Updated: Feb 9
Conducting scriptural research, in my opinion, is something every follower of the Messiah should do. Though I believe Peter would agree with me.
“But set apart יהוה Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the expectation that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We should do our due diligence and thoroughly examine the scriptures. Do not confine the teachings that bring blessings and life to a small section of your life. Treat it as a student, a proper student, treats a research paper. I remember in college spending hours in the library, pouring through books and articles. To gather enough information to write a compelling, in my case historical, paper on a particular subject.
Below I have listed five key components that have helped me when doing research. There are, of course, other means of conducting research and many more to be listed. These five, however, have been fundamental to me, and I hope they help you in your studies as well.
The Fundamental of Scriptural Research
We have to start somewhere when studying the Bible, and while study Bibles can be useful, they can also be chocked full of erroneous teachings, and for that reason, I typically stay away from them. I do have several translations in my possessions, KJV, The Scriptures, The Cepher, along with numerous online translations. When I turn to the Bible, I don’t want someone else’s commentary to be right up against the verses. True, that as I read, I might have a respected teacher’s thoughts on the passage in mind or a couple of teachers for that fact, but without their direct influence, I can read the scriptures with me in the driver’s seat. Now without further ado let's break down five tips for scriptural research.
Five Tips for Scriptural Research:
Terminology- learning the vocabulary associated with the Bible is paramount to understanding the message being conveyed. What is favor? What are tablets? What are angels? Thankfully the Bible does a fine job of explaining its terms, however, there are times when we have to seek out the definition. Terminology extends beyond simply learning the vocabulary, it also entails how the Hebrew language functions, which in turn leads to Hebraic thought. Something within the same vein as terminology is learning the people of the Bible. The best part about learning terminology and people is that it happens organically as one reads and studies.
Techniques- The methods used to conduct research. This entails writings notes when reading or watching a video. Finding counter arguments to develop a well-rounded idea of the topic, one such topic that is hot right now is the timeline and in particular the Millennial Reign. Get a whiteboard and brainstorm or create a diagram that helps put your thoughts in order. Spend time meditating on the word. Create a list of all the times a word is used in the Bible. Develop a method for reading the Bible, such as following the yearly Torah portions.
Likeminded People- Finding others who are of a similar mindset will greatly increase your research progress. It's why people create study groups, beyond the comradery of course. Unfortunately, this can be difficult as many of us are physically separated from other Hebrews. Thankfully, online ministries have done an excellent job of helping bridge that gap. While it won’t replace the same feeling of being in person with other Hebrews, it does provide a connection that otherwise would not be there.
Mentor- This is a very special relationship, so rare that, at least in my case, I have truly ever found one. A mentor is someone who is more personal than a typical teacher. They will push you well beyond your limits, pass on their knowledge to you, chastise you when you mess up, and keep you on track. Think of the relationship between Yeshua and his disciples, it’s the best example I can give.
Context- You’ve probably heard it said before “context, context, context.” As a history student, it was drilled into me, and when it comes to studying the scriptures, it remains true. We cannot take verses in isolation or try to make a verse mean something that the original author never meant to convey. The Bible defines sin as transgressing the Torah (1 John 3:4), sin can never mean anything other than that. Yet, there are many Biblical ‘scholars’ who make sin to be whatever it is they don’t like. Terminology and context work congruently, and likewise, it’s a skill that is built up over time.
There's no time like the present to get started, and really when it comes to something so crucial to our relationship with the Father, why wait another day? In today’s age we have access to so many resources, please do not take this for granted. You arrived on this earth precisely when you were meant to, utilize what is available to you. For you never know when things will change. Studying might not seem fun at first, and it will eat away at your free time, but it is well worth the effort. May the Ruach Hakodesh guide you in your studies.
“It is the esteem of Elohim to hide a matter, And the esteem of sovereigns to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2)
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