God’s divine order of revelation.

As a new believer I have to wonder if Luke knew the significance of what he was writing and why he placed it in such a particular order. If we look at it in a reverse order we can see the interpretation.

Luke 3:4-6 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him! (5) The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. (6) And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.'”

We know mountains represent both governments and religions. God called people to His holy mountain, as well as other religions having their own particular mountains. But what mountains will be made low, or level? If we look back a few verses we see God already provided the answer in the introduction to the chapter.

Luke 3:1-2 It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. (2) Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness.

Are any of these world powers any longer? Where is their influence now? There is one verse in between these. When we look at it we see God’s plan revealed.

Luke 3:3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had turned to God to receive forgiveness for their sins.

Now the question remains. Does the power of Elijah appear twice? The final chapters of the OT talk about the power of Elijah appearing during the final days of judgment. We know when this time period began, but ask yourself this question: why are the religious leaders against studying this subject and finding out when this period ends? What will the answer reveal? Will it be like digging through a wall to find the sins of the priests in Ezekiel?

Ezekiel 8:7-9 Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see a hole in the wall. (8) He said to me, “Now, son of man, dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and found a hidden doorway. (9) “Go in,” he said, “and see the wicked and detestable sins they are committing in there!”

We also know Jesus revealed the sins of all the religious leaders when He taught in the temple court. Are these sins being repeated, like the rest of the details in this prophecy?

Chapter 1 What is Bible Study

What is Bible Study? You may have pondered that question yourself. Or you may never have given it much thought. What is Bible Study? Did you ever wonder how some people came up with facts they took out of the Bible? Where did they get those facts from? How or why did they jump from one book in the Bible to another? It seemed to sound good. All the information seemed to fit together. The subject at hand seemed to be thoroughly explained. The teacher seemed to have gathered information from the Bible to explain the subject at hand. But did they? Was their study guided by the Holy Spirit?

Has anyone ever explained to you what Bible Study is? Have you ever asked anyone to explain the process they used to study the Bible? There are processes to use. We can refer to each of those steps as Bible Study rules, guides, standards, or styles. I prefer the term style. Others may prefer the term rules. Does the Bible contain a set of rules to follow? To an extent the Bible contains and explains its own set of rules and procedures for Bible Study. The serious student of Bible Study will see those patterns, or styles established by scripture.

Ebook ready for download on this site.

Do you have a favorite author? What do you like about that author? Each author has a particular writing style. Writing styles can be much like fingerprints. Every fingerprint may look similar to one degree, but a closer look will reveal unique differences. Think of writing styles more along the lines of DNA. Who really knows what DNA is? You may have have seen an artists conception of DNA drawn on a computer. It looks something like multiple beads arranged along a spiral shaped strand. Every strand is different for each person, animal, bug, and plant in this world. DNA can’t be seen with the human eye, so we are taking the information we read with a measure of faith. That faith requires a degree of trust. Which is in fact a lot like Bible Study. When we receive information from other people, we really don’t see or understand how they put their facts together, so we assume they knew what they are doing. In other words, we are placing a measures of faith and a degree of trust in the hands of some person. Does that sound about right?

Every Christian should know what is at stake. We face two options, eternal life, or eternal death. Okay, there are variations on that choice, but that fact brings up the point, how do we really know? Which brings up the ever popular Bible Study method of, let’s see who can collect the most amount of information on a subject to see who wins the debate. Is that how we are supposed to study the Bible? Do we collect as much information on a subject to see which team on the debate can collect more words? Is there a precise way of measuring those words so we can place our faith and trust on the proper outcome? That may be like trying to identify DNA with the naked eye.

There is another far safer way of researching subjects using the Bible. God’s writing style is unique to say the least. How do you think a group got together to choose those sixty six books we find in most Bibles? Do you think those people on that committee read those books and decided, this one sounds good, that one looks reliable? How deep do you think that committee looked into the available books to decide which made the cut and which didn’t? We have to keep in mind, that committee had to look for books that were inspired by God. Each book had to show links to the other books, the same writing style, patterns, and other details such as sentence structure, use of symbols, key words, and a host of other evidence designed to examine the fingerprint or DNA that went into each book we find in the Bible today. Don’t you think God had that all planned out before He had Moses pen the first word?

Fingerprints, DNA, writing samples, and signatures are all admissible evidence in a court of law. All the evidence is introduced, examined, and presented in a very formal and precise manner in every court system. Why don’t we use the same care and common sense when it comes to Bible Study? Lives are at stake in courtrooms. What do you think is at stake whenever you read and study the Bible? The question is, what kind of evidence do you look for? How do you examine God’s writing style? Is one Bible more reliable than another? How do you know you can trust Bible translators? Don’t people have a tendency to interject personal thoughts and creeds into the Bible translation they are writing? Do transactions loose God’s DNA mark on His Word? Has the fingerprints been wiped clean? It seems we will never run out of questions about Bible Study. What is Bible Study?

Bible Study For Real For Eternity

Here you can link to the paperback versionhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/179176083X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4

God had a monumental task in front of Him when He told Moses to start writing things down. God had to trust Moses. Moses had to know God’s personality to a certain degree. Moses began to write a book God was prepared to spread over generations before it was complete. God had to ensure His writing style survived over a number of generations and could be recognized while using two major languages. Then those Hebrew and Geek manuscripts had to be translated into dozens of different languages all over the world. On top of that, each language was going to have dozens of different translations printed and distributed. Some of those transactions were word for word. That didn’t pose much of a problem or threat. But then the English language came on the scene. English sentence structure is quite different than Hebrew and Greek sentence structure. Other languages posed their own issues to deal with. Somehow God had to put together a collection of books recorded over generations, then deal all those translations, and still maintain the unique signature of the original Author. That sounds like an impossible task. But we have to realize, God created all those languages.

There are a number of ways to examine an author’s writing style. Their choice of words. Each author has a series of favorite words they use though out the books they write. Some authors thrive on using big, important sounding words. Most books on Bible Study are packed with words the average person never heard of, has trouble pronouncing, and in most cases, has no idea what those words mean. That is one signature or writing style to examine. Other authors stick to simple words. Words people can easily associate with and know what those words mean. An authors choice of words is normally consistent.

Writing is a way to convey information. There are technical styles, informal styles, suspenseful styles, descriptive styles, and other variations that a writer develops. An author may use a few of those styles in a book and mix them into any given chapter. That is one type of fingerprint an author leaves on the pages they write. In addition to an author’s choice of words, the combination of styles they use, sentence structure is another piece of evidence to look at. Are sentences short, long, drawn out, how does the author pose questions, comments, and follow up with questions they pose? There are different styles. Some authors are born teachers. That brings up a set of styles to look into. Many teachers like to provide answers before posing questions. Other authors or teachers prefer to ask questions then explain the answers.

All great teachers repeat important details to draw attention to the main theme at hand. How the author chooses to repeat important or key words is another fingerprint an author places in their books. Some authors think nothing about repeating the same word over and over again. Other authors repeat the key word once or twice then substitute similar words with the same meaning. And some authors love to use contrasts to teach a lesson. How an author repeats key words is one of the most important aspects of a writing style to examine.

How does an author flow from one subject to another? How does the author introduce a new subject? How does the author link their thoughts? Are their thoughts scattered, is there a consistent flow from one detail to the next? Does the author emphasis distinct links between one particular subject and the next in their book? The way an author links details is another aspect to examine.

How does an author introduce a subject? Does the author clearly point out the main subject, elaborate, then add a short summary at the end? Does the author pin point the subject, add in the details to make their point, then shift to the next matter to discuss? How concise are the points, how are they presented, and how does the author follow up on details presented? Those are all styles to consider.

Some authors are very good at writing scenes. They can arrange words in such a way, you can picture the scene in your mind. Other authors write in more of a technical manner. You are given enough facts to picture a scene in your mind, but specific details are scattered here and there. Setting the scene is a way of introducing the reader to what is about to happen in the story. Each author has a unique way of introducing a subject or scene.

Every good teacher will summarize subject matter. How an author summaries the lesson they are teaching is another unique writing style to examine. The summary will generally follow the same pattern or style as the introduction. Technical writes will use a technical slant, suspense writers will have their own style, and descriptive writers will generally use one style for an introduction, and another style of writing to sum up that part of the story, or the chapter.

When we look at the Bible, we have to notice how God repeated words. We should be asking why God repeated words. Repetition is not only a good way to teach, but a great way of keeping the student’s mind on the right subject. When we see the God of the Universe repeating Himself, that should tells us there is a good reason to pay attention. One of the most important aspects of Bible Study is to examine the words God repeated, then ask why He repeated certain words. Repetition is one of the most important ways of identifying the author, and extracting information. In Bible Study we refer to that as the General Rule of Repetition. At least in this book I will refer to it as the Rule of Repetition.

Highlighting a copy of the Bible can get you to see details a lot of other people will often miss. As soon as the chapter is highlighted, you can focus on key words God repeated, which sets your mind on the main thought in that chapter.

God not only has a unique way of repeating words, God has His own unique way of introducing a subject. How do you think that committee broke Bible books into chapters? The people who translated that Bible recognized God’s unique writing style and knew when a new subject was being introduced. God also has His own way of summarizing every subject. When the Bible was broken into chapters and verses, it was easy to follow God’s writing style to determine when one subject began, ended, and a new subject or thought began. In Bible Study we refer to that as the Rule of Introductions and Summations. The beginning of every chapter in the Bible contains an introduction to the main theme in that chapter. The end of every chapter in the Bible contains a summary of that subject.

Linking words is another unique style God used from Genesis to Revelation. Every inspired writer used God’s pattern or style of writing. Linking words were an important part of that pattern. When we see a chapter in the Bible begin with a simple word line, “and,” we know the present chapter at hand somehow followed the previous chapter. God used the simple word, “and,” to establish a link He wanted us to see. God also used other simple words and terms such as, “then,” and, “after that.” Those may seem like simple words of little consequence, but they are more important than many people thinks they are. For one thing, linking words establish an inspired link between one chapter and the next. In many cases linking words established a chain of events showing how one event followed another.

Whenever we read the Bible, we have to realize, we are making a connection with the God of the Universe. We have no idea how large that Universe is, how many beings God has to look over, what God has to do to keep the Universe functioning, or how much of God’s time is absorbed by the rest of the Universe. Here we are on this dismal little planet, with no way of knowing how the rest of God’s kingdom lives, what they do, what they eat, how long they sleep, or how they communicate. We can assume a lot of those details, but the point is, God sets apart time to explain the inspired book He gave this world. Do we appreciate the time God sets apart for us? Do we properly use that time God sets apart for us?

If we really knew God, we would see His DNA or fingerprint in every verse in the Bible. We would recognize a forgery in a second. We would find ourselves in God’s loving care 24/7. We would never have to rely on another living soul past, present, or future to explain a single detail in scripture. We would know how to call up God’s help line and go to the only reliable source for every answer, the original Author of the Bible.

There is something referred to as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the most important ingredient in Bible Study. You cannot efficiently or accurately study the Bible without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, interpreter, and will reveal all the mysteries in the Bible. That is, the mysteries we are ready, willing, and able to accept. When we study the Bible with the Holy Spirit, we should be able to explain how we made contact with the Spirit, how the Spirit led us to the information, what the Spirit showed us, and what we were told to do with that information.

Some people think the devil knows how to read and interpret scripture. The devil does not have the Holy Spirit to guide him. At best, Satan can only guess at what the Bible says. The devil proved he has no idea what the Bible says when he tried to use scripture to tempt Jesus. Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” (Luke 4:9-11 NLTse). The devil used a few lines out of the Bible to try to make a point. In Bible Study we refer to that as proof text. What the devil didn’t see was the next few verses that told the outcome of his encounter with Christ. For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. (Psalms 91:11-14 RSVA).

That story basically sums up the common proof text method running rampant all over the world today. Just pick out a verse that suits your needs. Who cares about the time and effort God put into writing that series of books. After all, isn’t that God’s job to fulfill our needs? That is not the way Bible Study works. The Bible was not created to fulfill our desire of looking smart, answering questions, or putting people to the test. Most people who use that proof text method will insist the devil knows scripture better than anyone who has ever lived. The Bible proved Satan does not know scripture and his goal is to hid certain facts from us. Like the fact, Jesus is going to walk all over that snake.

I don’t want to concentrate on all the wrong ways people study scripture. That would never accomplish a thing. I could never list all the mistakes people make when studying the Bible using less than reliable methods. Even if I was able to make a list and tell the world, the devil would create another hundred bad study methods.

I did search Bible Study on the Internet. For the most part I find studies that jump all around the Bible to prove a point. People try to identify symbols, solve prophecies, and explain subjects with a handful of text, or maybe one or two. Is that a proper study method? Doubtful. Would you ever sum up a classic novel using a few sentences out of a few chapters? No one in their right mind would to that. Then why are some of the most respected theologians doing that to the Bible? A better question would be, why are people falling for such inadequate and unorthodox studies?

The first step in any Bible Study is to make contact with the Holy Spirit. Most people refer to that as prayer, which is opening up a direct channel to God’s throne. After that contact is made, who is the teacher and who is the student? I think you have those roles figured out. Once that contact is made, and you are at the foot of God’s throne, what do you do? You can be a little like David and throw in a praise or two. You can tell God how great He is and how you appreciate the time and attention He gives in your life. Then you may want to ask a question. This is where people get their wires crossed. People tend to think, since they are dealing with the all knowing God of the Universe, they should have no problem asking a dozen or so questions. Then what happens? In most cases nothing. In an attempt not to cross wires, God remains silent. Why? You just asked a dozen questions, and if you are like me, I don’t remember the order. If God started answering questions, chances are we would mix up the questions with the answers and be in worse shape then before we prayed.

Get into the habit of asking God one question, waiting for an answer, then if you don’t hear an answer, go onto the next question. As soon as you receive an answer, there will be no doubt the answer is from God. You will hear a hundred ideas, stories from the Bible explaining more than you could ever think of, and more than you are ever going to remember. If you sit down to write about your experience, many of the details will come back to mind.

When you are studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit, you will see dozens of details you never saw before. Give the glory to God. He wrote the book.

Now we are about ready to look at a few methods to study the Bible. Each example contains scripture as an example of what to look for, how to see the patterns, links, and connections God placed in His word, and the step by step methods used so you can use them in your own studies. Now let’s get started, and don’t forget to pray before each lesson.

Key Words in Understanding all Parables

It may be a little difficult to explain what key words are, and how the Bible uses them, but an example should answer a lot of questions. First off we need to review the general Bible Study rules related to Key Words.

  1. Key words are words the author repeated to draw attention to his main thought, point, or lesson. Key words are words that are the SAME, SIMILAR, or RELATED. Highlighting key words helps to show the main thought in scripture as well as patterns you may otherwise miss. It may take a bit of practice to develop a pattern highlighting key words. I look at it as a fundamental and necessary way for God’s Spirit to slow you down and get you to listen. It’s difficult to thoroughly highlight all the key words in one pass. You have no choice but to go back and forth over scripture to do a complete job.

  1. Key words are also contrasts. In this case a simple contrast is shown between new and old. Always look for contrasts used as key words. When contrasting key words are used, look for contrasting examples teaching the same lesson in the chapter.

  1. Authors repeat key words to draw attention to their use as symbols. Remember, symbols always point to something far greater.

The best thing to do is read through the example. Look at how key words are grouped together in sets, and how key words are used in parables.

Thank you for reading the introduction to this study. This study explains how to highlight words in scripture. Unfortunately WordPress will not work with highlighted words. But PDF will. Please click on the PDF link below to view this study in full color.

Chapter 3 Key Words in Understanding all Parables

Patterns in the Bible

  • When something is unusual, it is time to pay attention.

When God repeats Himself, it is time to pay attention.

  • When you see patterns forming, list them in a chart. Charts make it much easier to see the connection between related events and where they are leading.

  • Once a pattern is established, and we see a break in it, this is an indication to pay attention. It often indicates a movement into a new event. Often a break in an established pattern leads into a sever warning or a wonderful promise of fulfillment.

There is one thing about patterns in the Bible. People can and will see different patterns. I’ve seen a few patterns in the Bible, other people see different patterns in the Bible. If you see any patterns not listed in this book, or on this Internet Post, let me know. We can share and increase our knowledge of Patterns in the Bible.

That’s one of the ways God works. That is a pattern of teaching God uses. God will show one person a bit of information or a pattern in the Bible, and another person other information, and a whole different pattern in the Bible.

How do you find patterns in the Bible. The only way to find Patterns in the Bible is to read a whole lot of the Bible. Reread and reread the Bible. Compare chapters, stories, the Old Testament with the New Testament, and go back and do it over again and again. God shares the most interesting details with His most dedicated students.

Looking Back in Scripture

  • Looking back for information works much the same way as introduction and teaches the same lesson the disciples had to learn when it came to healing and helping people. Looking back relies on God’s Word and His Spirit.

  • Here is one of the most important Bible Study steps you want to learn and use:

Always look back to see how the author led into the event at hand. Most of us know in original scripture, neither the Old or New Testaments were divided into chapters and verses. That came much later. That has little to do with this rule, but to understand scripture, we have to look for patterns. One of those is how the author led from one event to the next.

Looking back in scripture is much like looking back at the summary of a chapter to explain the main theme. The difference is, when you look back in scripture, you are normally looking back at how the previous chapter ended. In other words, you are comparing the introduction of one chapter to the summary in the previous chapter. This is a rather easy study method to learn, us, and teach.

On some cases looking back to the first time that particular word, person, or thing was mentioned in the Bible can become a real asset. That is often referred to as the rule of first mention. In any case, the main theme and context of the stories has to be compared to ensure the same lesson is being addressed. I rarely use the rule of first mention.

The Gospels tell us to look back at scripture to find answers. Many of the same basic stories follow one another from one Gospel to the next, to the next. We have four chances to see the patterns and sequences. If we miss those, it is not God’s fault.

Some of the stories in the Bible were not recorded in the same order. One Gospel will contain information others do not. One Gospel may omit information found in the other three. Some people are alarmed or concerned about that fact. What we need to do is set aside the questions the world asks and concentrate on what we have in the Bible. One series of stories may be easy for you to relate to the first time you read them, and another series of stories may be easier for me to relate to. The Bible is designed to reach billions of people over a number of generations, and all those people are on different learning levels. Learning from the Bible has to be direct as well as personal. Using different story arrangements seems to be one of the most effect manners to accomplish such a task.

We almost never pick up on all the lessons in the Bible the first time we read through it. There are times we get to one story and it seems we can’t understand a thing. Our mind is filled with questions, and we have no idea where to turn for the answers. If we paid attention, we would know those questions are placed in our heads by the Holy Spirit. Those questions are telling us, we missed something and need to go back and review previous stories. It is as simple as that.

Why is it important to look back in scripture? Not only will looking back in scripture provide the answers we are looking for, looking back will also teach us an important lesson about how God’s Spirit communicates with this world. You can look back at your own life at any moment to see how God has been trying to communicate with you.

When you finally decide to pray and look back in your life, you will see a series of events, a series of choices, and your present life will show the results of those choices. You have to learn a few things before you can hear the connection between the Holy Spirit and your life. You have to learn to be totally honest, humble, and how to listen when you pray.

When you open up your ears in prayer and look back in your life, you will hear about choices you were offered, both sides of those choices. You will also hear about the warnings Jesus tried to send, but you may have ignored them. While praying, you will be amazed at the perfect order those thoughts and memories enter your mind, and how detailed those memories become. You will actually be able to see how things would have turned out if you made different choices. Especially if you finally understand those warnings you chose to ignore. Jesus will go over a series of warnings He sent to show you, He was always there. You may have missed those warnings, or written them off as something that was not related to the decision at hand. Or you may have made up your mind on the matter and nothing was going to change your decision. That is when pride steps in and common sense flies out the window. That is why it takes so much effort to look back and understand the warnings that were ignored. Pride has to be done away with. Which may not be easy for some people.

Looking back in your life may be the biggest and most exciting blessing you may ever receive. At times it may not be easy. And Jesus will not skip over the times you let Him down, ignored His warnings, and refused to help one of His brothers or sisters. People don’t want to face that type of conversation with Jesus. That is a sort of fear you have to learn how to overcome. It can be done. Putting aside your pride will show you, Jesus has something far better to replace that void. Looking back on your life can bring such a peace you will wonder why you have not been doing that your entire life.

This series of chapters in this book will show you how to look back in scripture. You will see how people in the Bible missed warnings, didn’t listen to Jesus or God, made the wrong choices, and the results of those choices. You will also see how Jesus gave people a second chance to look back in their lives, realize the mistakes they made, and ask to be forgiven.

Elijah Fed by an Angel

Let me tell you something. When you asked God for wisdom, and He handed you a big black book over 1000 pages long. What did you do? Did you say it was too hard, and give up? Or did you look for someone to read it for you, and give you the quick run down on what it says? We are in the end of a spiritual war. Don’t you think it’s time to read the manual? The best thing you can do is pick up the book, read it, and if you need help, find someone who is able to explain how to understand scripture.

1 Kings 19:5-8 KJV And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. (6) And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. (7) And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. (8) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

In this acted parable Elijah finds himself asleep under a juniper tree. He had just been through the highest and lowest day of his life. Elijah was sent by God to challenge the prophets of Baal. In this scene he was out numbered four hundred and fifty to one. As the nation of Israel looked on, the prophets of Baal called out to their god to send down fire from the early morning until the time of the evening sacrifice. Dressed in their priestly attire, Baal’s prophets made a spectacle of themselves jumping, shouting, dancing, chanting, and cutting themselves until they were covered in blood. Elijah sat back and observed with so much confidence in the Lord, he went as far as mocking Baal and his prophets. He asked them if their god was too far away to hear, or possibly sleeping.

As time drew close for the evening sacrifice, Elijah began assembling a broken altar dedicated to God. The mass of bloodied and worn out prophets stood by watching as Elijah surveyed the area. He walked around the area, waiting to hear the still small voice of God he had come to recognize. Twelve large stones were scattered about. As Baal’s prophets observed Elijah’s every move, the sons of Israel also lingered close to the scene. No one stepped forward to offer aid to Elijah. After circling the area a number of times, Elijah chose one stone, setting it in place. He carefully choose the next stone, placing it next to the first one. Everyone stood in silence as Elijah finished the foundation. Now Elijah had to lift the next set of stones to place them upon the first.

Baal’s prophets mumbled amongst themselves, wagering on Elijah’s ability to lift the heavy stones. The setting sun cast shadows on Elijah’s arms highlighting every muscle as they strained against the massive weight of the first stone. The sons of Israel drew closer to witness the display of super human strength. A spark of confidence began to flow through the spectators. At the same time a fire began to burn in Elijah’s heart to match the fire he felt in his body as it strained against the weight. This feat was repeated until all twelve stones were in place.

After the altar was repaired, Elijah began digging a trench around it. This perplexed Israel, and brought out a number of comments from Baal’s prophets. Once the trench was completed, Elijah arranged the wood upon the altar, cut the ox into pieces and arranged in on the wood. Elijah then called for a large amount of water to be poured over the ox, wood, and altar, not once, but three times. With doubts and criticism at an all time high, “Elijah the prophet came near and said, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that You are Jehovah God, and that You have turned their heart back again. And the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt sacrifice and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” 1 Kings 18:36-38.

Taking command of the situation Elijah ordered the sons of Israel to take all of Baal’s prophets and slay them at the creek Kishon. After that, Elijah prayed to God to end the drought. God answered Elijah’s prayers and sent signs of fire and rain. This should have been adequate to fill anyone’s faith to overflowing, but one little thing took all of Elijah’s faith and shook it. Threats from one little woman, Jezebel shook all the faith out of Elijah’s heart. In sorrow Elijah went into the wilderness to face his problems by himself. The power of one evil woman can shake the strongest, most confident follower of God.

This is when God sent His angel to touch and speak to Elijah, not once but twice. Was Elijah in a spiritual sleep when the angel touched him? Does this spiritual sleep represent a state in which God’s followers are not listening, or a condition of rest and meditation when His people are prepared to hear His voice? Was the cake and water a form of spiritual food and refreshment prepared and sent from God? Was Elijah exhibiting faith in God when he left on a journey without preparing for it? The angel fed Elijah a second time and told him the journey ahead was too great for him. Was this a physical or a spiritual journey? The food lasted Elijah for forty days and forty nights. Does this have any relationship with other texts with the same time period? Why did God lead Elijah to mount Horeb?

To find the answers to these questions, each word will have to be compared with other texts in the Bible to learn the spiritual interpretations.

Slept

Matthew 13:25 KJV But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

This is one of the most critically studied parables in the Bible. Jesus tells about an enemy, Satan, who plants weeds among the wheat. This happened while the men slept. Jesus is talking about a spiritual sleep in which His followers were not diligently watching. If we are not in constant study and prayer, Satan can sneak up and plant weeds in our lives, causing all kinds of problems.

Matthew 25:5 KJV While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

In this parable Jesus uses the symbol of a bridegroom to represent Himself. He knows His followers will be watching and waiting for a time, but as His return draws near, many will enter into a spiritual sleep. They will not be looking for the signs and wonders He will reveal through His word as His return approaches.

Psalms 3:4-6 MKJV I cried to Jehovah with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah. (5) I laid down and slept. I awoke, for Jehovah kept me. (6) I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set against me all around.

Through His prophet David, God assures us, He will hear our voices. God will watch over us even when we enter into a spiritual sleep. In this case, sleep was used to prepare David for the task ahead. God never gives up on His people, but uses different methods to attract our attention. It may be a blessing, or a trial. No matter what the odds, living in God’s perfect love will cast out all fear.

Sleep may a spiritual state in which the mind is not properly focused on God to see the signs he is providing, or it may be a state of preparation for an event that is about to happen. Elijah’s sleep may have been necessary for the forty days and nights of travel he was about to embark on.

Cake

Exodus 12:39 KJV And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

Exodus 29:2 KJV And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.

Unleavened cakes were used on two occasions, the Passover feast, symbolizing freedom from bondage, both the physical illustrated by Egypt, and the spiritual, representing this sinful world. Unleavened cakes were also prepared as an offering to God in the Tabernacle service. Leaven is another word for yeast, a bacteria used to make bread. Other verses will reveal the spiritual meaning of leaven.

Leaven

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV (7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Matthew 16:12 KJV Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

The Passover was also a prophecy of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Unleavened bread eaten before the Passover represented the absence of sin. Leavened bread represents malice and wickedness while unleavened bread represents truth and sincerity, being truthful to your word and promises. Bread represents Jesus. “And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 MKJV). Leaven also represents doctrine, a person’s principle beliefs. The Bible defines two major doctrines, man’s and God’s.

Doctrine

Matthew 15:9 MKJV But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Romans 16:17-18 MKJV And I exhort you, brothers, to watch those making divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. (18) For they who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple.

Men’s doctrines, or beliefs do not represent God, nor are they a substitute for worshipping God. They cause divisions and should be avoided. Manmade doctrines are created to serve the people inventing and enforcing them. Manmade doctrines also distract from the true worship of God.

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

Why did Isaiah ask two questions, “whom shall He teach knowledge, and whom shall He make to understand doctrine?” The questions are phrased as if God is asking if anyone is willing to listen to Him. This refers to the same frame of mind as a spiritual sleep. There is an answer, someone will eventually listen. God would not have asked the question if the answer was, no one. The answer is provided in the same texts. Weaned from the milk, and drawn, or taken away from the breasts refers to a physical and spiritual growth. A baby is totally dependent on the mother for food. Immature Christians are totally dependent on others to spiritually feed them. The real knowledge and understanding God offers is not taught through other people, it is a personal learning experience. The Bible goes on to explain the exact process to follow. Precept upon precept, line upon line refers to comparing scripture with scripture. The Bible is fully capable of explaining itself through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:13 KJV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 MKJV All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.

The entire Bible is from God. Doctrine should not come from any other source. The Bible should be used to prove and correct every source of doctrine. Any and all misleading doctrine will lead away from the perfected state God intended. Only the pure word of God will properly furnish God’s people for the work ahead.

Titus 2:7-8 MKJV In all things having shown yourself a pattern of good works: in the doctrine, purity, sensibleness, without corruption, (8) in sound speech that cannot be condemned, that he who is opposed may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Jesus illustrated this point a number of times. No one knew the heart and true meaning of God’s word like Jesus. When questioned, Jesus would answer with the true meaning of God’s word. The results were always the same. “And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” (Mark 3:4 KJV)

Proverbs 4:2 KJV For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

God’s doctrine is His law, the character of God, pure, sensible, and without corruption.

Matthew 7:28-29 MKJV And it happened, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His doctrine. (29) For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

John 7:16-18 MKJV Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. (17) If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or I speak from Myself. (18) He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Jesus made it clear, the only doctrine that His people are to follow is from God. The same doctrine Jesus followed. The people who heard Him speak instantly knew His words were from God, because they were different from the scribes, who sought their own glory. Man’s glory can never measure up to God’s standards. The choice is obvious. The doctrines of men will not glorify God, but will compromise His law.

Horeb

Horeb is known as the mountain of God. This is where God chose to speak to Moses at the burning bush. This is where God brought Moses to receive the ten commandments. Moses went to Mount Horeb to meet with God, and hear His word.

Why did Elijah journey to Mount Horeb? A study of the word Horeb illustrates a spiritual journey covering some of the most important events in the Bible. The real surprise is found at the end of the journey through the Old Testament, the final verses. The experience begins with Moses at the burning bush

Exodus 3:1-2 KJV Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. (2) And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

The scene of the burning bush was the beginning of a series of specific events designed to free the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt. This was a physical event with many spiritual implications. Freeing Israel from bondage has many spiritual parallels to the second coming of Christ, when He takes all of His followers to the promised land, not made with hands, but built by Christ in Heaven.

Exodus 17:6 MKJV Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb. And you shall smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, so that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

After wandering the wilderness for a time, God called Moses back to Horeb. This time it was to supply life giving water in a place where none was found. Remember, Horeb means desolate. In the middle of a barren and desolate waste land God intended to teach Israel a lesson. In this illustration God provided physical water to save Israel, their flocks and cattle. The spiritual application is explained in the New Testament, “and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4 MKJV) Christ gave His people life giving spiritual water at the mountain on God. “Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14 MKJV)

This is another chapter in a book I am writing about Bible Study. I want to see if I can get any feed back on this book before finishing and publishing it. Learning how to study scripture should not be difficult to learn. So your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates.

Chapter 13 Looking Back in Scripture

  • Looking back for information works much the same way as introduction and teaches the same lesson the disciples had to learn when it came to healing and helping people. Looking back relies on God’s Word and His Spirit.
  • Here is one of the most important Bible Study steps you want to learn and use:

Always look back to see how the author led into the event at hand. Most of us know in original scripture, neither the Old or New Testaments were divided into chapters and verses. That came much later. That has little to do with this rule, but to understand scripture, we have to look for patterns. One of those is how the author led from one event to the next.

Looking back in scripture is much like looking back at the summary of a chapter to explain the main theme. The difference is, when you look back in scripture, you are normally looking back at how the previous chapter ended. In other words, you are comparing the introduction of one chapter to the summary in the previous chapter. This is a rather easy study method to learn, us, and teach.

On some cases looking back to the first time that particular word, person, or thing was mentioned in the Bible can become a real asset. That is often referred to as the rule of first mention. In any case, the main theme and context of the stories has to be compared to ensure the same lesson is being addressed. I rarely use the rule of first mention.

The Gospels tell us to look back at scripture to find answers. Many of the same basic stories follow one another from one Gospel to the next, to the next. We have four chances to see the patterns and sequences. If we miss those, it is not God’s fault.

Some of the stories in the Bible were not recorded in the same order. One Gospel will contain information others do not. One Gospel may omit information found in the other three. Some people are alarmed or concerned about that fact. What we need to do is set aside the questions the world asks and concentrate on what we have in the Bible. One series of stories may be easy for you to relate to the first time you read them, and another series of stories may be easier for me to relate to. The Bible is designed to reach billions of people over a number of generations, and all those people are on different learning levels. Learning from the Bible has to be direct as well as personal. Using different story arrangements seems to be one of the most effect manners to accomplish such a task.

We almost never pick up on all the lessons in the Bible the first time we read through it. There are times we get to one story and it seems we can’t understand a thing. Our mind is filled with questions, and we have no idea where to turn for the answers. If we paid attention, we would know those questions are placed in our heads by the Holy Spirit. Those questions are telling us, we missed something and need to go back and review previous stories. It is as simple as that.

Why is it important to look back in scripture? Not only will looking back in scripture provide the answers we are looking for, looking back will also teach us an important lesson about how God’s Spirit communicates with this world. You can look back at your own life at any moment to see how God has been trying to communicate with you.

When you finally decide to pray and look back in your life, you will see a series of events, a series of choices, and your present life will show the results of those choices. You have to learn a few things before you can hear the connection between the Holy Spirit and your life. You have to learn to be totally honest, humble, and how to listen when you pray.

When you open up your ears in prayer and look back in your life, you will hear about choices you were offered, both sides of those choices. You will also hear about the warnings Jesus tried to send, but you may have ignored them. While praying, you will be amazed at the perfect order those thoughts and memories enter your mind, and how detailed those memories become. You will actually be able to see how things would have turned out if you made different choices. Especially if you finally understand those warnings you chose to ignore. Jesus will go over a series of warnings He sent to show you, He was always there. You may have missed those warnings, or written them off as something that was not related to the decision at hand. Or you may have made up your mind on the matter and nothing was going to change your decision. That is when pride steps in and common sense flies out the window. That is why it takes so much effort to look back and understand the warnings that were ignored. Pride has to be done away with. Which may not be easy for some people.

Looking back in your life may be the biggest and most exciting blessing you may ever receive. At times it may not be easy. And Jesus will not skip over the times you let Him down, ignored His warnings, and refused to help one of His brothers or sisters. People don’t want to face that type of conversation with Jesus. That is a sort of fear you have to learn how to overcome. It can be done. Putting aside your pride will show you, Jesus has something far better to replace that void. Looking back on your life can bring such a peace you will wonder why you have not been doing that your entire life.

This series of chapters in this book will show you how to look back in scripture. You will see how people in the Bible missed warnings, didn’t listen to Jesus or God, made the wrong choices, and the results of those choices. You will also see how Jesus gave people a second chance to look back in their lives, realize the mistakes they made, and ask to be forgiven.

2 Kings 2:19-25 NLTse One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.” (20) Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. (21) Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the LORD says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” (22) And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said. (23) Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” (24) Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. (25) From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria.

This was the beginning of Elijah’s ministry. It began at Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua in the promised land. God brought down its walls after Israel marched around the city for seven days. There were a number of other delays before that walk around Jericho. So many delays, we can see how God gave people inside Jericho time to leave.

Rahab, the prostitute who hid Israel’s two spies, and her family were the only people spared. She told the spies what Jericho knew about Israel, God, what happened in Egypt, and how frightened the city was. But those people inside Jericho decided to trust in their leaders, who shut the gates, to keep Israel out, and their subjects and wealth inside.

Now God sent Elisha to Jericho to heal it. What a change. What a blessing. What a way to share Elijah’s double portion of Spirit. What a lesson for us. God healed the land and water around the first city conquered in the promised land.

The story about those two bears mauling forty-two children is a little difficult to understand. Why would Elisha heal a city, then suddenly kill forty-two children using two bears? Somehow the stories have to be linked.

Who was in Jericho at the time? Israel was. One of the most important things Israel was supposed to do in the promised land was teach their children. One of those things was to understand what a prophet from God was, what they stood for, and how to tell a good prophet from a false prophet. Those children had to die to show how their parents failed. You know those parents anguished over the death of their children, but many of them asked why, or took responsibility for their deaths.

Elisha’s First Miracle

One of the most important things we’re supposed to teaching today is that power of Elijah. A power men, women, and children are supposed to experience. But how many people know what that power is, where it comes from, and how to use it? How many people care? Elisha was disrespected, and look how many lives that cost. What price do we have to pay to disrespect God in the last days? How many children have to die because parents are too lazy to teach their children?