Author: Kenneth M. Hoeck

“…. they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Bible Study. Can the bible be ‘studied’ like any other book or subject? Can anyone correctly interpret its verses? How does one endeavor to properly divide the truth from the error? Is the bible free to be interpreted a myriad of ways as long as you believe?

The scriptures, or God-inspired writings, are extremely valuable to a Believer. Through the words of the bible the most simple of believers can gain truth and understanding that confounds the scholarly men of the world. The words of God cannot all be fully understood by people who do not have God’s holy spirit. No matter how much education in grammar and structure of the original languages; no matter how much time spent on hermeneutics or apologetics; no matter how much research done on prophecy; and no matter how many years spent studying in the most prestigious theological schools – without the power of God - the interpretation of any scripture is from a personal view and not necessarily His truth. Those “of the world” who handle the Word treat it carnally – as a physical worldly bundle of books. Sometimes the bible can even be misunderstood by: those who have the spirit but temporarily forget that the words are spirit, or those who are not exercised in discernment, or those who face some other spiritual hurdle at the time. The bible is a physical text but its depth and true character are fully spiritual. Therefore, the words and intent must be discerned spiritually.


The scriptures testify of the Savior Jesus Christ. John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  It is Jesus the Christ that is the true Living Word. The text of the Torah, the Psalms, the Prophets, and also the testimony of the disciples of Christ indeed speak of Him. He is “The Word.”  John 1:1-5  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 4:12-14  For the word [The Word] of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

1 John 1:1-3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:11-13  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.



The English word "Bible" is the equivalent of the Greek word “biblia”(from biblos, the inner bark of the papyrus), meaning originally "books." The Old Testament is written mostly in Hebrew. There are parts of the Old Testament not in Hebrew, namely, Ezr 5:16-7:28; 7:12-26; Jer 10:11; Da 2:36-9:5, which are in Aramaic (called Chaldee) which, post-Exile, slowly displaced Hebrew as the spoken language of those in Judea. The New Testament is written most wholly in Greek with minor Aramaic inclusions.

When originally gathered together The Old Testament consisted of 22 books which are now broken up into 39 books in most modern bibles. The entire bible is then 49 books in its original compilation and 66 books in the modern binding.  Although often times broken into paragraphs and sections by the Jews, Christians of the 13th century saw the books officially broken into chapters and by the year 1551 into numbered verses.

Psalms 119:140  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

As you can understand, the word of God is more than characters of language imprinted on the pages of a book. The word is spiritual – just as Christ is spirit. The man who can handle the word without deceit is one who is obedient to the spirit. The spirit of the words is from God and not from men. The power of the spirit is how men can truly gain knowledge and wisdom from heaven.  Do not quench the spirit during study.  Do not neglect prayer for what you seek.

Proverbs 30:5-6  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.


Sure ways for Believers to miss the mark in studying the Scriptures.

Sure ways for Believers to accurately hit the mark in studying the Scriptures.

a) Don’t Seek Truth  -

Love a lie better than the truth.  

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12  And with all deceivableness ofunrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  

Jeremiah 9:3  And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. 

Be like those of whom Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

a) Seek Truth  -

Love seeks not its own.  Love the truth rather than seeking to find a conclusion that suits you or your own interpretation. In the story of the woman and the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), great effort was made to find what was lost. Christ promises us that if we will make the effort to seek, we will find what we need. 

Luke 11:9-10  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

When studying God's word, we should be seeking the truth which comes through Jesus Christ not men.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This requires an open mind that is ready and willing to accept and do what we find God wants from us (I John 2:4)

b) Don’t Ask (or Ask for the wrong reasons)

Forget who gives understanding. Try to do it on your own or seek knowledge from sources other than God. Ask in selfishness or to fill your own desires. 

James 4:2-3  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 

Acts 8:21  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Proverbs 1:28-30  Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

b) Ask Heaven in Faith

James 1:5-6   If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

And remember  John 16:23-25  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 

Luke 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Jesus said that He is The Truth. (John 14:6). We must love the truth. Seek the truth like a treasure of pure gold and you will find it.  We must be careful not to seek our own will when we study for truth or pray for guidance. Seek His will through prayer and study. Study the scriptures with an open heart. More importantly, pray to the Father for His wisdom and guidance. Abraham did not have any scriptures to read or study, did he? How did our fore-bearer Abraham seek answers and leadership? He called on the name of the Lord.  Yes, He talked with the Lord - as a friend talks to a friend.  (Abraham referred to as a friend of God in 2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23) And we should do the same. Do not venture off on a study without speaking to the one ordained the scriptures and the only one whom can open the door for you to understand doctrine. Do not rely on your command of the original languages, ability to use a concordance, or understanding of history. Remember, prayer is two-way communication so be sure to ask what you will but then be prepared to listen to the spirit. Ask, seek, and knock then be assured that the Lord will keep His promises and open your understanding to the scriptures. The answer is not far off but very near to those who love Him and seek His will. Jesus gave us direct access to the Father and God will answer the prayer of a person who loves Him and inquires of Him diligently in faith.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.


Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalms 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

To truly have a faithful study we must make mention of the proper attitude. Be ready to accept whatever God may show you. Trust the scriptures and understand they are from the Eternal. Believe God and handle His word carefully; with fear and trembling to err; with reverence and acknowledgement of the source of all wisdom; with love and care for the brethren, our Savior, and our God.

Do not be fearful to the point where you are paralyzed to even touch the Word or make spirit-led decisions on doctrine. Be reverent and stand in awe of God and His Word handling it without deceit or personal spin. Then you can boldly declare the doctrine shown to by the proving of the scripture with spiritual correctness.

Proverbs 2:1-6  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

  2 Corinthians 4:1-2  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.


Sure ways for Believers to miss the mark in studying the Scriptures. Sure ways for Believers to accurately hit the mark in studying the Scriptures.

c) Don’t believe the Word of God

Consider only the immediate context of all Scriptures. Draw conclusions before you have studied ALL the Bible passages on the topic. ‘Pit’passages against each other rather than trying to find the spiritual harmony between them all.  Interpret one Scripture in such a way that it contradicts another. Seek your own belief to be proven rather than the answer from the word.  

Proverbs 16:25-26  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

 Isaiah 28:13  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

c) Believe the Word of God

 Consider the full context of all Scriptures. Never draw a conclusion until you have studied ALL the Bible passages on the topic. Do not ‘pit’ passages against each other but try to find the spiritual harmony between them all.  Never interpret one Scripture in such a way that it contradicts another. 

Acts 17:11   These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.   2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  

Romans 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

d) Mistranslate words or phrases - 

2 Peter 3:16  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 destruction.   

Job 38:2  Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

d) Properly Translate words or phrases

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Peter 1:20-21  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


Preferably use a good translation such as the KJV or an Interlinear. Do not use just a single modern translation by itself. Use more than one bible version to obtain a better understanding of the words. Whenever in doubt – return to the original manuscripts to seek a proper translation. A good concordance is an excellent tool for assisting the man of God in rightfully dividing the Word. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is most-widely accepted, but many prefer another such as the Englishman’s Concordance, any of which will be adequate to help investigate translations. These are the simple basic helps used by most students.

Use other passages that contain the same original language word to investigate how it was rendered in these other situations. If available, when scripture does not have other than a single usage of a word to compare, one may use other resources/manuscripts that are from the same geographic area and time setting as the passage containing the word you are seeking to translate. Remember that no concordance, lexicon, commentary, or other help is equivalent to scripture.

Who wants to be a Millennium-heir? Use a Lifeline … phone a friend. Do not neglect to utilize the brethren in your fellowship group as consultants. The spirit of God is present in each member of the Body and one part cannot say to another “I do not need you.”  We need to rely on one another for the exercising of our use of the Word. Utilize the spiritually mature individuals in your group for help and guidance. Sometimes the spirit may speak through a brother a matter of great importance to our current study. Be humble enough to consider the counsel of another of the saints – it may be the answer of truth that you are seeking or a lead to go on toward that mark. 

Proverbs 27:17  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

PARABLE OF THE ARCHER There is a modern parable about a man who was walking through the forest and came across an archery target painted on a tree with a single arrow smack center in the heart of the bulls-eye. The man thought to himself, “What an incredible shot!” The man continued along a short while and came across another tree with another single arrow directly in the center of the bulls-eye. “Amazing!” he thought. He wandered a brief jaunt further only to find another target painted on a tree with an arrow penetrating the bulls-eye exactly in its center. He cried out, “Astounding!” A short distance away he saw a man carrying target paint, a bow, and a quiver of arrows. He sauntered up to the archer and said,” You must be the skilled archer who is shooting these perfect shots in every bulls-eye. Tell me man, how do you do it?” The archer paused, “Aw, its nothing really.” “No, no,” exclaimed the traveler, “I have never seen anyone hit the target so perfectly every single time. You are undoubtedly the world’s best archer!” The archer grinned, “Well, I wouldn’t say that. Anybody could do it. See, I first shoot the arrow into the tree then I paint the target around it!”

The approach of the Archer in the story above is similar to how some Christians study doctrine. They begin with a pre-conceived conclusion and then conduct their research to support this answer. They first shoot the arrow and then paint around it. This is backwards reasoning and is self-seeking. This methodology does not seek the truth but a pre-determined answer arrived at prior to any research.


Sure ways for Believers to miss the mark in studying the Scriptures. Sure ways for Believers to accurately hit the mark in studying the Scriptures.

e) Use Circular Reasoning. –

 This means that you begin with your conclusion and then you work backwards to prove your point.

Isaiah 28:11-13  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.  Proverbs 18:13  He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

e) Use Progressive Reasoning. –

This means that you begin clean, with no pre-conceived conclusions, and then you work forwards to prove what the scriptures indicate -building the doctrine precept upon precept.

2 Peter 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.   

Isaiah 28:9-10  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.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:  

1 Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Be sure you are seeking Truth from God and start without any pre-conceived conclusions. Let the spirit form the answer as you prayerfully study every scripture related to the subject you are investigating. Build the doctrine line upon line and precept upon precept. Fit the pieces of the mystery together like a puzzle. Do not force fit the parts but find where they fit as perfectly as you can. Talk to God often as you let Him show you through the spirit what He would have you know. Build carefully and faithfully – God is with you. 

Sure ways for Believers to miss the mark in studying the Scriptures.

Sure ways for Believers to accurately hit the mark in studying the Scriptures.

f) Lack Discernment

Fail to handle the word of God as being “spiritual” and handle it carnally. Don’t test the spirits, examine precepts, or prove all things.

Mark 12:24  And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?  (also 2 Peter 3:16) 

Galatians 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 

2 Timothy 3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Zechariah 7:11-12  But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.  Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

Proverbs 1:23  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

f) Exercise Discernment

Handle the word of God as being “spiritual” and not carnally. Test the spirits, examine the precepts, and prove things before accepting them.

John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

1 John 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  

2 Peter 3:14-17  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 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 destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

 John 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 


We must endeavor to discern the difference between what is just reported in scripture and what is truly commanded. The Bible is extremely valuable as a history book. However, not all incidents and events recorded can be accepted as a basis for establishing doctrine. For example, reading that Abraham told a “half-truth” to protect his life does not mean that action was acceptable to God or advisable for us to repeat (Gen 20). Some details are positive, some negative, some neutral or given only as background information to the real point of the message. Use patience and faithfulness in your endeavor to prove what is right. This ability will improve as you exercise all the precepts of study touched upon in this paper.

Prayerfully consider passages before deciding on their meaning when establishing or supporting doctrine. To determine the meaning of a passage just by the literal words can be dangerous – even using the best bible helps available. The words are not merely physical words but they are spiritual words and contain spiritual precepts. We must develop the sense of discernment in spiritual matters. Spiritual discernment is something that many Christians lack in. They lack from not exercising the use thereof  - which sometimes results in sin in their lives as well as not preparing them for doctrinal studies.

Hebrews 5:11-14  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Discernment requires that we be rooted in Christ. We must always keep in mind God’s purpose for mankind and His Holy character. We must remember the fruit of the spirit that God wants to develop in His people.  We must think from God’s eternal perspective. We must maintain a “Christological” center of thought in our studies. We must always seek a proper interpretation of the scriptures. By "interpretation," I don't mean reading into the Bible our own views or imposing on the Bible ideas that are foreign to the text of the Bible. By interpretation I mean deriving from the Biblical text the meaning that the authors of the Bible intended for the original audience - and thusly for us.  THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

Sure ways for Believers to miss the mark in studying the Scriptures.

Sure ways for Believers to accurately hit the mark in studying the Scriptures.

g) Quote improper context

Do not care about who said it or did it?—Do not consider why was it said or done? Be oblivious to when  it took place?—Be ignorant of where  it took place? Take the word in an academic and theological sense without using the holy spirit.

g) Quote proper context

Consider: Who said it or who did it?--Why was it said or done?--When did it take place?--Where did it take place? Consider the spiritual aspect rather that the carnal, theological, academic angles.


Many brethren use proof texts to prove there beliefs. Many other brethren shun proof texts as being a “cut & paste” approach that shows little knowledge. Why do so many think that proof-texting is wrong? Well, for one reason, some preach a new age gospel, which is not the same gospel Christ preached but another of a different spirit. Of course, they do not want to hear the soundness of the scriptures. Also some have disdain for proof-texts because they have seen the scriptures misused. Some unskilled bible students will rip a verse or passage from its context, and attempt make it say something that it does not teach. Some examples are shown below.



  • One may misuse Revelation 7:1 to “prove” that the earth is a flat square.
    • Revelation 7:1  And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
  • Again, one may falsely claim that Psalms 137:9 says that happiness comes from killing your children.
    • Psalms 137:9  Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
  • 2 Kings 21:13 may be misunderstood to mean that a man must wash and wipe the supper dishes.
    • 2 Kings 21:13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
  • Matt 5:29 may be misapplied to say God wants us to maim ourselves.
    • Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.


Of course, the examples shown above are not really proper use of a proof-text but clearly an uninspired mishandling of the Scriptures. It is the unlearned and unstable wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). One must be careful not to cut oneself while attempting to wield the Sword of Truth. The sword of the Spirit must not be used in such an unskilled manner. Remember that the “sword” is not of the literal text … but of the “spirit.” This is where many fall short in their spiritual swordsmanship. It is ashamedly very common among the Church of God. Why do so many “fundamentalists” make themselves easy targets for the detractors? Well, many have not been taught properly how to study for themselves and some have not been tutored at all. Some refuse instruction from another in their vanity and pride and they should take heed lest they fall. Does any of this make the proper use of proof-texts void? No, but makes it even more imperative that we are careful how we use a verse or passage or precept. So, are the use of proof-texts authorized? 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.


What Would Jesus Do ? Jesus and his disciples often used Old Testament passages as proof texts in their teaching and preaching. Jesus was fond of saying “It is written” or "Have ye not read” prior to using a proof-text to make His point. Paul did likewise. The Bereans used the proof-texts in their daily search of the Scriptures to discover truth (Acts 17:11). And it is good for modern Believers to also use the scripture thusly. Proof-texting, done correctly, is an honorable and correct way to discover the meaning of the scriptures. When two or more “proof-texts” seem to contradict each other then at least one of our understandings of the verses is imperfect. All scripture relating to a subject must be harmonized, by utilizing the spirit within you, to a true uniform understanding of what is being put forth. “Harmonizing proof-texts” means to prove the truth of a doctrine using specific biblical texts in their spiritual fullness while approaching apparently discrepant passages in a way that does not violate the unity of Scripture.

 We use proof-texts properly when:  we pay careful attention to context and grammar; when we utilize all pertinent scriptures pertaining to a subject, when we properly harmonize the law and the gospel; when we interpret obscure passages in the light of clear ones; when we pay careful attention to the spiritual nature and the Christological center of Scripture.


The subject is so important that we will go over a few more examples before we conclude. We see the Devil using a “proof-text” (Psalm 91:12) improperly in Luke 4 when he attempts to make Christ fall spiritually.  Christ answered him by using a “proof-text” (Deut 6:16) as well but dividing the word properly. Let us read -  Luke 4:9-12  And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.                                                         

The Devil should have known better! Had he read the scripture correctly he would have seen what the truth of the scripture he misused really meant. Reading before and after a few verses we see that the passage had to do with trusting God and His protection. Also about having faith that those who trust in the Lord will be delivered. Had the Devil read a little further he would have seen that he was/is bound to be trampled under Christ’s feet!  Psalm 91:9 ¶ Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most  High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set  him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

This serves also as an example of how we can use comparative scripture to nullify improper text usage. This, brethren, is how we “prove all things.” We must trust God and His goodness and truth. We must believe His word and understand its physical and spiritual dimensions. All scripture comes from God (II Timothy 3:16) and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Therefore, He cannot reveal one thing in one passage and the opposite in another.  THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

 If we read a single scripture, or even multiple scriptures, and decide on an interpretation for it/them but then we find another scripture that seems to teach the opposite of our interpretation, then we must conclude that we may be wrong in our initial understanding of the topic. We must change our thinking and our actions to conform to God’s will rather than ignore part of His divine word in order to keep our own beliefs. The apparently opposing scriptures must be examined, in the light of other scriptures if available, and the spiritual harmony of them discerned through God’s spirit rather than any power of our own. Let us look at the problem that many face with the term and procedure of “using scripture in context.”  Take the single verse Deuteronomy 25:4  Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

Reading verse before and after does not have much effect in discerning context for this passage as the surrounding verses are referencing completely different subjects. This verse, in the Old Testament context, stands alone. This passage taken in “context” would show that this was From God through Moses, delivered to the Hebrews after the Exodus and prior to Canaan, and referred to domesticated animal (the ox) used for farming.  This is all true taken in physical context … but how did the apostle Paul use it?

1 Corinthians 9:3-14  Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?  Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Timothy 5:17-18  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. If we read the full passage to prove “context” we find that this is indeed referring to spiritual workers – humans and not oxen. Specifically the elders and more precisely the elders who work for the Lord in the ministry.  If we took the text literally only then we would say that Paul misused the scripture … that he quoted out of context. To a carnal mind it may appear … so but brethren – we have the mind of Christ if we are His.

2 Corinthians 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

In conclusion brethren, study the scriptures from an eternal perspective. Seek wise counsel. Hate evil and keep your feet from running to mischief. Think with the spirit. Walk in the spirit. Live in the spirit. Humble yourself and the Lord shall lift you up.



Ecclesiastes 12:9-11  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.


 2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.