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)

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

 
 
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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.

Additional resources:

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Rules for Religious Discussions

Bible Study

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

It is incumbent upon all Christians to be ready to teach others. There are many potential ways to do this. The passage above describes teaching that is done in the course of a discussion – someone “asks you.” These discussions take place in different environments – friendly or hostile, public or private, in person or online, etc. How do we make the best use of our opportunities to discuss the Scriptures with others?

On one hand, we are to “contend earnestly” (Jude 3); on the other hand we must speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We are to “demolish arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV), but “must not be quarrelsome” (2 Timothy 2:24). How do we strike the right balance? We do so by remembering some rules for religious discussions.Continue Reading

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

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

 
 
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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.

Ask for the Ancient Paths

Crossroads

Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it”’” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Jeremiah received a warning from God which he was to deliver to the people – Jerusalem was going to be destroyed! They were going to be punished for their sin since they had departed from the Lord and His ways. In the verse above, the Lord issued a final call for them to return, but they refused.

The Scriptures teach that it is possible for God’s people to fall away today (1 Timothy 4:1). How does this happen? And if we do fall away, how can we return to the “ancient paths”?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

Remembering Jesus’ Words

Pointing at Bible

On the first day of the week following Jesus’ crucifixion, a group of women came to the tomb and discovered it to be empty (Luke 23:55-24:3). Instead of finding the body of Jesus, they saw two angels who explained why Jesus was not there:

Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:5-7).

At this point, Luke indicated that they “remembered His words” (Luke 24:8). After that, they went and told others (Luke 24:9). In other words, remembering what Jesus had said led them to action.

In this article, we are going to discuss why we are to remember Jesus’ words, how to do this, and what we should do with His words once we get to the point of remembering them.Continue Reading