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

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

Our Attitude Toward God’s Word (Sermon #42)

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Our Attitude Toward God's Word (Sermon #42)

We’re in between season 12 and season 13. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on March 3, 2019 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Also, if you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating on iTunes or Stitcher. This also helps others hear about the podcast. Thanks.

The Problem with Division

Division

The first of many problems that Paul addressed in his first letter to Corinth was that of division. There were factions that had developed within the church as the brethren became loyal to different teachers (1 Corinthians 1:12). Paul appealed for them to have unity. He did so by explaining what the problem is with division.

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Let us consider what Paul taught in the passage above.Continue Reading

The Importance of Faith (Part 5): Understanding

The Importance of Faith (Part 5): Understanding

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

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The Psalm of the Word (Part 13): Understanding

The Psalm of the Word

O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.

I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.

How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

(Psalm 119:97-104)

God meant for His word to be understood and it can be understood by anyone. Furthermore, with the right attitude, we can continue to progress in our understanding, even to the point that we surpass those who might be expected to be “older and wiser” than we are. So let us consider what the psalmist said about the understanding we gain from God’s word.
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