How to Understand the Bible
How to Understand the Bible
¬ Introduction
¬ Thoughts to Consider About the Bible
¬ First Key: Ask for God's Help With a Proper Attitude
¬ Marking Your Bible
¬ Second Key: Obedience Brings Understanding
¬ Third Key: Accept the Inspiration of All the Bible
¬ Are There Mistakes in the King James Version?
¬ Seven Keys to Understanding the Scriptures
¬ Fourth Key: Consider the Context
¬ Fifth Key: Consider All the Scriptures on the Subject
¬ Comparing Texts: What Was Written on the Cross?
¬ Sixth Key: Use Bible Helps Properly
¬ Computer Bible Helps
¬ Seventh Key: We Need the Guidance of God's Church
From the publisher of The Good News magazine.
How to Understand the Bible
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Seven Keys to Understanding the Scriptures

Many people are unaware of several basic themes that, when understood, open our understanding of the Scriptures. Following are seven themes vital to piecing together a more-complete understanding of the Bible:

The true gospel: Many people reduce the gospel to a message about Jesus Christ. It is not only about Christ, but about the coming Kingdom of God and how one can be a part of it. This is a powerful message of God's government, first encompassing individuals who surrender to God and become part of His Church, to be followed by all nations and peoples in the world tomorrow.

The true gospel proclaims vital truths. It prophetically reveals events and will continue to do so until Christ returns. Be sure to request your free copy of our booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom, which explains this in greater detail. Please contact us at the address nearest you at the end of this booklet.

Salvation is creation: Salvation is the goal, the culmination of God's plan set in motion with the creation of the first man and woman. The creation was not finished with the events of Genesis 1; those were just the first physical phase of a God's creation process. God's creation will continue far into the future.

Man was created a physical, not a spiritual, being. He is mortal, not immortal. He has the opportunity to receive God's Spirit so that he can, by God's power, develop spiritual character and eventually be transformed into a perfect spiritual creation. For more details, request your free copy of What Is Your Destiny? and The Road to Eternal Life. Contact us at the address nearest you at the end of this booklet.

The Bible's interpretation of symbols: Many of the prophetic truths of the Bible have been expressed by God through the use of symbols. The book of Daniel, for instance, is replete with many symbols-images and animals, some real, some fantastic, some explained, some left unexplained. Some symbols were used, not to make the meaning clearer, but to hide the message until God reveals their meaning at or near the time of the end (Daniel 12:8-9).

For centuries men have tried to interpret these symbols according to their own ideas, with chaos and confusion being the primary result. An important key to understanding biblical prophecy is that these symbols must be plainly interpreted in the Bible itself, in the immediate context or elsewhere. Strictly human interpretations are of no value. We must seek out and rely on God's interpretation, not our own.

God's dual method: Throughout Scripture we can see the principle of duality repeatedly revealed. The physical creation in Genesis 1 leads to the spiritual creation described in Revelation 21 and 22. The first Adam, of physical matter, of the earth, prefigured the second Adam, Jesus Christ, of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:47-49). Duality also appears in Bible prophecy. Sometimes there may be a preliminary fulfillment, a forerunner of a later or final fulfillment, usually at the end time.

God's festivals: God gave seven annual feasts as guideposts to remember His plan of salvation. Each one pictures a step in this process for individuals and, ultimately, for all humanity.

Passover pictures the death of Christ for our sins and the opportunity God gives us upon repentance to have our sins forgiven.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread shows that repentant people are to live spiritually clean lives after having sin's penalty removed by the sacrifice of Christ. As the Bride of Christ, Christians are to remove sin (symbolized by leaven) and live a new life characterized by sincerity and truth.

The Feast of Pentecost represents the receiving of God's Spirit with which God's people become one Church and the Body of Christ. Also known as the Feast of Firstfruits, it depicts the first harvest of those who will receive salvation according to God's plan.

The Feast of Trumpets symbolizes the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. At the same time Christians will be given eternal life in the first resurrection.

The Day of Atonement represents God's binding of Satan for 1,000 years after Christ's return, making possible the way for mankind's reconciliation with God.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the first 1,000 years of Christ's reign on earth. With Satan's destructive, deceitful influence removed, humanity can at last learn God's ways and truth and be restored to a right relationship with God. During this time, many more will receive God's gift of salvation.

Finally, the Last Great Day depicts a time after the Millennium when the dead who were not brought back to life in the first resurrection and never had a chance to receive God's Spirit will be resurrected to live again. They will be given an opportunity, over time, to know God, understand His truths, repent and receive His Holy Spirit. It is their opportunity to choose to become part of the Kingdom of God, to receive salvation.

For greater understanding of the significance of these God-ordained observances, request your free copy of God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.

The truth about Israel: Most people do not know that the ancient nation of Israel was divided into two separate territories after the death of King Solomon. The kingdom of Israel, comprised of 10 of the original 12 tribes of Israel, was taken into captivity by the Assyrian Empire and disappeared from the pages of history, becoming known as "the lost 10 tribes."

The two tribes forming the kingdom of Judah were also taken into captivity, but largely managed to retain their identity. Some were resettled in their homeland. Today their descendants, the Jews, are spread throughout the world and the modern state of Israel.

But what happened to the missing 10 tribes? They still exist, although unaware of their biblical identity. Be sure to subscribe to and read The Good News for evidence of who these people are. Many prophecies will take on greater meaning and significance when we understand this vital key.

God's Sabbath: The fourth of the Ten Commandments is sometimes called the test commandment and with good reason. This is the commandment that those who are only "professing" Christians will almost always refuse to obey. Obeying this command often brings on great tests of faith, requiring sincere reliance on God. But it also supplies great blessings to those who keep it. It is a vital key to understanding God's Word, because "a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psalm 111:10).

The Sabbath has enabled most Jews, descendants of the kingdom of Judah, to retain their identity. The "lost 10 tribes," on the other hand, neglected and rejected God's Sabbath, which proved to be a major factor in the loss of their true identity. To better understand this important commandment, be sure to request your free copy of Sunset to Sunset: God's Sabbath Rest. Contact us at the address nearest you at the end of this booklet.

This completes some of the keys to a better understanding of God's Word. Because traditional churches have lost so many of these seven keys, it is no wonder they have fragmented into so many denominations, each holding a different view of what the Bible says, all the while failing to understand much of its true message.

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