The Technique of Bible Study, No. 1

Techniques of the Christian Life

TL07-01

We have found thus far that we Christians in the Church age have been told to do something that no other segment of believers in any other dispensation were ever expected to do. That is that we are expected to live as if we were God--to live as if we were God Himself. In other words, we are called to live a supernatural way of life. We find this declared to us in such passages as Ephesians 1:4 and Colossians 4:12. The life that we're called upon to live is the life of God Himself. Obviously, this is an impossible requirement for us. Yet, the Lord never asks us to do anything that He doesn't make it possible for us to obey. He has made a divine provision that makes it possible for us to live the very life of God. That provision is in the form of a series of techniques that we are studying.

Thus far, we have studied the technique of how to confess sins biblically. That's basic. That's step number 1. That clears the deck for action. Then we have studied the faith rest technique which deals with taking the promises of the Word of God, mixing them with our faith, and then acting upon them in reference to all the crises and problems that we face in life. These two set the stage for a third technique that we're going to start looking at now.

Obviously, for us to follow through on the confession of sin, and certainly on the faith rest technique, we have to be related to some information from the Word of God. You will perhaps remember that we have in the past pointed out that we are born into this world without divine viewpoint. Nobody is born into this world with God's point of view concerning life. Our old sin nature just doesn't have that kind of viewpoint. Most of the people in our society actually function on human viewpoint. This human viewpoint comes from their old sin natures. Consequently, you see the problem that faces you and me as Christians when we follow the opinions that are prevalent in our society. When we get together with other people, and we accept their sense of values, and we take their leadings, which are based upon this human viewpoint, this inevitably leads us away from the Lord.

It is important to realize that it matters not whether you are a Christian or an unbeliever. The human viewpoint can still permeate your soul. Consequently, even your Christian friends, if they are functioning on human viewpoint, will lead directly away from God. There are many Christians who really are tied in, hook-and-eye, right into the thinking of our society. They have accepted the sense of values. They have placed an esteem upon the things that our society places an esteem upon. They have placed a sense of value upon what our society views as success, and of the goals of life--the things that we should pursue. Consequently, Christians who pick up bad viewpoint can be adversely influencing other Christians who themselves are not functioning on divine viewpoint so that they can tell a difference.

Colossians 1:9-10

Furthermore, when you are born again spiritually, you do not automatically possess divine viewpoint. You do not enter the Christian life with God's point of view. For this reason, the apostle Paul tells us that there lies within our souls a spiritual deficiency which must be filled. In Colossians 1:9-10, Paul says, "For this cause, we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. The word "that you might be filled" is the Greek word "pleroo." It is in the aorist tense which means there's a point a time when the Christian must solve the problem of his natural deficiency in spiritual things. It is passive which means that he doesn't just solve this problem by something he does, but rather he receives the solution from someone outside of himself, namely the Lord, when he meets the conditions for receiving it. It is subjunctive which means it's potential. It depends upon the action that he takes. God has made a provision to meet this experiential deficiency. This is not a positional deficiency. He has no deficiency in Christ in his experience. He has this deficiency and God had made provision. It's up to him whether he takes it or whether he does not. For this reason, it is the primary duty of a Christian to prepare himself to live the supernatural Christian life by filling up the deficiency in his soul. That's the major problem with this deficiency. It keeps us from living the supernatural Christian life.

The Grace System of Perception

In verse 9, it says that this deficiency is to be solved by our being filled with knowledge. This word for knowledge is the word "epignosis." "Epignosis" is the knowledge which has to do with truth that is stored in our human spirits. This is what we call "full knowledge." In other words, it's Bible doctrine which we have learned through the grace system of perception. I want to review for just a moment this grace system of perception. This is the solution. We have a deficiency. The provision for meeting that deficiency is "epignosis," God's full knowledge, his viewpoint. In other words, "epignosis" is divine viewpoint. Here are the steps in the grace system of perception; that is, learning spiritual things:
  1. Step number 1 is the communicator. Somebody has to give you Bible doctrine information.

  2. Step number 2 is comprehension. That is the knowledge that you have gained which is in the form of "gnosis." That you receive under the filling of the Holy Spirit. Now you understand what you've been taught.

  3. Step number 3 is the storage. When you believe what you have been taught from the Word of God, you convert "gnosis" into "epignosis." You convert it into full-fledged divine viewpoint. It is transferred into your human spirit reservoir where it is stored. In other words, God teaches your spirit.

  4. Step number 4 is the frame of reference. This is the filling of the deficiency in our soul giving us divine viewpoint in the mind. In other words, this "epignosis" cycles up to our mind where decisions are made.

  5. Step number 5 is application; that is, the use of this divine viewpoint from the mind toward God and toward people, applying it to our experience.

  6. Step number 6 is the building of a spiritual maturity structure; that is, the development of the character of Christ with all the facets of spiritual maturity:

    • Orientation to grace
    • A relaxed mental attitude
    • A mastery of the details of life
    • The capacity to love
    • An inner happiness.

    Bible Study

    God has provided every believer with a living human spirit and God the Holy Spirit so that we can function under this grace system of learning things, in order that we may secure "epignosis" which enables us to secure divine viewpoint. Now that's the system. I think you're well acquainted with it, but it is at the core of solving the problem of an internal deficiency which keeps us from being able to walk in the plan that God has for us. The technique of Bible study is simply entering into this provision that God has made. It is this knowledge which enables us to know the will of God. That's what Colossians 1:9 says: We would be filled with this "epignosis" of his will, and that we would be filled with this in all wisdom, which is divine viewpoint, and spiritual understanding, which is the use of divine viewpoint and knowing what to do with it.

    Then notice verse 10: "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. The Word of God enables us to live in a way which is befitting a child of God so that we please the Father in all things ("unto all pleasing"); that we are fruitful in divine good works ("every good work"); and, that we are constantly growing spiritual maturity ("increasing in the knowledge of God"). Here is what is required of us--living the very life of God. We are to live in the same way that God lives. What characterizes Him should characterize us. Yet, we have a spiritual deficiency which makes it impossible for us to even begin to live that way. However, because God told us to do it, He gave us this system, a provision, whereby we may fill that deficiency and thereby be able to live that life.

    Ephesians 4:12

    Here's the divine provision. It, of course, begins primarily with a pastor-teacher who is provided in a local church organization to teach the Word of God to the believers. The key passage on this is in Ephesians 4:11 where one of the gifts given to the church for communication of divine viewpoint is the pastor-teacher gift. Verse 12 gives us the chain reaction explanation of this gift. The chain reaction is built upon the word "for" which appears three times in verse 12: "For the perfecting of the saints;" "for the work of the ministry;" and, "for the edifying of the body of Christ." This is simply expressing to us what happens to a believer who gets into this technique of the Christian life. It is explaining it here, particularly in reference to the ministry of the pastor-teacher gift. The word "for" is repeated three times. "For;" "for;" and, "for." In the Greek, this first one is "pros." The next two are a different word: "eis." Grammatically, what this is telling us is that the second and third "for" are dependent upon the first "for." "Eis - eis" indicates that unless "pros" takes place, there can be no second and third. The "pros" comes first, and the last two ("eis") come together secondly.

    What the Greek is indicating is a chain reaction. The first step says, "for" ("pros") "the perfecting of the saints." The word "perfecting" means equipping the saints by instructing them in the Word of God. This word "pros," incidentally, means "face to face." This is the same word which is used in John 1:1 which says of the Lord Jesus Christ, that in the beginning was "the word;" that is, "Christ and the word was with God," and the word "with" there is "pros." This means that the word was face-to-face with God. He was in the very presence of God in His pre-incarnate state. Therefore, what this is telling us is that the instruction in the Word of God, relative to the pastor-teacher gift, which is designed to equip you, to fill your deficiency so that you can fulfill the plan that God has marvelously designed for your life, is dependent upon a certain type of teaching, primarily, and that is where your face looks at the pastor-teacher's face, and the pastor-teacher's face looks at yours. There may be some disturbing elements in between there, but the point is that you learn the Word of God, primarily, by sitting in Bible class. You do not learn it by God's design through reading a book; through filling out some kind of a bible study program; or, even through listening to tapes. It is fundamentally face-to-face instruction.

    The primary point to be stressed here within the context of the background of Scripture, obviously, in the New Testament church, they weren't faced with tapes. They weren't faced with literature which was printed. They didn't have a printing press. They didn't have many of the things that we have that we're reading into it. What did they have? They just needed the Word of God, and this Word was very crucial to them because it said to them, "The way you are going to get it is by coming to a meeting where a pastor-teacher stands up and you face him and he faces you, and you learn.

    Now, I'm willing to recognize that the same principle is true too, even if you listen to tapes. If they're tapes that have been properly made, you are, in effect, receiving face-to-face teaching. There is a certain fellowship which is experienced by being there with the other believers, and certainly the local church would not function very long if everybody got on tapes and stayed home. Pretty soon that would be the end of tapes too because there wouldn't be anybody to speak to.

    This point is very important--face-to-face teaching for the equipping of the saints. The result of this is going to be two-fold. It says, "Eis", for the work of the ministry; that is, for the provision of the believer producing divine good in his Christian service. This is not just foolish human good. Then it says "eis", for the edifying of the body of Christ; that is, for the erection of a spiritual maturity structure within the souls of the believers. The pastor-teacher and the use of the grace system of perception is the basic feature of this technique of Bible study that we're studying.

    God has provided the technique of Bible study which includes the pastor-teacher and the provision that God has given you. You are to learn things apart from your human IQ standing by being willing to sit there face-to-face; listen; pay attention; maybe make a few notes; think about it when you get home; consider it in your experience; and, apply it. That is the technique that God has provided which will result in your producing divine good in your service for which God will reward you, and will cause you to grow spiritually with all the facets of the spiritual maturity structure in your soul.

    The HICEE Technique

    The pastor-teacher who is doing this job properly will do it according to what may be called the HICEE technique. You may do it in any number of ways. The HICEE acronym stands for:

    • H - Hermeneutics - This means principles of interpretation.

    • I - Isagogics - This means the background of a particular passage of Scripture. It was written within an historical context. We understand it in terms of the times in which it was written, the customs, the geography, and so on.

    • C - Categories - This means summaries of doctrinal truths or topical truths.

    • E - Etymology - This means the meaning of words. We have to understand our Bible today in the original languages in terms of what those words meant when the Bible was written in those original languages.

    • E - Exegesis - This means the explanation, the interpretation of the text according to the grammatical relationships.

    A believer who sits under this method of instruction will be able to live in the Word. Of course, that's what this technique is all about. It's to enable us to live in the Word.

    Responsibility

    Therefore, now we are going to devote our attention to the study of the Bible. We begin by pointing out that it is your personal responsibility. Your study of the Bible is your responsibility because you are your own priest. Therefore, you are responsible for your own spiritual well-being (1 Peter 2:9). If you are not moving along in your spiritual life, if you are not experiencing the stability and the controls that you need in your spiritual life, it is because you are failing in the use of the techniques, and perhaps most of all in the technique of Bible study. God provides the technique for our spiritual well-being. It's up to us to decide to use it.

    The Bible indicates that our spiritual life has to be nurtured on a daily basis, just as we must have physical bread daily, so to speak, in order to sustain our physical life. Matthew 4:4 says that man shall not by bread alone. How does man live by bread, representing food? He lives by it daily. However, he will not live in this way alone, with just physical sustenance, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. As we must have bread daily to live physically, so we must, by implication, have spiritual food daily for our spiritual lives.

    This is a very important topic. We are confronted with the fact that every day, I have to feed on the spiritual Word of God. Thus every Christian, in order to receive maximum blessing, maximum stability, maximum productivity, and maximum divine viewpoint understanding has to follow a plan of daily Bible study. The most important thing is that day-by-day, we are nibbling away at spiritual food. The Bible itself stresses that we should know all the counsel of God. In Acts 20:27, the apostle Paul stressed to the leaders of the Ephesian churches that he had delivered to them all the counsel of God. Most Christians know only certain ideas of the Word of God even after years of church attendance. However, the total panorama of Bible doctrine eludes them. They do not understand the Word of God in a usable form which is absolutely essential. That's what we're talking about.

    Psalm 119:11

    The technique of Bible study, when properly applied on a daily basis, will enable you to get the full picture of all the counsel of God. Thus, you can have maximum divine viewpoint. The thing that the Bible stresses that we must know in order to do this is stated for us in Psalm 119:11 where the psalmist says, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee. So if we are using this technique, we are hiding the Word of God in our hearts; that is, in our minds. We are thereby prepared to think God's thoughts after Him.

    This technique is a systematic technique. That is, we study the revelation of the Word of God on some series basis, preferably verse-by-verse. Maximum knowledge from the Word of God is gained when you study it on a series basis. You take a book and you systematically go through it verse-by-verse. Or else, you take a subject, like a summary of truth, and you systematically think your way through that particular topic. These are pegged in your mind in an orderly fashion. People who have to sit under Bible instruction which is hop, skip, and jump through the various texts of the Bible do not actually make too much progress in the learning of the Word of God. This is why people who attend church for years suddenly get under a series instruction where they are having teaching that goes in a systematic orderly fashion through a topic or through a chapter of the Bible, and suddenly they're surprised what a fantastic amount of information they're getting. This is just because there is a connected progression through the Word of God.

    Isaiah 28:10

    Isaiah 28:10 puts it this way, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." This is simply stating that the Word of God is learned by one part being hooked to the next part, to the next part, and one piece added to the next piece. Teaching the Word of God in a series fashion and studying it in a series fashion will bring you maximum returns. Teaching, incidentally, is explanation of the facts of Bible doctrine and interpretation. Preaching is application of doctrine to experience. Some people think that teaching is talking in a soft, modulated, and controlled voice, while preaching is yelling, shouting, and screaming. That's the difference in the professional ministry. If you get up and speak in a controlled voice, you're teaching, but if you foam a little at the mouth, and slobber and scream and yell, then you are preaching and putting your heart into it.

    The Survey Method

    We're going to look at a few methods of Bible study. These methods can be multiplied many times over. The first method is the survey method. One way of surveying the Bible is to read the Bible, say a book of the Bible, and to attach concise catchy titles to the chapters of that particular book. There are 1,189 chapters in all in the Bible. Some people have actually gone through and they have come up with 1,189 catchy titles through the various books of the Bible. If you can memorize these, you can readily see that you can think your way through a book of the Bible. This will stick with you, especially if you can get it into some little mental device.

    I remember as a teenager back in Chicago in Vacation Bible School, being taught the book of John. I have forgotten a lot about that, but I remember that the elderly gentleman who was teaching it was going through the book and trying to teach us how to remember what was in every chapter. He would do it by little mental devices, and I can still remember that John 11 tells about Lazarus being raised. I remember it because he put the chapter number "11" (two "1" characters) and he converted them into two "L" characters ("LL") by putting a bar at the bottom of each "1" character. He said that this stood for "Lazarus Lives." So anytime I want to know where the story is about Lazarus, it's easy. I just remember "Lazarus Lives," "11," and there it is. You could go through a book, starting with a shorter book, make up your own subject titles, as catchy and as concise as that, and be able to think your way through and keep track of what's in that particular book.

    Another way to use the survey method is to trace the promises to the Jews as you find them in the Abrahamic Covenant by studying the Palestinian, Davidic, and the New Covenants which amplify that Abrahamic Covenant. You may also survey human history in terms of the divine perspective of human history in the dispensations.

    The Category Method

    Another method is the category method of studying the Word of God. The category method means bringing together a summary of the basic facts the Bible teaches on a particular topic; the divine institutions, for example. This category method actually gives us an overview of a specific doctrine so that we're able to use it in the interpretation of individual verses. When you go to the seminary or a Bible institute, you study a subject called Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a breakdown of the Bible, all that the Bible teaches, into usually about nine major categories. Those categories include: bibliology, theology proper, angelology, anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, eschatology, and so on. It includes all of the main subjects and everything the Bible teaches on that subject is brought together. That's called Systematic Theology which is just a grandiose way of summarizing major concepts of the Word of God--major categories. The categories can be promises, or they can be teachings of various kinds, they can be techniques, principles, as well as doctrines. These categories of divine truth, when we apply them to our experience, enable us then to live the supernatural life.

    The Medication Method

    The third method is the meditation method. This is thinking about the Word of God, as Isaiah 26:3 tells us. We saturate our minds with Bible verses. Some we memorize, but understand. Memorization is of value only if you understand the verse. We review and constantly relate the doctrines of the Word of God. You apply doctrine to current events and to your personal experiences. The answers to inner peace and outward stability in your human relationships is not rituals; it's not programs; it's not social events; and, it's not getting into social action programs. The answer is involvement in the Word of God. That's what meditation is. It is entering in and mulling over. Your mind is oriented to thinking in terms of the Word of God. This technique of Bible study requires you personally getting involved in the study of the Word of God.

    This is what I meant by fathers failing. When fathers fail to do this, they are not equipped to deal with their own children. They're not equipped to instruct their children. They are not equipped to just be able to talk about the Word of God with their kids. They're not able to bring up the subject of discussion. Forever the authority lies somewhere outside of the home, and that's bad. The authority for instruction in the Word of God should not lie outside of your home. It should lie within your home. The wife and children should be able to look to the father as the authority in spiritual things.

    There are many more methods of Bible study. I'm just giving you an illustration. You can buy books on Bible study, some of which have some good material, and some of which have material that is not so good. However, they do generally outline various ways that you can study through the Bible. You may want to, on your own, secure a book of that nature on Bible study, and you can learn other methods.

    It might be helpful to also look at some equipment that you may want to pursue in the course of being a personal student of the Word of God. You may not want all of this. Some of this might even be heavily technical, but let's take a look at it. You yourself may enter into this to whatever degree, as to your temperament, taste, situation, progress, and interest in spiritual things to pursue this. But this technique, the farther you pursue it, the more rewarding it will be. Here are some tools that you may use.

    The Bible

    First of all, what do you think you need to study the Bible? A Bible. However, there are Bibles, and then there are Bibles.

    New Scofield Reference bible

    We have to select one, and we would recommend strongly the old standby of the Scofield Reference Bible, and that is the New Scofield Reference Bible. If you have an old Scofield Reference Bible, throw it out and buy a new one. The New Scofield Reference Bible has made a very great improvement in that it has taken those old English words of the King James time, which often have opposite meanings to us today, or which are totally unknown, they're not in our vocabulary; it has taken those words out of text; put them in the margin where you can look back at them if you've got some longing or old-time feeling for those words; and, in the place of the text, they have put the updated modern English word. Therefore, you can read right through the beauty of the King James language with the words that are meaningful to us. Plus you have those fantastic Scofield notes, which are absolutely accurate a good 90% plus of the time.

    You should buy a Bible that you're free to mark up. You should buy a Bible to wear out, and then buy a new one. If you have bought a Bible ten Christmases ago, and the pages still stick together, try not to let anybody notice it in church. Also, beware if the cover still looks shiny. I don't want you to go home and start beating up your Bibles just to make a good impression on Sunday. You should buy your Bible to use it. Don't be afraid to put a mark in it. Then when you wear it out, get yourself another one.

    Bible Translations

    There are some other modern translations of the Bible.

    The New American Standard Bible

    The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a Bible that is accurate. It is in modern terms, but it is not a paraphrase. It is a true translation. It is a revision of the old American Standard which was a companion to the Revised Version. The Revised Version was the English edition of that version. The Americans had some differences of wording, and they came out with the American Standard Version. This is the New American Standard Bible. You will find this a Bible that retains the beauty and the flavor of the King James and is an accurate good translation.

    The Berkeley Bible

    Another one is the Berkeley Bible. The Berkeley Bible is the result of conservative scholarship. Sometimes a Bible translation is the result of liberal scholarship and, therefore, they interject their liberal bias into strategic translations of pivotal passages such as the passage on all Scripture being inspired by God; the virgin birth passages; and, so on. The Berkeley Bible is the result of conservative evangelical scholarship. You can look in the front of Berkeley Bible and see those who were co-editors (or co-translators). You will notice several people that you know who are professors or former professors of Dallas Seminary. The Berkeley Bible has the advantage that it divides the verses into paragraphs which is really how the Bible should be. The King James translates in such a way that every verse becomes a paragraph. The Berkeley Bible divides it into paragraphs so that the thought sequences are more evident.

    The Amplified Bible

    Another Bible is the Amplified Bible. The Amplified Bible is a Bible which is designed for Bible study. It seeks to give you insights which will throw light on the original language in order to give you some idea of something about the Greek and Hebrew verbs, the nouns, and the prepositions--the grammatical construction. The way it does that is by putting extra words in brackets. It translates from the text (it is a translation), but it is an amplified translation. As you know by what you have already learned about Greek, it has certain meanings relative to the tense, the mood, and the voice. It is difficult for us to convey that in English unless you use extra words to do it. That's what this translation does. For example, in Acts 1:3, it says, "To them also he showed himself alive after his passion." Then the Amplified Bible includes (in parentheses), "(his suffering in the garden and on the cross)." The verse goes on as follows: "by many convicting demonstrations." In the Amplified Version then, after the word "by" has "(by a series of many convicting demonstrations)." That's what the Greek shows there: a series of these things. So this is simply expanding the text in order to include some light on the original text.

    The Expanded Translation

    Then, Kenneth Wiest has written a New Testament called The Expanded Translation. It's very similar to the Amplified Version. It also is an expansion of the Greek text. It seeks to give you light upon the Greek tenses, the use of the article, and so on. It does not put things into brackets and parentheses like the Amplified Bible does, but it serves a very important purpose as a study Bible speaking to you from the point of view of English readers.

    For studying the Word of God, you also need a notebook. Perhaps a large size (8.5 X 11) is most desirable because sometimes you get printed material that you can then incorporate into your notebook. You should have a way of dividing within the notebook for the various studies, the various subjects for Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday, Sunday School, etc. It has been pointed out that a pencil is an excellent eye. You see things when you write something down. While you may not be able to write everything down in a church service, you will get infinitely more out of the service if you sit there jotting a few notes of a few major ideas. There are many times in your personal study of the Word of God that you'll get a great thought, an insight concerning the Word of God. You'll see a connection between something, maybe a current event. You might say, "Now that's good. I'm going to mention that the next time we have a testimony meeting." Or you may be teaching a class, and when you get to the place where this insight would have been useful, you've forgotten it. It slips away from you when you should have written it down. The same thing happens in the course of a church service or an instruction class where something strikes you and you miss it. You can take these notes home, of course, and have more leisurely personal study.

    A Concordance

    You should also have a Bible Concordance. There are two types of concordances. One is Young, and one is Strong's. They are both probably equally good. A concordance will give you any word in the English Bible. You may think of a verse (or a part of a verse) and say, "Now, where is that verse?" You can't remember where the verse is, but you do remember a key word of it. For example, "Man shall not live by bread alone." "Bread"--you say, "I'll look up bread." You look up "bread" and it will show you everywhere in the Bible where the word "bread" is given, and sure enough you'll find Matthew 4:4, and there is the verse you were looking for.

    It will also tell you what the word "bread" is in the Greek or in the Hebrew. It will give you that also, so that you know exactly which word is being used. Therefore, a concordance is an important book.

    Other Books

    You should have a book on archeology that gives you some background on the Word of God, on the times and the background of the situation. Dr. Unger, formerly from Dallas Seminary, has a good one on that. There are others. You should have a Bible handbook. One is Unger's again, and the other is Haley's. They are the two classics. They give you some background materials of various kinds in a little concise way. They will give you outlines of books of the Bible. They tell you what a book is about, who the author is, when it was written, and so on. That is helpful background material for consultation. Also, you need a Bible atlas to tell you about the country. This is important for the isagogics end of your study. One good one is Bible Atlas by Pfeiffer. There are others, of course, on that subject also.

    Lexicons

    If you're interested in following through the Greek text of the New Testament, you can buy a little thing called an "Interlinear Greek New Testament." An Interlinear Greek New Testament simply has the English of your English Bible with the Greek right under it. So, you can read through this English text and you can find exactly what the Greek word is--a verb, a noun, a preposition, or whatever it may be. It shows you exactly the word that you're dealing with. All you would have to do would be to learn the Greek alphabet and how to pronounce Greek words, and you'd be able to find that Greek word. Now, once you knew that Greek word, you could go to another lexicon called the Analytical Greek Lexicon. There is one called Baxter's, which is a classic in the field. The Analytical Greek Lexicon gives you every form. You could take the Greek word that you found in your interlinear lexicon, you could look it up in the analytical lexicon, and it would tell you more information. For example, if it's a verb, it would tell you what tense it is (like aorist), what voice (like passive), what form (like indicative or subjunctive), and so on. Then, without knowing any Greek (other than the letters and how to pronounce them), you could draw from the English Bible the exact Greek word and some significant amplification of what was being said by that particular word at that particular point, especially if you matched it up against something like the Amplified or Expanded translations.

    Then there is a Greek Lexicon. When you have found what the word is, you could look up the meaning of the word. One simple little lexicon is Abbot Smith. This is a gem. It's easy. It's small. It's concise. It's very accurate. It gives you a great deal of information once you learn how to read the marking, the symbols. It tells you a great deal about that particular word, even how it's used in the Bible.

    If you want to get a little more big-time, you could go to the Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon which is another Greek / English lexicon. A lexicon is simply a dictionary that gives you the meaning of words.

    Something that is well worth your selling your Cadillac to buy is this little book called the "Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words" by W. E. Vine. This is a great little book. Anybody can use it. The way you look up the Greek word is through the English word. Like the word "bread." You could look up the word "bread" and it would give you an explanation, and give you a discussion of how it is used in various ways in the Bible. Or any verb: you look it up in the English. If you know what the Greek word is, and you can't find that particular Greek word, then it has in the back transliterations into English, and you can look at the Greek word in the English transliterations, and it will tell you all of the various ways this word is translated in the King James. For example, we have the word "tuphoo." It's translated as: "high-minded, pride, proud, puff up, smoke." You just look up any one of those and under it you will find that word. This one is called the "Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words." It is an excellent volume to have.

    A few of these, like the Vine's Dictionary, are simple. With an Analytical Concordance and an Interlinear, you could do a lot of personal study if you're interested in pursuing it on your own in that way. Then there is the Englishman's Greek Concordance. It will take a Greek word and let you track it. For example, we could take the Greek word "agapao." If we looked up that Greek word, it will list for you every verse, every place, where that particular Greek word is used. For example, some people had the mistaken idea that "agapao" is the only kind of love that God does; that He never has "phileo" toward anybody. Yet, if you will look up the word "phileo," you'll discover verses that use that word in reference to God. Therefore, you get a great deal of information from the Englishman's Greek Concordance that, again, is designed for people in English.

    Dr. Wiest, who wrote the Amplified New Testament, has also written a series of books on Greek word studies in general and on specific books of the Bible. Dr. Wiest used to be a professor, in the days of my youth, at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Anything by Wiest is excellent material, and very well worth having.

    Hebrew

    We'll just briefly touch on the Hebrew where we have the same sort of thing. We have The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon by Benjamin Davidson. If you learn the Hebrew alphabet, and learn how to pronounce Hebrew words, you could look up these words in the Analytical Hebrew Concordance, and it will tell the forms and the stems and so on. This is a little more complicated and perhaps it would not be too profitable for you to try to pursue. Part of the problem is that there is no Hebrew interlinear. There are certain books, like Genesis, that are written with interlinears, but you don't have a complete Hebrew interlinear. But you do have Hebrew lexicons, like the Geseneus Hebrew English Lexicon. The classic now is Brown-Driver-Briggs. It's for more advanced study.

    Then a book on Church history would be a useful thing to have just as background material.

    Finally, of course, if you're going to exercise the technique of Bible study, you need to have a tape recorder, and you need to listen to tapes. It would be well to get yourself on tapes that are only taught by the HICEE technique. Don't fool around and waste your money or your effort on people who are giving you commentaries on Bible verses. Don't get caught with a preacher who reads a Bible verse and then he makes comments upon it, most of which are devotional and inspirational. Exegetical study means that he gives you the language and he tells you what's behind the words of your English Bible. That is the only way you will enter the depths of filling the spiritual deficiency in your soul.

    Summary

    Here are some practical guides for this technique:

    1) Read and re-read the books of the Bible in English. There's a great value in reading over them in some of these other good translations.

    2) Attach chapter titles.

    3) Use these language helps that we have described. Go as far as you can. Fool around with them a little bit. Get the feel of it. You'll be surprised when you get the hang of them how far you can go.

    4) Study tapes that are made by the HICEE technique.

    5) Read background materials.

    6) Memorize passages of Scripture and saturate your mind with them.

    7) Think through categories and summaries of truth.

    8) Teach someone else what you know. That's one of the best ways to use the technique of Bible study. Teach someone else what you know. And, fathers, you above all.

    Dr. John E. Danish, 1973

    Back to the Techniques index

    Back to the Bible Questions index