Today, we’ll go over how to study a single chapter of the Bible. I plan on doing this in Romans for now, but since I mentioned Tim LaHeye the other day, he emphasizes this being a chapter one should study in his book…
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:1-33 (KJV)
Okay, open your Wordsearch Basic, and let’s get this opened. Go to Ephesians 5. Make sure you have a notebook open, the one you plan on writing your notes. Make sure you have the Treasury of Scripture knowledge open! I’ll show you a little how to use study tools in your Wordsearch as we go along with some of these.
- First, READ THE CHAPTER. Kind of hard to go any farther if you can’t get this part done.
- What’s the theme of the chapter? In this case, I can say it honestly must be “Sanctification”. Sanctification is one of those fancy words every Christian has to know what it is. The meaning of it is “Set aside for Holy Use”. You can call it holiness, living a holy lifestyle, abstain from sin, whatever. It all adds up to the same thing.
- Does this chapter have more than one theme or division? This chapter has several clear cut divisions. 1-2: Follow God and Jesus Christ. 3-4: Avoid sin 5-10: The unsaved engage in these acts – we should not. Separate from the world, the worldly, and false teachers. 11-16 separate from the world and heretics. Get on with the business of being a redeemed Christian! You’re running out of time. 17-21 Be ye Holy, for that is the will of your Father who is in Heaven. 22-32 The family is to be under Federal Headship, and each family is a pattern and a type of the local church. Okay, now do this diagramming yourself, without using my titles or summations.
- TSK – The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge is one of those things that the purist will shout, “Do not use!” and then in the next breath, tell you to get a study Bible and look up the cross references in the middle column. It’s…. the same thing! Just the TSK is honest and tells you HOW and WHY those cross references are given. For Eph. 5:1, you should see Eph. 4:32, Lev. 11:15, Matt. 5:45, Matt. 5:48, Luke 6:35-36, 1 Pet. 1:15-16, and 1 John 4:11, Col. 3:12. Now, you’ll see at a glance you may or may not agree with the TSK. I didn’t particularly agree with some of the verses cited in Eph. 5:1. Remember, ye have an unction! These were cross references just to the first verse… there are 33 verses in this chapter. Should you look at all of them? If you have time, sure! I think that there is NO time wasted in Bible study if you’re doing it mindfully and prayerfully. I cannot think of ONE person who has prayed, “Lord, teach me sound doctrine!” and been told “No” – unless they were unsaved. I know when I first got born again, I prayed that prayer. God answered it, and I found that almost every pet doctrine I held was quickly put aside!
- Write your notes down in your notebook. To open your notebook, click on the icon that says “notes”.
- A truly helpful tool is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I’m still after Wordsearch to add it. They’ve added a later one, completely missing my point of why. Here’s why – the Bible is iit’s own dictionary. It defines itself. But it’s equally difficult to prowl through 1189 chapters, looking for where in context the Bible defines the use of a word. Webster actually did a lot of that, anyway! If you get stuck on what a verse is saying, try looking up the meanings of a word. Let’s look at Fruit. The Bible defines “fruit” in this sense as being the product, the result, of the life of a believer or an unbeliever. In verse 11, we see that the results of being an unbeliever produces “unfruitful” results. Bad fruit in God’s eyes, is no fruit at all. We also see that the use of the word “unfruitful works of darkness” being used to describe the very persons who follow it! How about “Sometimes” in verse 8? It’s obvious in context that this use of the word means “before times” or “previously”. If the sense of the word is missing, resort to Websters. Here’s how Webster’s 1828 defines “sometimes”…
SOMETIMES, adv. [some and times.] 1. At times; at intervals; not always; not and then. We are sometimes indisposed, sometimes occupied, sometimes at leisure; that is, at some times. It is good that we be sometimes contradicted. 2. At one time; opposed to another time.
- Contrastive thought. This is one excellent method of Bible study… is the text contrasting something? Grace and Law are common. So is salvation and damnation. In this case, we’re contrasting believers with the followers of darkness. Previously, you were unsaved, walking in darkness. But now you are not. Act like it. Paul isn’t speaking this harshly to the Ephesians – he’s just saying it nicely. That’s something I’m allergic to, I guess.
- Highlights – underline the verses that are important in the chapter. I usually can find – even in the most difficult passages – a couple of verses to underline. verse 16 would be good. verses 8, 19 and 25 are good also. David Cloud warns not to underline TOO MUCH in your Bible.
A lot of this I do mentally as I’m reading a chapter. It’s good to SLOW DOWN – and STUDY the Bible. Now, in the above, what commentaries did I consult? Not a one. A Bible handbook like the old Halley’s (not the newer ones…) gives background on the book, that is helpful. Ephasus was a maritime port, very carnal, very wicked. If you were to think of a place where it is almost the very worst place to try to be a Christian… this was it. Christians would have seemed exceptionally odd, humorless, overly serious… indeed, they were considered Atheists in the Roman Empire, because they only worshipped one God!!! But the strangest thing was… they seemed voluntarily defenseless, compared to the rest of cut throat society.
Hm, well, almost sounds like the United States today.
So when Paul is urging them to a Holy Lifestyle, he’s calling them to this kind of life in THE worst place in the empire. Me personally, I’d have moved. But people did not often have that kind of freedom.
All right! Give it a try!