The apostle Paul commanded us to study the bible, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Yet, how to we rightly divide or accurately handling the word of God? Most think that they can read from Genesis to Revelation and once concluded they will find the truth. If this were true there would be no denominations. If this were true there would not be any atheists in the world (They read the bible too). So, how should you study the bible in order to find the truth?
In order to find the truth you have to understand that the bible is divided into the old and new testament. A testament is a covenant made between God and man. In the old testament, God made a covenant between himself and Israel. In the new testament, God made a covenant with the entire world, both Jew and Gentile alike. The old covenant ended when Christ died on the cross, was buried, and arose from the dead (Rom 10:4). Christ nailed the old covenant to his cross, thereby making the new covenant in effect (Eph 2:14-16 f; Col 2:14).
Knowing this, one can read the old testament. After all, the old testament verifies that Jesus is the Christ (Isa 53). It prophesies of his coming to take away the sins of he world (Jer 31:34 f; Jn 1:29). In reading the old testament, one learns not to make the mistakes Israel made with God (1 Cor 10:11). In reading the old testament one can learn not to add to or take from God’s Word (Deut 4:2).
Once the old testament has been exhausted, then one can turn to the new testament in search of salvation. In the gospels you will find the life and death of Christ. You will find the acts of the apostles and how they preached the gospel unto all the world and established the church. You will discover the gospel of Christ and what one must do in order to be saved (Rom 10:17 ff; Rom 10:9,10; Acts 2:38; Rev 2:10). You will learn what happens if we fail to obey the gospel of Christ (Mk 16:15,16 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9).
You will find in the letters of Paul to the churches how to conduct yourself in the house of God (in Spirit and in truth) (Jn 4:23,24 f; 1 Tim 3:15). How to sing without the use of instrumental music (Eph 5:19). How to remember the Lord’s death (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor 11:24-26). How to give of your means for the needy saints and the preaching of the gospel (1 Cor 16:1-3). Women will learn how to conduct themselves in the churches in silence (1 Cor 14:33-40 f; 1 Tim 2:11-15). You will find that the church is governed by qualified elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13). You will discover in the book of Peter to speak the oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11). In Paul’s writing we are to learn not to go beyond the things which are written and John’s warnings if we don’t (Rev 22:18,19).
There is much to be learned in the reading of the bible (1 Tim 4:13). “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev 1:3). In fact, no matter how old you get, if you search diligently for it , you find something new in the bible most every day. So, by all means, read your bible, study it from cover to cover. However, remember the bible has two parts, the old and new. The old is for our learning and the new is for our obedience (Rom 15:4).