Issues and Answers

How To Study The Bible, Part 2

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: C A Murray (Host), Lee Gugliotto


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000366

00:01 ¤ ¤
00:30 Hi, Welcome to Issues and Answers. My name is
00:33 C. A. Murray and my guest is Dr. Lee Gugliotto. We have been
00:38 talking about Bible study, the issue of Bible study, how to
00:42 do it, what to look for, what pitfalls to try to work your way
00:47 around, how to go to the Bible, how to understand what the Bible
00:51 is saying to you as opposed to you reading your preconceptions
00:54 into the word of God. And of course this is crucial because
00:58 what we understand from the word of God affects our life here and
01:03 hereafter, now and eternity. And so understanding the Bible
01:06 as it was meant to be understood reading out of the Bible as
01:09 opposed to into the Bible is very, very crucial to a correct
01:13 understanding of what the Lord is trying to say to us. Dr. Lee
01:17 has spent his adult life teaching these precepts,
01:21 teaching these concepts and we get to talk with him and pick
01:25 his brain a little bit today so good to have you back.
01:26 It's good to be back.
01:28 We ran out of time really when last we were together dealing
01:32 with Bible study. Let's do a quick recap of some of the
01:36 salient points from our last session together. One we asked
01:39 what it is and what to look for when we're going to the Bible.
01:43 How do you start, how do you work your way through it?
01:45 Well of course we came to the conclusion from scripture Bible
01:49 study is learning about Christ from Christ because the Holy
01:54 Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, repeats what Jesus tells him.
01:58 He's our appointed teacher. So if we're studying the Bible as
02:02 it should be studied then Jesus is going to be the one who is
02:06 actually teaching us. That's important. Let's see, what was
02:10 the other principle? Well one of the things we really
02:12 spent a lot of time on was you, I'm going to use the word harp
02:16 on it. When we go to the Bible it's context, context, context.
02:21 Yes, context is very important. I mean for example here we are,
02:25 and you know we're on screen here and for a moment there the
02:28 both of us were on screen and people have the big picture.
02:32 They can see the whole set, they can see you, they can see me.
02:35 But if they were just looking right now at the camera looking
02:39 at me, they're not getting the whole picture. All they're
02:43 seeing is just me and they can't even see where I am, where I'm
02:48 sitting, why I'm talking, who am I talking with. I mean so the
02:53 point is as the picture expands and now we can see the both of
02:57 us in the picture, now they have a better understanding. They can
03:02 see where I am, they can see who I'm talking with, they can see
03:07 what I'm up to, what you're up to. So it makes it much easier
03:11 then for people to understand what's happening. The same
03:15 thing is true when you study the Bible. If you try to take, like
03:19 even said on the last program, just rush right in, just dive
03:22 right in to a text you're going to miss a lot of what's around
03:27 it. And that text is not there by itself. It's part of a bigger
03:31 machine, it's part of a bigger thing. And so you have to
03:36 take into account the whole of what it's a part of and then you
03:40 have to take into account what comes before and what comes
03:44 after. Any dictionary would define context as taking into
03:48 account the surrounding words before and after so you can
03:52 grasp the fuller meaning of what you want to study.
03:55 Lee, we said it was a little counterintuitive. We've got to
03:59 resist the temptation to dive right into the text. I'm looking
04:03 at Psalm 23. So I go right to Psalm 23 and I just dive into
04:08 Psalm 23. I risk making a mistake don't I?
04:10 Sure you do because Psalm 23 does not exist by itself. It's a
04:15 passage in the book of Psalms. Just like if you were going
04:19 through any Bible book, if you look you're going to see all
04:23 these subheadings as you're going through. Those subheadings
04:26 are dividing the book into passages, units of thought,
04:32 collections of verses that are all dealing with something that
04:35 they all have in common, a person, a place, a thing,
04:37 whatever it is. And so if you're going to jump in on one passage
04:41 you can't just study it without knowing well what came before
04:46 so that you understand how the writer leads up to and prepares
04:50 the way for the part you want to study. And then if you really
04:53 want to understand what you're studying, like Psalm 23, in
04:57 addition to seeing how Psalm 22 gets us ready for Psalm 23, then
05:02 you want to see how Psalm 23 gets us ready for Psalm 24, what
05:07 comes after it. In this way you begin to see the bigger picture
05:11 and as you're interpreting Psalm 23 you're taking into account
05:15 the bigger picture. Now this leads us into our
05:19 discussion for today because something occurs to me. The
05:23 Bible gives its own definition on how to study the Bible. It says
05:26 here a little, there a little. The problem can be that if I
05:31 sort of cherry pick I can sort of force the Bible, I can sort
05:34 of arm wrestle the Bible to say what I want it to say by using
05:37 that same method. So what we need to wrestle with today, Good
05:41 Doctor, is how do we stay away from that particular pitfall
05:45 because you have said we need to find a certain, what's the
05:48 word I want, a pattern in the Bible which means you have to
05:51 go to a number of places. You don't want to develop a doctrine
05:55 with just one little text, but having done so we can sort of
05:58 arm wrestle the Bible a little bit and come away with what we
06:01 want. The best way to study the Bible
06:03 is, of course, the understand the passage in itself first;
06:08 come to grips with the message of the passage itself. So like
06:12 said we start with the big picture of the whole book and
06:15 then from the big picture of the book you start zeroing in
06:18 carefully on the passage you want to study taking into
06:21 account what comes before and after. Once then you've come to
06:25 grips with that passage now you want to connect it with the rest
06:29 of the Bible. To take into account the full counsel of
06:33 scripture so you can understand the passage even better and to
06:37 see the contribution the passage makes to the rest of the Bible.
06:43 So that is the skill that mostly we need to develop is how do I
06:47 go beyond this book and connect with other Bible books? Now the
06:52 mistake most people make is they use their theology. See, you
06:57 start using your preconceived notions now and yes this verse
07:02 must connect with that verse because in my theology they're
07:06 connected. Another mistake people make is they go right to
07:09 a Strong's Concordance. They'll look at a Strong's Concordance
07:13 and they say oh well the same words are in this verse as are
07:17 in that verse, therefore, they must be connected so they don't
07:21 understand that a Strong's Concordance only looks at the
07:26 content, the words in the passages, it doesn't look at the
07:30 context, taking into account the surrounding passages' words and
07:35 the flow of the writer's thought that gives it meaning. So what
07:41 I propose is a simple method and it can be very complicated if
07:45 you want to make it that way but it's really quite simple.
07:49 The best thing to do is to look for what I call inspired
07:53 connections in the Bible. Look for connections between verses
07:59 that tell you that the writers, those inspired writers, made an
08:05 authentic connection between themselves. Learn how to
08:10 recognize an inspired connection.
08:12 That's powerful. As opposed to you making the connection let
08:15 the Bible make the connection.
08:16 Exactly. So let's take for example. Let's take a powerful
08:20 passage. Why don't you open your Bible and we'll go to Revelation
08:26 chapter 12 and verse 17. Now we'll use this because there's a
08:31 lot of great lessons connected with this, just some tremendous
08:36 things. Verse 17 says so the dragon was enraged with the
08:40 woman and went off to make war with the rest of her children
08:44 who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of
08:50 Jesus. OK now. You look at that verse and you say well how do I
08:54 connect that with other verses in the Bible? Well the simplest
08:59 way to do that is, of course, if you recognize from this verse,
09:04 if it triggers a memory. You say that reminds me of... Could
09:09 there be a connection. You start looking at that verse. OK. For
09:14 all intents and purposes on this occasion, let's look in the
09:18 margin. If you look in the margin of your study Bible, what
09:23 your Bible will do is it will give you some suggested verses.
09:27 It will suggest other verses in the Bible that are connected
09:31 with verse 17. See, OK. And I say suggest because again the
09:35 publisher has an ax to grind as well and so many publishers,
09:39 their scholars have put these margin things together. This
09:43 reflects their understanding of scripture. So you cannot just
09:47 automatically say well my study Bible says that verse so they
09:50 really must be connected. You can't assume that. What you do
09:55 is you have to start researching the connection between the two.
09:59 So what you're going to do is you're going to look, and we're
10:02 going to look through here and there are a number of verses
10:05 that are connected with Revelation 12:17. What'll
10:10 happen is what they're looking for is, of course, resemblance.
10:15 That's what we're looking for. If another verse is a real
10:18 match for this verse, there'll be a lot of resemblance. If it's
10:22 only partial resemblance then it's only going to resemble a
10:27 part of this verse. And if you've ever noticed in your
10:30 margins you'll see sometimes a little letter a and then a
10:33 little b and little c. That's because the verse has been
10:36 divided into segments. OK, for example it's saying that certain
10:41 verses are only connected with the first part of it, that's
10:45 part a. If the verse is divided into two parts there'll be an a
10:49 and a b. If it's three parts, a, b, and c and so on. Now when I'm
10:53 looking through the margin here I see that this publisher is
10:59 recommending that Genesis 3:15 connects with Revelation 12:17.
11:04 OK, let's check that out. They are in opposite poles of the
11:08 scriptures and if we can see a connection, authenticate a
11:13 connection between verses that far apart, you should be able to
11:17 authenticate connections between any verses in the Bible.
11:20 OK, so here's the first thing we're going to do. When you read
11:24 the verse from your passage and you want to connect it, look at
11:28 that verse and carefully look and see what are the main
11:34 characters or actions or locations whatever. In this case
11:39 there seem to be characters or personalities. So the dragon was
11:44 enraged with the woman and went off to make war with the rest of
11:48 her children who keep the commandments of God and hold to
11:51 the testimony of Jesus. We have three main personalities or
11:56 characters: The dragon, the woman and the children. OK! Now
12:01 let's go to Genesis 3:15 and we'll try to see if there's a
12:06 legitimate connections between these verses. So Genesis 3 and
12:14 verse 15. And Genesis 3:15 says and I will put enmity between
12:19 you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall
12:25 bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel. OK
12:29 now. Let's see what do we have here. Who are the personalities
12:34 here? There are three personalities in Revelation
12:37 12:17. If all three appear in verse 15 that's a match. If only
12:42 two of three appear, there's likelihood but not guarantee.
12:46 that there's a match and if only one of the three match it could
12:50 be just a coincidence. So let's look and see what we have. I
12:54 will put enmity between you and the woman. Who is you? If you
12:59 go back to verse 14 the you that God is speaking to is the
13:04 serpent. OK. The second personality in Genesis 3:15 is
13:09 the woman. And then the third personality is the seed. OK.
13:14 The offspring of the woman. Now let's go back here to Revelation
13:19 12:17. We have a dragon, a woman and children or seed as many
13:25 Bibles translate in verse 17. So the woman matches up and the
13:30 children and the seed match up. That's two out of three. We have
13:36 a dragon in the one and a serpent in the other. Now at
13:39 first you say will that doesn't look like it's a match. However,
13:43 you've been studying probably most of Revelation 12 and if
13:46 you've been studying Revelation 12 you would notice that back in
13:50 verse 9 it said and the great dragon was thrown down, the
13:55 serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan.
13:57 See that buttresses your point to even know what the dragon is
14:02 here in 17 you have to have read some context. You have to
14:06 have come across that before in other chapters so you can get an
14:09 understanding of what's going on Particularly in Revelation that
14:12 is very, very important.
14:13 Yeah, because in Revelation he's drawing on all parts of the
14:16 Bible and you're going to see little fragments of many verses
14:20 in every verse. John's amazing. He does an amazing job. So we
14:24 know now from verse nine that the dragon was the serpent, so
14:30 we have a match. However, there are certain restrictions here.
14:35 We have a dragon in one and a serpent in the other and so
14:39 there needs to be some kind of understanding as how did the
14:44 serpent become a dragon? OK. Now without getting too heavy in all
14:48 of that what we're looking at here is a matter called
14:51 typology. Typology is the relationship between the Old and
14:56 New Testaments whereby symbols in the Old Testament that apply
15:01 to national Israel become symbols that point forward to
15:06 realities for Messianic Israel and those symbols now become
15:12 what we call types. OK. And those symbols find fulfillment
15:16 in the New Testament. However, they find fulfillment in
15:20 something greater than themselves, greater than
15:25 themselves. So the serpent and the dragon are one and the same
15:28 however, the dragon was a serpent with limitations in
15:33 Genesis chapter 3 but becomes a full blown dragon with the
15:38 capacities of a dragon when you get to Revelation chapter 12. So
15:42 understand that any comparison between the two verses is going
15:47 to be based on somehow this expansion from a serpent in
15:53 Genesis 3 to a dragon in Revelation chapter 12.
15:58 Now the other thing we have to do to verify a legitimate
16:01 connection is not only do the characters or whatever these
16:05 items are have to match but what either what they do or what
16:09 happens to them should match as well. So let's take it one step
16:14 at a time. OK. In Revelation 12:17 what's happening between
16:18 the dragon and the woman? The dragon is enraged with the woman
16:23 What was happening between the serpent and the woman in Genesis
16:28 3:15. God says I will put enmity between you and the woman. Now
16:33 what is enmity? Now if you did your study you would see that
16:37 enmity is a sense of hostility. When I translate this I
16:41 translate enmity as bad blood. It's bad blood between the
16:45 serpent and the woman. So let's have a match in a sense again.
16:51 As the serpent is to a dragon, much greater, we have enmity,
16:57 you know basic hostility that turns into full blown rage when
17:02 we get to Revelation 12:17. So there is a connection and it is
17:07 a kind of an escalating, expanding connection from
17:11 Genesis 3 to Revelation 12. OK? Now what's going on with the
17:15 rest of them? We have also in this we have the dragon and
17:20 the seed. What's going one between the dragon and the
17:23 woman's children or seed. Well in Revelation 12:17 there's a
17:29 full blown war going on between the dragon and the
17:32 children, a full blown war. When we come back to Genesis 3:15
17:38 what happens here? We see that the seed of the woman and the
17:43 seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are in one-on-one
17:48 combat and it is life and death. One is going to bruise the
17:52 other's head and the other is going to bruise him on the heel.
17:58 So what you have is in Genesis 3:15, we have on the level of
18:03 the serpent we have between the serpent and the seed we have
18:09 one-on-one mortal combat. When you get to Revelation 12:17 we
18:14 have all-out war and not just between the serpent and a seed,
18:19 but between the dragon and all the rest of her children. OK. So
18:24 we do have a match. These two verses are actually legitimately
18:29 connected. And as you're studying Revelation 12 you
18:33 begin to see some of the reasons why. OK. Revelation 12 deals
18:39 with very delicate issues and that issue is if Genesis 3:15
18:45 was really speaking about strictly combat between the
18:51 serpent and one seed which in Galatians Paul tells us was the
18:57 seed, Jesus Christ. OK. Then how come the whole thing between
19:03 Jesus and Satan didn't end when Jesus went back to heaven?
19:08 It should have been over, right? Well look at the chapter again.
19:11 When you start in Revelation 12:1 you have a woman clothed
19:14 with the sun and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown
19:18 of 12 stars and she was with child. And she cried out being
19:21 in labor and in pain to give birth. Another sign appeared in
19:24 heaven and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and
19:28 10 horns and on his head were seven diadems and his tail swept
19:32 away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the
19:35 earth and the dragon stood before the woman who was about
19:39 to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her
19:43 child. Now here is your confrontation between the dragon
19:47 the Seed and obviously the man child we're talking about here
19:52 is the Lord Jesus Christ. He's waiting to devour the child.
19:55 However, verse five, she gave birth to a son, a male child,
19:59 who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and her child
20:04 was caught up to God and to his throne. Shucks says the dragon.
20:08 Didn't get 'im. Now the combat should be over, right? Yes. But
20:12 it's not. There's more to this than appears and that's why
20:16 there is a connection between Genesis 3:15 and Revelation
20:20 12:17. Because at that point, at that point, the woman, verse six
20:24 flees into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God.
20:29 So there she would be nourished for 1,260 days. OK. So what
20:35 happens now is the dragon turns his anger, his frustration, he
20:40 turns it on the woman and he's trying to get rid of... and
20:45 let's just say the woman is the church... So now he's trying to
20:48 get rid of the organized church. Twelve hundred and sixty days
20:53 there's an interlude here where we have the reference back to
20:58 the serpent, the dragon, and the battle between Michael and his
21:03 angels and the devil and his angels and so on. And then we
21:09 get back to the story again in verse 13. When the dragon saw
21:13 that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman
21:18 who gave birth to the male child OK. So he's out to get her, but
21:22 the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman so that
21:26 she could fly into the wilderness to her place
21:28 where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time
21:33 from the presence of the serpent And the serpent poured water
21:38 like a river out of his mouth after the woman so that he might
21:42 cause her to be swept away with a flood, but the earth helped
21:46 the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river
21:50 which the dragon poured out of his mouth. Shucks number two.
21:54 He tried to get rid of the woman and he can't get rid of her
21:59 either. So now the dragon he is really angry and so now he is
22:04 enraged with the woman and you can see that this has been
22:08 escalating all along and instead of giving up went off to make
22:13 war with the rest of her children who keep the
22:16 commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. So now
22:21 you begin to understand all this better. In the light of Genesis
22:25 3:15 you see that what's happening in 12:17 is rooted in
22:29 the ancient description of the combat between the serpent and
22:34 his seed and the woman and her seed, a confrontation between
22:40 Satan and Christ. But what Revelation 12 does is it takes
22:45 that conflict described in Genesis 3:15 and expands on it
22:50 till we understand that it was not over. After that the dragon
22:54 knows he's defeated, he knows it's over, he knows there's
22:58 nothing he can do. But what does he do? He continues to carry out
23:02 his anger. It turns into rage and first he tries to get rid of
23:06 the church as a whole. When he can't do that he's out to
23:09 exterminate her remnant, those last children who resemble Jesus
23:13 They keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of
23:18 Jesus. Now what is interesting about
23:19 this, Good Doctor, is that one of the keys for understanding
23:24 Revelation is found all the way back in the book of Genesis and
23:29 without that full set of going through the whole Bible, you
23:33 don't get a true and accurate picture of what's going on in
23:37 Revelation because the key is way back in the first book, 66
23:40 books later the riddle is unmasked as it were.
23:44 So again you're reemphasizing the point that to understand a
23:49 given text you've got to find the context and that context may
23:54 exist 66 books earlier in the book of Genesis.
23:58 Yeah. The context of the book of Revelation begins with the
24:01 book of Genesis. So now we understand the reason we're
24:05 being persecuted by the enemy, the reason he is out to
24:09 exterminate and get rid of us is not just because he's mad at us,
24:13 it began with his frustration because he wanted to exterminate
24:17 Christ, he wanted to defeat and get rid of Jesus. He was unable
24:20 to do that. So the reason the enemy hates us is because he
24:25 hated Jesus first. Isn't that what Jesus said. In John he told
24:30 his followers believe me if the world persecutes you, it
24:34 persecuted me and if it hated you remember this, it hated me
24:39 first. So we see that playing itself out here. So now you can
24:43 connect with other verses in the Bible, for example that one in
24:46 particular about the hate directed at Christ is hate that
24:51 was now directed or deflected toward us and so on. So this is
24:56 how you study the Bible, right? Don't isolate a verse, don't
25:00 bring a system to that verse, don't try to force it to say
25:04 something or to fit your agenda or whatever. Just the sheer joy
25:09 of connecting with Christ, listening to him, trying to
25:14 understand the way the whole Bible is speaking to you. That
25:18 is the real joy of Bible study. That's powerful.
25:20 Do we have time, Good Doctor, to get into timeless truths,
25:23 principles and precepts. I want to try to get that real, real
25:26 quick. Can we do it?
25:27 Actually that's going to take quite a bit of time. Yeah, we
25:30 should save that for another program. But the thing here
25:34 again is also we can see the typology as valid. Now
25:39 understand the writers of the scriptures, especially the New
25:43 Testament writers, they and the prophets were hand in hand in
25:47 this. See the prophets originally, if you look at the
25:51 early prophets, they're calling Israel to go back. In other
25:55 words, if we can just get our act together with God, God will
26:00 bring back the glory days of Solomon, because that to them
26:04 was the height of what God had done for Israel and so they
26:07 wanted to go back to the good ole' days. But as the prophets
26:11 continued to plead with Israel as time went on they discovered
26:16 that it was not going to be. Israel was not going to respond
26:21 at that time. Their response was way in the future in the days of
26:25 the Messiah, in the latter days OK. So in the latter days what's
26:29 going to happen is the fulfillment of promises made to
26:32 Israel in the Old Testament are going to take place in the
26:35 latter days. So that's when the prophets instead of talking,
26:39 continuing to deal with symbols and their limited application to
26:43 national Israel, now they begin to talk about symbols that have
26:47 even greater power; symbols that project way into the future
26:51 looking for grand fulfillments at the end of time. And so the
26:55 prophets are then ones who invent typology. So the New
26:59 Testament writers, they see this connection between the Old
27:03 Testament and the New, going from the shadows of the Old to
27:06 these grand realities, these glorious realities in the New
27:10 Testament. And so they use typology in their writings and
27:14 the early church did too, but then some of the early church
27:18 fathers went, they went overboard with typology and it
27:21 became discredited for a long time. But anyone who really
27:25 wants to understand prophecy, to understand the New Testament in
27:29 light of the Old has to understand typology and I think
27:32 we've got a pretty good taste of it today.
27:34 I do too. Thanks Dr. Lee. This has been good.
27:36 Thank you for having me.
27:39 We've seen that Bible study can be a blessing, it can be a very
27:44 good thing when we follow a few simple rules. Our time has
27:47 slipped away. We'll be back next time as we talk more about this
27:50 fascinating thing called study of the word of God, Bible study.
27:53 We'll see you again on Issues and Answers. Bye bye.


Revised 2016-01-20