Examples of Bible Study Methods

Arthur G. Clarke

Part 4 of 4 of the series Bible Study

I. THE  ANALYTICAL  METHOD

a. a study of the first epistle to timothy

It is recommended that a biographical study of Timothy should first be made. Then study Paul's two letters to him. INTRODUCTION. I. 1-2. (i) Address, i-2a; (ii) Greeting, 26.

Analysis

1.  The Assembly of God, 1. 3 to 3.13. Extent of Timothy's Mission.

1. Safeguarding Assembly Orthodoxy, 1. 3-20. Sound Doctrine.

a.   Its Character, 3-11. Relation of the Law and the Gospel.

b.   Its Transmission, 12-20.

i. Paul's Commission, 12-17.

ii. Timothy's Charge, 18-20.

2. Safeguarding Assembly Order, 2. 1-15.

a.   In the Matter of Prayers, 1-10.

b.   In the Manner of Women, 11-15.

3. Safeguarding Assembly Oversight, 3. 1-13.

a.   Qualifications and Functions of Overseers, 1-7.

b.  Qualifications and  Functions of  Deacons   (i.e.  servants), 8-13.

2.  The Servant of God, 3. 14 to 6. 19. Exercise of Timothy's Ministry.

i. His Walk in the Assembly, 3. 14 to 4. 16. Personal Behaviour.

a.   In Relation to Truth, 3. 14-16. Mystery of Godliness.

b.   In Relation to Error, 4. 1-5. Manifestation of Apostasy.

c.   In Relation to Believers, 4. 6-16. Merits of Godliness.

i, Exhortation to Exercise in Godliness, 6-xo.

ii. Exhortation to Exercise of Gift, 11-16.

ii. His Work in the Assembly, 5. 1 to 6. 19. Official Business.

a.  In Relation to the Members, 5. 1 to 6. 2.

i. Men, v. 1;

it. Women, v. 2;

iii. Widows, 3-16;

iv. Elders, 17-25; (parenthetical, v. 23).

v. Bondservants, 6. 1-2.

b.  In Relation to False Teachers, 6. 3-10.

c.   In Relation to Himself, 6. 11-16.

d.   In Relation to the Rich, 6. 17-19.

e.   In Relation to the Deposit, 6. 20-210.

CONCLUSION. Benediction, 2.16.

B.   A  STUDY  OF PSALM  THIRTY-TWO. The Pardoned Penitent

INTRODUCTION. This is the second of the seven so-called penitential Psalms. It was written by David and almost certainly after his great sin recorded in 2 Samuel, chapters 11-12. For nearly a year he obstinately resisted the accusings of conscience and prob­ably suffered ailment of body (see vv. 3-4) until Nathan's message cut him to the heart. Psalm 51 seems to express David's first suppli­cations for pardon, this 32nd Psalm being written later for die instruc­tion of others in fulfilment of his resolve, 51. 13. The reality of David's repentance is seen in that he, a king, should commit to the chief musician for the use of the temple choir at public services, a Psalm relating to his own sin and shame. The only other comparable case is that of Nebuchadnezzar's confession recorded in Daniel 4.

Analysis Note the inverted structure, a common feature in Hebrew poetry.

1.  David's Commendation, 1-2. Happiness of the saints extolled.

2.  David's Confession,  3-7. The Way of Restoration.

i. His Affliction, 3-4. Selah.

ii. His Admission, 5.

iii. His Absolution, 5. Selah.

iv. His  Admonition,   6.

v. His Appropriation, 7. Selah.

3.  Jehovah's Communication, 8-9. Central Section.

4.   David's Conviction, 10. The Warning against Rebellion.

i. Misery for the Rebellious, 10a.

ii. Mercy for the Righteous, 10b. Note the contrasted lot.

5.   David's Conclusion, 11. Happiness of the saints expressed. Mate. The above is taken from the writer's book Analytical Studies in the Psalms published by Messrs. John Ritchie, Ltd., Kilmarnock.

II.   THE SECTIONAL METHOD

the crucifixion chapter

Luke 23 PARAGRAPHS

1.  Jesus before the Governor, Luke, 23. 1-7.

2.  Jesus before the Tetrarch, 8-12.

3.  Jesus delivered to Death, 13-25.

4.  Jesus followed to Calvary, 26-32.

5.  Jesus nailed to the Cross, 33-38.

6.  Jesus saves a Criminal, 39-43.

7.  Jesus passes through the Crisis, 44-49.

8.  Jesus laid in the Tomb, 50-56.

 

Key Verse - 'They crucified him', 33.

The above may be amplified in a more detailed analysis as follows:

1.  Jesus before tiie Governor, 1-7.

i. The Council's Determination, 1.

ii. The Changed Accusation, 2. Found - a judicial term; their statement was quite untrue for die charge before the council had been one of blasphemy. Matt. 26. 63-66. Now He is charged with sedition on three counts,

a.   perverting the nation

b.   opposing the payment of tribute, and

c.   proclaiming His royalty.

iii. The Direct Interrogation, 3.

iv. The Saviour's Affirmation, 3.

v. The Just Decision, 4.

vi. The Immediate Opposition, 5.

vii. The Governor's Vacillation, 6-7.

 

2.  Jesus before the Tetrarch, 8-12.

i. The   Tetrarch's  Administration,   7.   Herod   Antipas  ruled over Galilee and Peraea. He was  probably  at  Jerusalem for the Passover.

ii. The  Trifler's Gratification, 8.  Herod  insulted  our  Lord by treating Him as a mere wonder-worker.

iii. The Extended Examination, 9.

iv. The Dignified Reservation, 9.

v. The Vehement Accusation, 10.

vi. The Cynical Insinuation, 11.

vii. The Dishonourable Reconciliation, 12. Circumstances suggest that the former estrangement had been due to a matter of disputed jurisdiction.

 

3.  Jesus delivered to Death, 13-35.

i. Fateful Convocation of the Religious Leaders, 13.

ii. Firm Declaration of the Saviour's Innocence, 14-15.

iii. Feeble Indication of the Governor's Desire, 16.

iv. Fanatical Prosecution of the Jews' Purpose, 18-19.

v. Futile Disputation with the Angry Mob. 20-22.

vi. Final Submission to the Popular Will, 23-24.

vii. Flagrant Violation of the Lawful Procedure, 25.  Delivering the innocent to death and releasing the guilty.

 

4.  Jesus followed to Calvary,  26-32.

 Contrast the triumphal procession of a few days before, 19. 37-40.

i. A Conscripted Cross-bearer, 26.

ii. A Curious Crowd, 27.

iii. A Crying Company, 27. These women probably included many of our Lord's true friends, who bewailed the sorrowful late of the Just One.

iv. A Compassionate Counsel, 28.

v. A Coming Cataclysm, 29-30. A destructive earthquake to be preferred 10 the divine wrath.

vi. A Challenging Consideration, 31. If Jerusalem could work such evil in days of vigorous national growth, what would happen in her dry, withered state following the national judgement He foresaw? (see 19. 41-44).

vii. A Criminal Couple, 32.

5.  Jesus nailed to the Cross, 33-38.

i. A Significant Place, 33. A place called 'The Skull'. It was outside the wall of the city on the north side (see Heb. 13. 11-14)-

ii. A Cruel Punishment, 33. 'They crucified him'. Said by some to be the most agonizing form of death man has ever devised for criminals.

iii. A Wonderful Prayer, 34. Divine forgiveness was to be based

not on their ignorance but upon His sacrifice.

iv. A Callous Proceeding, 34.

v. A Beholding Populace, 35.

vi. A Mocking Partnership, 35-37. Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers. Their mockery expressed wonderful truth.

vii. A Written Proclamation, 38. Ironically intended, yet a true testimony.

6.  Jesus saves a Criminal, 39-47.

i. His Evil Life, 32. Implied in the term 'malefactor'.

ii. His Just Condemnation, 41. Self-confessed.

iii. His Earlier Reviling, Matt. 27. 44.

iv. His Sincere Repentance, 40-42. He may possibly have known something about our Lord previously, but now he had observed His unexampled meekness; he had heard His supplications and noted the filial concern for Mary. More­over, this dying robber had listened to the taunts of our Lord's foes, and from them had learned that Jesus was a Saviour, v. 35; a Man who trusted God, Matt. 27. 41; One who claimed to be the Son of God, Matt. 27. 43; the King of Israel, Matt. 27. 42 (cf. the superscription on the cross), and Messiah, God's Chosen One, Luke 23. 35.

v. His Remarkable Faith, 42. It was greater at that time than the faith of the disciples. He saw beyond the cross to the crown, beyond the suffering to the glory.

vi. His Intelligent Appeal, 42.

vii. His Assured Salvation, 43. Founded upon the work and word of the Saviour; certainly not upon baptism by any mode, or upon partaking of 'the Communion' and other so-called 'means of grace'!

 

7.  Jesus passes through the Crisis, 44-49.

i. The Supernatural Darkness, 44-450.

ii. The Sanctuary Sign, 45b. (Luke's order not always chrono­logical, see Mark 15. 38).

iii. The Significant Cry, 46a (cf. Mark 15. 37 with John 19. 30).

iv. The Spirit's Dismissal, 46. A voluntary act!

v. The Soldier's Conviction, 47.

vi. The Stricken Multitudes, 48.

vii. The Sorrowing Friends,   49.

8. Jesus laid in the Tomb, 50-56.

Here was God's provision for, and protection of, the precious body of His Son.

i. The Chosen Agent, 50-51.

ii. The Courageous Appeal, 52.

iii. The Costly Arrangements, 53-54.

iv. The Counsellor's Allies, 55-56.

The faithful women. Note

a.   Their common origin - Galilee;

b.   their consistent following, contrast the men;

c.   their close attention;

d.   their careful preparations;

e.  their conscientious observance, 56.

III.   THE  TOPICAL   METHOD

SUBJECT - JUSTIFICATION

I. Concise Definition. In the New Testament justification is that judicial act of God whereby He justly pronounces righteous one whose faith rests in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2.  Further Explanation. In general use the word may be referred to words and deeds or to persons. Here we are concerned only with the last. In reference to persons, in Scripture it is seen as a law-term connected with trial and judgement. It is opposed to

a.   condemnation. Matt. 12. 37 (sec Deut. 25.  1; 1  Kings 8. 32).

b.   both accusation and condemnation, Rom. 8. 33-34.

An earthly tribunal may vindicate an innocent person, pronouncing him to be blameless of the charge brought against him. The court may acquit a person strongly suspected of breaking the law, on the ground that the evidence produced is insufficient to convict. A competent authority may pardon one fully convicted of violating the law, modifying or even remitting the penalty. But God alone can justify an acknowledged sinner, and in doing so act consistently with His character as infinitely holy and eternally just. It should be stated that this justification is not by the importation of personal righteousness but by imputation of righteousness. In other words, it does not signify a real change in the character of the person (though this will soon be seen as a fruit of justification, Rom. 8. 4), but is a change in his standing before God, who accounts and accepts him as a righteous one. How this comes about is set forth in the following outline.

3.  Effectual Operation. It concerns guilty sinners - all, Rom. 3. 23-24.

i. Justified by God - the Efficient Cause, Rom. 3. 26; 8. 33; Jas. 4. 12.

ii. Justified by  Grace  -  the Divine  Impulse,  Rom.  3.  24; Titus 3. 4-7.

iii. Justified by Christ - the Competent Agent,  Acts   13. 39; Gal. 2. 17 (cf. Isa. 53. 11; Rom. 5. 19; 1 Cor. 1. 30).

iv. Justified by Blood - the Effective Means, Rom. 3. 24-25; 5. 9; 1 Pet. 3. 18. On earth our Lord vindicated the Law by fulfilling its holy requirements in His life and, by bearing its curse in His vicarious death, Gal. 3. 13, obtained eternal redemption, Heb. 9. 12.

v. Justified by Faith - the Sole Condition, Acts 13. 39; Rom. 3. 28-30; 4. 4-5; 5. 1; Gal. 2. 16. This is the principle before God; contrast paragraph 6. 11 is not by:

a.   Works, Rom. 4. 1-8 (cf. Titus 3. 5-8).

b.  Law-keeping, Rom. 4. 13-25; Acts 13. 39 (cf. Gal. 3.  11; 5. 4-6; Rom. 10.4), which is utterly impossible because neither Jew nor Gentile can keep the whole Law in­violate because of a sinful nature (the Law can only condemn the guilty, Rom. 3. 20; Jas. 2. 10);

c.  Ordinances,   Rom.   4.  9-12, whether  Jewish   circumcision, or church sacraments;

d.  Conscience, 1 Cor. 4. 4, for a man may be guilty though ignorant, and time may bring forgetfulness.

vi. Justified by Works - the Visible Evidence, Jas. 2. 2iff. This is the proof before men; contrast preceding para­graph.

vii. Justified by Death - the Personal Identification, Rom. 6. 7 and context. The believing sinner having suffered in the person of his Substitute the full penalty of the Law, the Law has no further claim and sin has no longer the dominion. God will permit no being in the universe to bring a charge against such a one, Rom. 8. 1; 8. 33-34. The risen Christ is pledge of the believer's justification, Rom. 4. 25 (for in both occurrences signifies because of).

4.  Universal Application, Rom. 3. 23-24; 29-30; Gal. 3. 6-8.

5.  Scripture Illustration.

i. Abraham, Rom. 4. 1-3;

a.  his faith, (cf. Gen. 15. 6; Jas. 2. 23IT);

b.  his works, Gen. 22. 1-19 (cf. Jas. 2. 21).

ii. Rahab, Heb. 11. 31 with Jas. 2. 25.

iii. The Penitent Publican, Luke 18. 14. He had in mind the atoning blood of the sacrifice on the altar before him, v. 13 (lit. 'God be propitiated to me the sinner' - so r.v.m.). Appropriation by faith.

iv. The Penitent Prostitute, Luke 7. Christ justified her before men by pointing Simon to her works, 45-47; but in order to give her peace He pointed to that which justified her before God, namely, her faith, 50.

6.  Wonderful Conclusion

i. Present Peace, Rom. 5. 1; note sevenfold results, 1-5.

ii. Prospective Glory, Rom. 8. 30.

CONCORDANCES. Apropos the reference to The Englishman's Concordance on page 54, March-April issue, we are grateful to a reader for pointing out that this work is now available in two volumes: the Old Testament, £4 10,1. 0d.; the New Testament, £2 5s. 0d.