Tolbert Fanning’s Seven Rules for Studying the Bible

Tolbert Fanning: Study upon the Proper Plan

Most religiously-minded people will affirm that reading the Bible is vital. Many of these would also say that studying the Scriptures is important. Yet among those who read and study the Bible, there is usually a wide range of beliefs and practices that often conflict with and contradict one another. Is this to be expected and accepted? Or is that a sign that we should re-evaluate our approach in studying the Bible?

Tolbert Fanning (1810-1874) was a preacher from Tennessee who had a strong influence among brethren in the South. In his book The True Method of Searching the Scriptures, he outlined seven rules for studying the Bible. As we consider these rules, we will see that these are not just one man’s opinion; instead, these are some basic principles we need to apply if we are to understand God’s word in the way He intended us to understand it.

So let us briefly consider these seven rules for studying the Bible.Continue Reading

Do Christians Receive Visions from God Today? (Episode 9)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via the podcast question submission form:

Do Christians receive visions from God today?

The Scriptures show us that God has made His will known to man. One method by which He has done this is through visions. We have examples of this being done in both the Old and New Testaments. Does God still reveal His will in this way? If so, how would we know if a particular vision was from God? This is what we discuss in this episode.

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How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Our Lives Today? (Episode 6)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via the podcast question submission form:

How does the Holy Spirit work in our lives today?

The Holy Spirit was sent from heaven to the apostles following the ascension of Christ. He played a vital role in the establishment of the church, beginning on the day of Pentecost. There are several things we can read the Holy Spirit doing in the New Testament, but does He still operate in the same way today? It is an important question for us to consider.

Additional resources:

Do you have a question you would like to submit for a future episode? Fill out the Plain Bible Teaching Podcast question form.

Thanks for listening!

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Thanks.

Pay Attention

Attention

We receive reminders throughout our lives to pay attention – to our spouses, children, parents, teachers, employers, etc. The Bible also emphasizes the importance of paying attention. In this article, we are going to see what we are – and are not – to pay attention to and why it matters.Continue Reading

Why It Is Important to Study the Bible

Bible Study

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

The verses above affirm that the Bible contains the truth and reveals to us the mind of God. Yet it is important to understand that it is not a private diary of God’s thoughts that mankind just happened to discover. The Bible contains revelation. God has not revealed all that He knows, but He has revealed everything He wants us to know. Moses said, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Since God revealed His word for us, what are we to do with it? Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of studying God’s word: “Be diligent [study, KJV] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This is one of the things we must do with the word of God. In this article, we are going to consider seven reasons why studying the Bible is important.Continue Reading

The Message of the Gospel

Romans

In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul described the gospel as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). This verse is often thought of as the theme of Paul’s letter – and for good reason. However, it is also important to note the first few verses of this letter as they introduce this central topic.

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-6).

Since the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), we want to be prepared to talk to others about the gospel – especially those who are unfamiliar with it. The opening verses of the book of Romans provide us with an outline to help us do just that. Let us break down these verses and see how they help explain the message of the gospel.Continue Reading

The Thoughts of God and Man

Man at Sunrise

When we discuss matters of religion or spirituality with others, we will find that many people base their views upon what they think. Even when we might present some clear passage of Scripture to show them a particular point, they will often respond by saying, “Well, I just think…” This is common among those in the world. Sadly, we often see this among brethren within the church as well.

The problem with basing our beliefs and practices on what we think is that we are not God. Even with the best of intentions, what we think does not justify us. This is the idea behind the following text:

‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

‘For as the rain and the snow comes down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it’” (Isaiah 55:8-11).

There is an important difference between God’s thoughts and our thoughts. We must learn to recognize and respect the difference.Continue Reading