behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority … who had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and overtake this chariot. So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, ...
  4. The Key to Understanding Following His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returned to the city of Nazareth, where He had been brought up. He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day and stood up to read. He was handed the book of Isaiah and He read from what we know as Isaiah chapter 61, verse 1 and the ...
  5. Dispensational Bible Study Many people don’t like the expression “dispensational” Bible study, but the fact is that the word “dispensation” is a Biblical word. We read in Ephesians 1:10 of “the dispensation of the fullness of times” and in Ephesians 3:2 of “the dispensation of the grace of God.” The Greek word that is translated “dispensation” is “oikonomia.” It consists of two different ...
  6. The Theme of the Bible Why does God take only 2 chapters to describe the creation of the heavens and the earth, and then devote 50 chapters to the description of the tabernacle? Why does God spend only 9 verses reviewing approximately 1500 years of history (Gen. 4:16-24) and then use 14 chapters (Gen. 37-50) to detail the life of ...
  7. God’s Perfect Creation “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) God’s Word begins with this simple statement, but what a wealth of truth is taught in this verse! It teaches us that God is eternal. In the beginning, God already existed. He brought into existence the heavens and the earth and all the host ...
  8. God’s Creation Marred by Sin The Scriptures teach that, in the beginning, God created all things, and that He created all things perfect (Gen. 1:26). His creation included the material universe, plant life, animal life, human beings, and even angelic beings. Yes, even Satan himself was originally created perfect in all his ways (Ezek. 28:12-15). Scriptures also teach that God’s perfect ...
  9. Enmity Against the Promised Seed “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15) This verse not only promised the coming of mankind’s Redeemer, but it also foretold the enmity (i.e. enemy relationship) and struggle that would occur throughout history ...
  10. A Worldwide Flood In order to protect and preserve the seed of the woman, God required that there be purity in the bloodline which began with Seth. This requirement became the area of Satan’s next attack upon the promised Seed. In Genesis 6 we find Satan’s attempt to corrupt the seed. “Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply ...
  11. The Tower of Babel Satan didn’t waste any time in making his third attack upon the Seed of the woman. Ham, one of Noah’s sons, showed total disrespect for Noah and for his faith in God by committing a shameful sin against him (Gen. 9:20-27). It was through the lineage of Ham that Satan initiated his attempt to turn ...
  12. A Nation Set Apart for God One of the questions that people often ask about the Bible is, “Why did God choose the nation of Israel to be His special people?” Up until Genesis chapter 12, we find God dealing with mankind as a whole. What led God to select one man, Abraham, from the midst of many nations, to be ...
  13. The Promised Seed Through Israel When God called Abram out from among the Gentile nations to be the father of a new nation, Israel, He made many promises to Abram (Gen. 12:1-8). This call and these promises marked a significant change in God’s dealings with mankind, hence, we mark this as the beginning of a new dispensation; that of PROMISE. ...
  14. The Law Preparation for the Law It is interesting to find that 14 chapters of the book of Genesis, chapters 37 through 50, deal with Jacob’s son, Joseph. It is interesting because Joseph was not the son/tribe through which the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Seed, was to come. Why then all this attention to Joseph? Primarily for ...
  15. The New Testament? Most people see only two divisions of the Bible: the Old Testament, which is viewed primarily for Israel, and the New Testament, which is viewed primarily for the Church. This viewpoint demonstrates a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Dividing the Scriptures into only two dispensations is insufficient, and dividing ...
  16. The Gospels Period If the birth of Jesus did not mark the beginning of a new “covenant” or a new program of God, then what was God doing during the period of time covered by the four gospels (Matthew – John)? What was the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ all about? The apostle Paul sums up the ...
  17. Jesus’ Earthly Teachings How do we view Jesus’ teachings while He was here on earth? Are they for us today? Certainly we believe that all Scripture is profitable for our study (II Tim. 3:16), but were Jesus’ instructions to His disciples and to the people of His day also intended for believers during this present age of grace? We ...
  18. The Cross of Christ As we come to the close of the four gospel accounts in the New Testament, we find recorded the single greatest event of all time; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the key event upon which all of God’s plans and purposes for all people of all dispensations hinges. The cross of ...
  19. Acts — A Time of Transition The book of Acts is one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible. Many sincere Bible students believe that it records the beginning of the church, the body of Christ. The primary reasons for this belief are that (1) the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked a significant change in God’s dealings with ...
  20. Peter’s Ministry to the Jew Only “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea …” (Acts 1:8) Following the ascension of the Lord Jesus, the apostles waited in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:12-14). As they waited, they followed the leadership of the Lord to select Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot as the ...
  21. Transition from Peter to Paul The stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter 7 marked a significant turning point in God’s plan and purpose. Although we don’t see a major change take place immediately (i.e. from the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 to the beginning of Paul’s public ministry in Acts 13 is about 14 years), several events occur which signal a transition from ...
  22. Nature of Paul’s Acts Ministry In Acts 13, we find Paul and Barnabas separated by the Holy Spirit to begin a ministry that would eventually carry Paul to the “uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). What was the nature of Paul’s ministry, as recorded in the book of Acts? The first recorded events provide the pattern for his entire Acts period ...
  23. Paul Turns to the Gentiles In the previous chapter we saw how the first recorded miracle performed by the apostle Paul demonstrated the nature of Paul’s Acts period ministry: to preach to the Jew first, and as they rejected the Word of God, to pronounce blindness upon the Jew, and then to turn to the Gentile with the message of ...
  24. Israel is Set Aside “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have ...
  25. The Mystery of Christ “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” With these words the apostle Paul, while imprisoned in Rome, pronounced blindness upon the nation of Israel for the final time. From his prison house in Rome, Paul then began, in a number ...
  26. The Two Main Divisions of Scripture As we stated earlier in the chapter on the New Testament, most people believe that the two main divisions of the Bible are the Old and New Testaments. Actually there are two main divisions of the Bible: prophecy and mystery. These two divisions are depicted in the following chart. Prophecy “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired ...
  27. The Rapture of the Church The dispensation of the grace of God (Eph. 3:2), which we are presently living in, will be brought to a close by what is commonly referred to as the rapture of the church. Although the term “rapture” is not found in Scripture, it is an appropriate word to describe the coming of the Lord for ...
  28. The Judgment Seat of Christ Many people have the mistaken idea that there will be one great day of judgment in which all people will stand before God to be judged for their lives here on earth. The Scriptures speak of many different judgments, at different times, for different groups of people. The judgment that concerns us, as members of the ...
  29. The Tribulation Period Toward the end of Daniel’s life, he received a vision from the Lord that seventy weeks or “sevens”(490 years) had been determined, or “marked out” for the people of Israel and for the holy city, Jerusalem. These seventy weeks determined how God would fulfill His future plans and purposes for His chosen people, Israel. The ...
  30. The Second Coming of Christ The great tribulation period will be brought to a close by the second coming of Christ. While seated on the Mount of Olives, Jesus told His disciples that, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the ...
  31. The Millennial Kingdom There are many divergent views on the kingdom. Some believe it is a spiritual kingdom, not a literal, physical kingdom to be established on earth. Others believe that the kingdom will be ushered in when the church successfully converts the world to Christianity. What do the Scriptures teach? To understand this subject we must view ...
  32. Satan’s Final Rebellion The Scriptures declare that one day the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth to judge and to make war (Rev. 19:11-21). He will defeat the forces of the Beast and the False Prophet and will establish His kingdom upon this earth for a thousand years. During this time, the Devil, who is also ...
  33. God’s Final Judgments Following the Millennial Kingdom, Satan, who will be bound during the thousand year reign of Christ, will be loosed and will lead a final rebellion against God and His people. As soon as Satan’s army surrounds Jerusalem, God will rain down fire from heaven and devour them (Rev. 20:7-9). Satan’s Final Judgment Satan will then experience the ...
  34. The Eternal State New Heavens and New Earth We read in Genesis 6 how God destroyed “the world that then existed” (II Pet. 3:6) with a global flood. The reason for this cataclysmic judgment was because “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only ...
  35. Conclusion We have come to the end of our studies, though by no means to the end of our study of God’s Word. We have seen the manifold wisdom of God unfolded through the pages of Scripture; His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:10-11). We have only scratched the surface ...