How to study the Bible and enjoy it-3

James K Sebastian

February 10, 2016

In the previous sessions, we discussed some of the basic principles of studying the bible and enjoying it.

I would like to share few more important things for those who want to dig a little deeper.

APPARENT CONTRADICTIONS

As you progress in your study of the Bible, you may come across some statements or incidents that apparently contradict other passages of Scripture. What do we do when we encounter such a situation?

First of all, we need to remember that the Bible is written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and therefore, it cannot have errors or contradictions!

What we perceive as contradiction could be our ignorance of the unique expressions found in the original language, or customs and mannerisms of the Bible Land.

One reason for apparent contradiction is not separating similar incidents from the identical ones. You will find several such incidents in the gospel narratives.

For example Jesus, our Lord cursed a fig tree few days before his crucifixion. One gospel account says the tree dried up instantly (Mat 21:19), while another one says, it dried up the next day (Mark 11:20). Now, there is a contradiction, apparently! How do we resolve this?

Before we, jump into any conclusion, I suggest you read the entire passage, paying careful attention to every detail.

Read from Mark 11:17.What details do we have here?

Jesus sat on a colt and rode to Jerusalem. There is only one animal. Let us call it  Day One

Some people spread their garments on the on the highway, while others cut branches of trees and spread on the highway.

Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple.

He looked around all things, but since it was late, he returned to Bethany

The next day, (Day Two) he returned from Bethany.

He was little hungry and went near a fig tree. There were no fruits on it. He said, “No one will eat from this tree anymore.”

Disciples heard that statement

Jesus, then went to Jerusalem, entered the Temple

He began to throw out the vendors. This incident took place on the second day of entering Jerusalem, riding on a single animal.

In the evening, they went out of the city

Next day (Day Three) they returned to Jerusalem. Passing along, they noticed the fig tree withered from its roots

Now please read from Mathew chapter 21, beginning with verse 6.

The disciples brought a donkey and a colt to Jesus. They spread their clothes on them and Jesus sat on them. (There are two animals here). Day one of Matthew

The crowd that went with him shouted, “Hosanna!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the city was shaken

Jesus, our Lord, entered the temple, threw out the vendors. This incident took place the day entered Jerusalem on donkey and a colt.

Jesus then healed a blind man

The chief priests were disturbed by the wonders, the shouting of Hosanna etc. They objected to it.

He went out of Jerusalem, to Bethany and stayed there.

The following day, returned to Jerusalem. Day two of Matthew

He was little hungry, went near a fig tree, it had no fruits

He said, “No one will eat fruit from this tree anymore,” and the tree dried up immediately,

Then he went to the Temple, the chief priests and the elders questioned him

I have highlighted some similarities and differences in both the accounts. I suggest you take your time to read both the accounts carefully, writing down every single similarity and difference. Read the account recorded in Luke chapter 19 also. Once you do this, you will have a better picture.

Who rode on donkeys and who rode on colts in the Old Testament? Well, use your concordance and read the passages where the term “Colts” is used. You will get more insight.

INTERPRETATIONAL ERRORS

Most people believe Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday. If this is true, how could he complete three days and three nights (Math 12:40) by Sunday morning?

First of all Bible doesn’t say the Lord was crucified on a Friday. The gospel accounts tell us that the day after his crucifixion was a Sabbath day, a special Sabbath. It seems to me that the church erroneously interpreted this Sabbath as Saturday and thus fixed Friday as the day of crucifixion.  It is interesting to note that the First Century church never observed Good Friday!

Since there is no record of a Good Friday in the Bible, we should not teach Jesus was crucified on a Friday. What the Bible clearly tells us is that after the resurrection, Jesus was seen by Mary Magdalene on the first day (Sunday) of the week. Now, if you really want to find out the day Jesus was crucified, you need to read the accounts in all the four gospels, and list every detail as we did in the previous case.

1 Cori 5:7 states that Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us.

In other words, Jesus Christ came to this earth as the Passover Lamb, appointed by God. Jews did not realize that Jesus Christ was their real Passover Lamb.  Jesus Christ died exactly on the day when the Jews killed the Passover lamb as per the stipulations found in Exodus chapter 12. The Passover lamb was selected on the 10th of Abib or Nisan, and then sacrificed on the 14th evening. Please read through the chapter and note down every detail.

Then read about The Feast of First Fruits Lev 23:10-11.

Compare the details of Exodus, Leviticus and the gospel accounts. You will have the answer.

As we continue our discussion on how to study to the Bible, I want to emphasize that Holy Spirit may prompt you to study a certain subject.  As you read the Bible, a certain verse or even a word may catch your attention! You may NOT be able to take your eyes off that verse for a while, or you may feel that verse or certain words in that verse are jumping out of the Bible. Several other verses or passages may come to your mind (Holy Spirit reminds John 14:26). As you look them up, and read through them, you will have a newer and better understanding of a certain truth (Holy Spirit teaches John 14:26).

I have described some of my experiences with the Holy Spirit. In fact, after I began to read and study the Bible, without reading books, I have learned a lot. Holy Spirit can do wonderful things with you when you study the Word with a desire to know God. Your experience could be different, but you will certainly enjoy studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit.

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7 thoughts on “How to study the Bible and enjoy it-3

  1. Yes it’s very good to read bible with the help of holy sprit. It’s an awesome feeling and some time the tears comes out in my eyes itself. When we actually understand the situation

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  2. Thank you pastor James.. I do experience such situations where similar verses are observed. They puzzle me a lot as I have a habit of going into depths to understand clearly. However, reading the Bible in its entirety is a better idea.

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  3. Thanks Pastor, Very helpful. I would like to hear the answers for those verses where see it appears to be contradicting but not really when we look at the context in its entirety. However, unless the Holy Spirit reveals, it is difficult to understand from man’s natural mind.

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