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BOOK AND BOOKLETSRead the BOOKby David Jon Hill
More than seven million copies sold last year.
different companies print this Book and the total number of hundreds of
millions of copies printed and distributed is impossible to estimate.
It has now been translated into over 1400 different languages.
Consistently every year's best seller by a very wide margin, the Bible
is the most-printed\ most-purchased\ most freely distributed,
little-read and certainly least-understood book known to man! Bruce
Barton referred to it as "The Book Nobody Knows." You need to know this
Book; to know it you have to read it.
Why are there so
many Bibles? If you could make a survey of the use of the myriad
millions of Bibles that have been printed, the results would astound
you. Think about it a minute — what are all those Bibles being used for?
every family has its Bible. Many a person has been able to trace his
ancestry, perhaps establish the date of his own birth, from the records
kept in the pages of the Family Bible. Long before governments required
record-keeping for their citizens, the Family Bible was the depository
for the statistics of marriages, births and deaths — and in many
instances that Family Bible was passed on from generation to generation.
preacher has a Bible, or Bibles. Bibles are used, or at least appear,
at marriages, funerals and church services. Bibles occupy lonely vigils
on the mantelpiece, the coffee table, the bedside light stand or
somewhere else where it would appear that they are in daily use.
a Bible lies in lonely isolation in a hotel or motel room — its cover
stained with coffee or highball rings, its pages never opened!
the courts of the land (which cherish the principle of separation of
church and state) Bibles were formerly part of the legal paraphernalia
of every trial. Witnesses were once required to place their hands on
this black Book, raise their right hands toward the ceiling and say: "I
swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so
help me God." Strangely enough, inside the covers of that Bible, the
One who inspired all of its 33 major authors over a period of about
1600 years, that One we call Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is quoted as
commanding His followers, "But I say unto you, swear not at all! ...
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is
more than these cometh of evil!" (Matt. 5:34-37.) Perhaps the people
who devised this procedure never read the Book?!
Jesus had the
same problem with the lawyers and preachers of His day. They were
supposed to be great students of the Book, disciples of Moses, sons of
David, followers of Abraham. They had spent great portions of
then-lives memorizing and learning by rote the million or so words of
tradition attached to the Book by their venerable fathers. They knew
Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Chaldean and probably Egyptian hieroglyphics
inside out and upside down. But somehow they missed the point. They
couldn't see eye to eye with the One Abraham, Moses and David
worshipped and wrote about so prolifically. Therefore Christ's constant
advice to these great scholars was simply to "Read the Book." (Matt.
12:3,5; 19:4; 21:16,42; 22:31; Mark 2:25; 12:10,26; Luke 6:3.)
"The Simplicity of Christ"
friend and worshipper of Christ — Isaiah — summed up the problem that
seems to face mankind in every generation. Mankind, presented with the
instruction book from His Creator, is reluctant to apply its
principles. The wise, educated and learned men, from the depths of
their book-lined studies, look down their erudite noses at the One who
says, "Please read this Book," and respond to Him, "I can't read that
book because it's sealed — it wasn't meant to be understood or applied
literally. It's just an archaic collection of superstitions whose
meanings have been lost from us today." Take the same Book to the man
in the street, ask him to read the Book and he replies, "I haven't got
any education. How can I understand what's in the Book?" (See Isaiah
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do
honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear
toward me is taught by the precept of men ..." (Isaiah 29:13). People
like to give the appearance of being religious. They like to have their
pomp and ceremony — they like to have their ceremonial Bible — but they
don't want to apply it to their own lives. The same God who inspired
Isaiah, inspired Paul to write, "They profess that they know God; but
in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto
every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16).
People who are in
control of the ecclesiastical and political machinery want to impress
upon the masses the opinion that the Word of God cannot be understood,
and certainly not by any layman. If this impression were not given and
the Bible were read as the plain-spoken instruction book from God to
man, then people would soon see that there are many things being done
in high places which were in direct contradiction to the Word of God
taken plainly for exactly what it says! This would never do!
The average fellow on the street doesn't want to bother to read the Book from his Creator for at least two reasons:
He feels that the professionals in the field of religion should be able
to read and interpret for him whatever message God might have.
Deep down he may be afraid that he would discover something in the
message of his Master which would require him to change his mode of
Therefore, almost everybody overlooks the simple request of Christ — "Read the Book!"
The Bible Says
"The SOUL that sinneth, it shall DIE"! (Ezekiel 18:4, 20.)
"If a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him."
(I Corinthians 11:14.)
shall NOT surely die"! (Genesis 3:4.) That was Satan talking to Eve —
and most of Eve's children have believed that Bible-recorded, Satanic
lie of an "immortal soul" ever since!
"The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. " (Mark 2:28.)
Jesus Christ said: "NO MAN hath ascended up to heaven"! (John 3:13.)
Jesus Christ said: "Think NOT that I am come to send peace on earth . . . " (Matthew 10:34).
The Apostle Paul kept the seventh-day Sabbath as a Christian custom (Acts 17:2).
Christ said He spoke in parables to HIDE "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13:10-13).
The Bible Nowhere Says
The soul is immortal — the words "immortal soul" are not found in the Bible.
That the heavens and the earth are only 6,000 years old.
That heaven is the reward of the saved.
That Sunday is "The LORD >S DA Y."
fell" nor does it use the expression "the fall of man" — but Jesus
said, "/ beheld SATAN as lightning FALL from heaven." (Luke 10:18.)
should be observed. The only two birthday parties mentioned in the
Bible — Pharaoh's and Herod's — resulted in someone being executed.
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
"Spare the rod and spoil the child."
The sinful dead suffer for eternity in the burning fires of hell.
The Old Testament Says
"The Lord will give grace and glory" — Psalm 84:11.
"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your HE A RT" — Deuteronomy 10:16.
"I have waited for thy salvation, 0 Lord"
— Genesis 49:18.
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"
— Leviticus 19:18.
"And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness" — Genesis 15:6.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" — Deuteronomy 6:5.
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant" — Jeremiah 31:31.
" What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" — Micah 6:8.
The New Testament Says
Christ judges and makes war — Revelation 19:11.
Think NOT (Christ said) that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets — Matthew 5:17.
There remaineth therefore a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God — Hebrews 4:9.
of his [Christ's] mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should
smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he
treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" —
"The doers of the law shall be justified" — Romans 2:13.
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" — Matthew 19:17.
"But wilt thou know, 0 vain man, that faith without works is dead?" — James 2:20.
A Good Example
the best example of this reasoning applied is regarding the book of
Revelation. We are told by clerics and scholars that the book of
Revelation is rife with symbols, allegories and similes — weird visions
of beasts of fantasy — hidden in deep meanings which cannot be
understood. We are told the book of Revelation is veiled, hidden and
sealed — that nobody can really understand it — and that certainly it
couldn't be applied to anyone's personal life or Today's World!
Therefore it is recommended that you not bother to read it as it will
just confuse you. Some even go so far as to claim that too much Bible
study will drive you insane! And certainly the adherents to this
general belief about the book of Revelation would agree that the book
of Revelation fits this statement more than any other Bible book. In
addition, the comments men have added to your Bible will probably show
this last book as being titled: "The Revelation of St. John the Divine."
let's try an experiment. Let's just follow the instruction of our
Saviour and "read the Book." Sure enough, my King James translation of
the Bible says on page 326, "The Revelation of St. John the Divine."
However when I "read the Book" I discover that in chapter one, verse
one — which is the inspired Word of God and not some title man has
placed upon it — it says, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ"!
think just a minute. We only read the first part of one sentence of the
Book and it has in plain, straightforward language contradicted the
opinion of the scholars. 1) It is not the revelation of St. John — he
is merely the scribe of the One who is giving the revelation — Jesus
Christ. 2) It is however, called, "Revelation." Now, this is a correct
translation of the original Greek, so let's check our dictionaries and
see what the title of this book means. According to Webster's Seventh
New Collegiate Dictionary, "revelation" means "An act of revealing or
communicating divine truth; an act of revealing to view of something
that is revealed, especially an enlightening or astonishing disclosure."
Isn't that amazing? No definition given to indicate veiled, hidden or sealed!
read this book some more. In verse three it says, "Blessed is he that
readeth"! Your Creator Jesus Christ pronounces a direct blessing on you
if you read the words of this book — and indeed the same blessing
applies to every other word which He has written (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).
It would seem that Jesus had some reason for advising scholars and
laymen alike to simply read the words which they professed they held as
their Holy Book — to simply read those words, believe them and do them!
Let's read the rest of that third verse and then continue, "Blessed is
he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and
keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
Something Old and Something New
great body of "believers" in the Old Testament will try to inform you
that the New Testament is not for them. The great body of "believers"
of the New Testament will tell you the same thing about the Old.
Don't believe either!
Jesus Christ was being tempted by Satan the devil, all His answers to
that wily, subtle being came straight from the Word which He had
inspired His holy men of old to write. The very first statement that He
countered Satan with is recorded in Matthew 4, verse 4. "It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God." Christ was always using this expression, "It
is written." This particular statement, which is New Testament to the
core, came from the heart of the Law in the book of Deuteronomy,
chapter 8, verse 3. Read that Book!
Jesus' simple advice to the
supposed religious ones of His day was, "Search the scriptures; for in
them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of
me.... For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he
wrote of me" (John 5:39, 46).
Besides all these reasons direct from our Creator, there are many other reasons to read this Book.
It's a consistent best seller every year.
As a literary work it is the most remarkable book the world has ever seen and its most ancient!
It stands unique among all books for its historical value alone.
is at least claimed as the basis for all Judeo-Christian societies and
so involves all Western civilization and much of the rest of the world.
It has contained within its pages many straight-forward, plain, practical, simple pieces of advice on the conduct of daily life that are priceless.
Famous people from history comment:
me liberty or give me death!" said Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry also
said, "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."
father of the United States of America — George Washington — bluntly
stated: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and
Queen Victoria, at the helm of Great Britain when it
became Great, stoutly claimed, "That book accounts for the supremacy of
England!" And only by reading deeply in the pages of Scripture can you
fully appreciate the truth of that statement!
Herschel put it this way: "All human discoveries seem to be made only
for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths
contained in the Sacred Scriptures." Ambassador College has inscribed
in stone at its Academic Center a motto which echoes this in different
words: "The Word of God is the foundation of all knowledge." Lord
Tennyson stressed it this way: "Bible reading is an education in
How to Read the Book
you can read the Book, you have to have the Book. Just in case you do
not have a Bible available, let me point out that you can purchase one
of fine quality for less than a dollar from your local Salvation Army
depot. Used Bibles are inexpensive — and as books go, used Bibles are
very little used.
Silly as it may seem, I suggest that you begin
reading this Book with the first chapter on page one. "In the beginning
God created..." (Genesis 1:1). To begin reading any book which
contained 1,189 chapters by beginning on chapter 930 (Matthew) would
seem rather strange, wouldn't it? So, casting all prejudices aside, how
about beginning to read at the beginning like any other book and just
read it through as rapidly as you can — don't bother about studying now
— don't bother about solving problems now — just read the Book!
you read at a bare minimum of slightly over 200 words a minute, and if
you spend just ten minutes a day in this reading of the Bible, you will
have completed your reading from Genesis through Revelation — you will
have read the 773,746 words of Scripture by this time next year!
course as you read, you may get quite interested and spend more than
ten minutes and therefore finish the Book sooner! There are all kinds
of interesting things in the Bible, and as you get into it, you'll find
it just as hard to put down as any gripping novel any author might put
together. History, intrigue, sex, violence, poetry, logic, reason,
prophecy — all march with quick tread through the pages of the Bible.
quickly become acquainted with the main characters — Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Malachi,
Matthew, Jesus, John and Paul! These and many more we have no space to
mention here (Hebrews 11:32). All these people living through events
that seem so ancient will have direct meaning for you. All those events
which occurred to those men in the distant past happened, and are
written and preserved for us to read, so that we would profit from
reading their examples in this last day of mankind before the
intervention of Jesus Christ! (I Cor. 10:6-11.)
Surprises in Store for You
discover that the Old Testament is neither done away, dead, or for that
matter even "Old"! You will discover that there is a tremendous amount
of New Testament in the Old Testament and an amazing amount of Old in
the New Testament! You'll run across many statements, perhaps some in
every chapter, which in plain, simple Bible language (like we read in
Revelation) will contradict what you have always believed the Bible
said. Just because some preacher pounds the pulpit and says, "The Bible
says ...," doesn't mean that the Bible does indeed say that. Jesus'
admonition to anyone like that is the same as it was to the Bible
pounders of His day — "Read the Book!"
As you read along, there will be questions that come
to mind. I suggest that you take a pencil and draw a faint line in the
margin where the question comes, so that later you will be able to go
back and begin solving some of these questions. However, many of those
questions will be solved by simply reading through the Book.
you determine to read the Book, it will be the most rewarding thing
you've done in a long time. Every article that you read in The Plain
Truth and other literature you receive from Ambassador College will
come alive more than ever before. You will for the first time be able
to follow the example of the Bereans as mentioned in Acts 17:10-11,
where they listened to what Paul had to say when he preached the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. Then they "searched the scriptures daily" to confirm
the things he said.
You will experience a special joy that comes
from realizing that the most simple mind, guided by the Spirit of God,
can understand God's plain-spoken, simple, straightforward Truth!
You'll begin to feel like King David who said, "O how love I thy law!
it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast
made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more
understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my
meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy
precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might
keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast
taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than
honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore
I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:97-104).
Even if you have
read parts of the Book before, I still suggest that you read right
through from the beginning to the end as rapidly as possible. Get the
flow and the feeling of the Book your Creator wrote to you.
personal request — I would appreciate very much hearing from you to
know whether or not you are indeed going to read the Book. And when you
finish, I would very sincerely appreciate hearing that you have
accomplished what you set out to do.
One more, and most
important thing. God tells us through Isaiah the attitude we should
have as we read His Book: "But to this man will I look, even to him
that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word... Hear
the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that
hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be
glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed"
May God richly bless you as you read the Book!
Man Died to Bring You the Book
The Bible was preserved by the blood of courageous, God-led men through the centuries.
a record. For you and me. To read. It took a slow, agonizing, painful
process to put together, preserve, and place in your hands the present
printed English text of Old and New Testaments we call "the Bible. "
The Old Testament portion of Scripture is a record of the lives of men
and women of faith. Of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob,
Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Deborah, Samson, Jephthah, David,
Samuel, and many others. Without their lives, there would be no Old
Testament — there would be no scripture "written for our learning"
(Rom. 1 5:4).
What sort of lives did they live so you could hold
in your hands this God-inspired volume? Read it for yourself in Hebrews
1 1:33-38. They through faith "conquered kingdoms, ruled in justice and
proved the truth of God's promises. They shut the mouths of lions, they
quenched the furious blaze of fire, they escaped from death itself.
From being weaklings they became strong men and mighty warriors; they
routed whole armies of foreigners. Women received their dead raised to
life again, while others were tortured and refused to be ransomed,
because they wanted to deserve a more honorable resurrection in the
world to come. Others were exposed to the test of public mockery and
floggings, and to the torture of being left bound in prison. They were
killed by stoning, by being sawn in two; they were tempted by specious
promises of release and then were killed with the sword. Many became
refugees with nothing but sheepskins or goatskins to cover them. They
lost everything and yet were spurned and ill-treated by a world that
was too evil to see their worth" (Phillips Translation).
scribes carefully and faithfully preserved every 'jot and tittle' of
the Hebrew record, as did Greek scribes for the New Testament. Never
was the task easy.
Periodic Roman persecutions against
Christians were directed also against this Book. Diocletian, in perhaps
the most severe attempt to destroy Christianity, ordered the burning of
all its sacred books in the year 303; — yet the Scriptures survived .
Constantine, Imperial attacks against the Bible came to art end, and
Jerome's Vulgate translation into Latin at the end of the fourth
century became the accepted standard of the Western world. But the day
of persecution was ' not over
In the 1500's. Tyndale was forced
to go to Germany to do his translation of the New Testament from the
original Greek. Church authorities in England had prohibited a new
English translation. In 1536, only eleven years after he finished the
first printed English New Testament, Tyndale was strangled and burned
at the stake for his efforts, after a year's imprisonment at Vilvorde.
also found it dangerous to be too closely identified with the
translation Or circulation of the English Bible. Coverdale narrowly
escaped with his life. Cranmer and Rogers were brought to the stake;
many others sought safety in flight. Even men who bought or sold these
early English Bibles were threatened, sometimes tried for heresy, some
times put to death
Many were martyred to give us the book we
could so carelessly lay aside. Their sacrifice becomes worthwhile only
if we make it worthwhile by learning its lessons through diligent study!
Here's how you can REMEMBER SCRIPTURES
I just can't remember scriptures!" is the anguished cry of many who do
read the Book. Just how important is the ability to memorize hundreds
of verses? And how can you develop and improve your ability to recall
Many have suffered needless frustration
because of fruitless efforts to retain certain passages of Scripture in
their memory. Perhaps you have tried and repeatedly failed to commit to
memory important verses from our Maker's Instruction Book.
Is Memorizing Word for Word Necessary?
understand that salvation does not depend on one's ability to quote
chapter and verse from the Bible! If it did, it is conceivable that
none of the original apostles and authors of the New Testament would
ever have qualified for the Kingdom of God!
Why? Because in the
days of the twelve apostles and the writers of the New Testament, the
Old Testament writings had not yet been divided into chapters and
verses. In fact, it was not done until long after those men were all
The sole exception to this was the Book of Psalms. The
Psalms are actually songs. They were composed by a number of authors
and originally intended to be set to music. Therefore it was necessary
to divide them into chapters and verses for musical and poetical
expediency. And as songs, of course, they were intended to be
memorized. For ease of memorization the verses were sometimes arranged
Now consider this fact: The New
Testament authors quoted directly from the Psalms 116 times — yet in
only one instance did they mention the chapter from which they were
quoting! This one case is Acts 13:33: "... as it is also written in the
second psalm...." The remaining quotes from the Psalms make no mention
of either the chapter or the verse.
Other than those from the
Psalms, the New Testament contains 167 more direct quotations from the
Old Testament and, of course, no chapter or verse is referred to in a
single instance. In some cases, when quoting from the Old Testament,
the speaker or writer did not even mention the name of the person or
the book he was citing. Take, for example, the time when Jesus Christ
was being tempted by the devil. Jesus quoted directly from the Book of
Deuteronomy, which was written by Moses, yet he did not even mention
the author or the name of the book! Check that for yourself in Matthew
4:4, 7 and 10. In other instances where the prophets of old are
referred to, they are simply mentioned by name, but, of course, no
verses or chapters are given. For some examples, read Matthew 2:17;
8:17; Luke 4:17.
The Bible was not divided into chapters until
about 1250 A.D. when Cardinal Hugo composed a Latin concordance or
index of the Scriptures. Over 300 years later, in 1560 A.D., the first
Bible translation wholly divided into chapters and verses was produced
in Geneva, Switzerland. It was known as The Geneva Bible.
should be apparent, then, that the ability to quote chapter and verse
from the Bible like a human computer is not necessary. If, however, a
person is gifted with an exceptional memory for scriptures, it is
certainly to his advantage if he exercises his ability in right
humility for an honorable purpose. There is absolutely nothing wrong
with having an excellent memory!
It IS Important to Retain Knowledge
are told to "grow in grace and in knowledge" (II Peter 3:18). As
Christians, we should be continually increasing our knowledge of God's
Word. Peter also instructs us, "... be ready always to give an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with
meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15).
Memory is therefore one of the
important attributes that God has given to humans. For most people,
however, remembering does not come easy. It seems many have difficulty
retaining even the simplest things! Perhaps you have that difficulty.
so, then you can take heart from this fact: Even though most of the
Bible was not originally written with chapters and verses, the Bibles
we use today are! And since they are, we can certainly take advantage
of this valuable aspect of modern translations.
chapter and verse divisions do make it easier to locate the scriptures
we need, and to do it in a systematic way without having to wade
through whole books and sections of the Bible to find them. By
increasing our memory of scripture locations, we can improve our
overall knowledge of God's Word and be better able to "rightly divide
the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15).
We should stand in awe of the
authority of the scriptures inspired by the great Creator of mankind!
We should tremble before the Word of the living God! (Isa. 66:2.) We
should fear to misuse, twist, or misquote the Bible! A fast, flippant
answer, hastily given to "save face," is often inaccurate and wrong!
Therefore it is important that we come to really know our Bibles and
develop the ability to use them correctly as Peter said.
Understanding More Important Than Rote Knowledge
may be impressive to be able to "rattle off" dozens of scriptures from
the Bible. But it is more impressive and vastly more profitable to have
a good understanding of the Scriptures!
Solomon, in his
God-given wisdom, recognized the transcendent importance of gaining
understanding. He said, "... lift up your voice [pray] for
understanding..." "... happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man
that getteth understanding." He said we should "... get understanding"
(Prov. 2:3; 3:13; and 4:5). There is a tremendous joy and a sense of
exhilaration in realizing you have grasped and understood a spiritual principle for the first time!
is it so much more important to have understanding of the Scriptures
than merely to be expert in locating and quoting them? Simply because
the ability to cite verses and chapters from the Bible is merely a
mechanical operation. But comprehending their meaning is a spiritual
accomplishment! Read Romans 7:14 and I Corinthians 2:14 in this
Surely you can see that the important thing is to study for understanding, and not merely to memorize by rote!
course, it is also fine to want to increase your skill and ability in
rapidly locating and citing scripture verses. And since it is, here are
some pointers that will help you — if you practice them habitually —
not only to understand, but also to be better able to recall verses of
More Difficult to Remember
But before we begin expounding these pointers, one caution should be mentioned here for our senior citizens.
an older person tries to remember past events, his or her memory is
much sharper in recalling events of childhood and early adulthood, than
in remembering events of ten years ago or of even a relatively short
Human beings learn more the first year of their lives
than any succeeding year. Each year they learn a little less than the
Therefore, it follows that students can learn
more readily — pick up new knowledge in a new field faster — than their
professors of a much riper age.
But this does not mean that
young students know more than their professors! Not at all. For the
elderly have the accumulated knowledge of many more years, plus much
So, senior citizens should not be at all
discouraged because they cannot recall scriptures as rapidly as younger
people. Our just God judges us on what we do with our individual
abilities — not on how we compare with others.
With that brief
digression, we begin expounding and explaining several helpful points
on how you can better understand and memorize scriptures.
Get the Overview of the Bible
have failed to recall the location of certain scriptures because they
have thought of God's Word as a disjointed and disconnected collection
of thousands of unrelated verses. Therefore, you should strive to see
the Bible as an organized whole. Get the Big Picture! Learn the books
of the Bible first and try to have a general idea of what they are
about. Become familiar with the basic divisions of the Bible, the types
of books, and the general subject of each book. (For more information
on how the Bible was put together, write for our free reprint article
"Do We Have the Complete Bible?")
In order to get the overview
of the Bible, you should at your earliest opportunity quickly read
through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Studying just bits
and pieces, here and there, will never enable you to grasp the broad
picture — the panorama of the Bible.
To read the whole Bible through, you need to set up a program. Review Part I of this booklet for details.
Study by Subject or Chapter
chapters in the Bible were made chapters because of a natural subject
content. For example, I Corinthians 13 has been called the "love
chapter" because it primarily deals with that subject. Exodus 20 and
Deuteronomy 5 both discuss the Ten Commandments. Revelation 20, I
Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4 are concerned with the
Hebrews 11 is known as the "faith" chapter. Psalm
51 is David's psalm of repentance after his sin with Bath-sheba. Psalm
119 deals extensively with the Law of God. Isaiah 11 speaks in detail
of the millennial reign of Christ. On and on we could go.
easier to remember the subject of an entire chapter than individual
verses. But to really remember what is in entire chapters, you need to
familiarize yourself with them by studying and poring over them. Doing
this will help your overall ability to retain Bible knowledge! And when
you do learn the overall content of some of these basic chapters, you
will begin to more rapidly locate individual scriptures on the subjects
covered in them.
Be Impressed With the Verses You Are Studying
you were driving a nail into a board and you tapped very lightly on it
with the hammer, it would not penetrate the wood very deeply. Your mind
is the same way.
Our minds adequately retain for instant recall
only those things that have left a deep impression on them. Unless you
are sufficiently impressed with something the first time you hear or
study it, chances are it will soon fade from memory. Therefore, you
must allow the verses you are studying to make a deep mental impression!
you are merely reading superficially over verses, simply skimming them,
they will leave little or no impression! There is a proverbial saying
to the effect that if you eat Chinese food, half an hour later you will
wonder what you ate. If you study superficially, half an hour later you
will wonder what you read!
It is imperative, therefore, that you
dwell on and concentrate intensely on what you are studying! Let the
words of the Creator sink deeply into the innermost recesses of your
Associate What You Study with Real-Life Situations
not allow your Bible study to be merely academic or impractical. Relate
what you are studying in the Bible to actual situations in this life.
Relate it to history or future events in world affairs.
study prophecy (about one third of the Bible deals with prophecy) ask
yourself, "Has this ever happened? Is it happening now? Or is it yet
future?" Then, as you read the daily newspaper, and as things happen on
the world scene, certain verses from the Bible will spring to mind!
you study a section in the Book dealing with a law or some aspect of
Christian conduct, ask yourself, "Am I obeying this? How can I perform
this?" Then when you come up against a situation in daily life which
involves that principle, the verse will come to mind.
If in your
mind the Bible is relevant to life, both past and present, its verses
will spring to life! They will become living oracles which have a
definite bearing on human life in general — and yours in particular!
This will make them much easier to retain and recall.
Meditate on the Verses You Have Studied
old cliche' "out of sight, out of mind" applies here. After you have
closed the Book, unless you continue to mentally digest its words, they
will tend to fade from conscious thought. They will be crowded out by
The example of King David of Israel applies in
this case. He said, "Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the
day" (Psalm 119:97). David's mind was perpetually on the things of God.
Not to the exclusion of his responsibilities as administrator of the
kingdom, but including those principles in his rulership as well.
Word is truth (John 17:17). We are admonished by the Apostle Paul to
think on (meditate on) the truth (Phil. 4:8). The more you do this, the
more the verses and chapters of our Maker's Instruction Book will
become real "mind stickers"!
Drill Yourself in the Scriptures
To "drill" is to indulge in mental exercise aimed at perfecting facility and skill by regular practice.
yourself in the verses of the Bible is one of the finest ways of
committing them to memory. Many have found the use of "flash cards"
helpful in this respect. These can be made very simply by purchasing a
supply of 3x5 index cards and writing or typing the scripture out in
full on one side, and then the chapter and verse location on the other side. Use these cards for key scriptures you wish to recall.
through the cards regularly by reading the quote and then trying to
recall its location by chapter and verse. Then turn the card over and
check on yourself. You could reverse this process by reading the
chapter and verse first and then trying to recall its wording. Since
every translation varies, don't necessarily try to memorize word for
word, but just the key thought, subject, or point of the verse. This
method will provide you with a helpful review of the scriptures and is
a valuable means of aiding your memory.
Drill yourself also on
the subjects of basic chapters such as those mentioned earlier in this
booklet. You'll find that repetition is indeed the best form of
Ask God for Help
Christ promised His disciples: "But the Comforter (Greek paracletos —
"one called alongside to help"), which is the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring
all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John
God's Spirit is intended to help and assist you in both
understanding and recalling to mind the words of Jesus Christ. Utilize
that help. Ask God to help you apply the principles in this booklet
daily. Practice them and work on them faithfully. Develop right study
habits and stand in awe of the words of the living God. As you continue
to submit to God and respect His Word, He will help you in your efforts
to study and retain scriptures.
Don't become discouraged if you
don't become a "walking concordance." Remember the ability to
understand scripture is vastly more valuable than the ability to merely
The Bible is a NOW Book
it or not, the Bible was written for our day, this age — this
generation! The Bible is the most up-to-date book you can read today.
the pages of this "Book that nobody knows" are revealed the causes of
all of today's ills — the social problems, the economic problems, and
even the threat of nuclear annihilation hanging over mankind today.
The Bible shows where world events are leading, and what the final outcome will be.
But ironically, this "Book of all books" is the least understood of all books!
because when most people try to read the Bible, they can't understand
it. Consequently, they assume it's out of date and irrelevant in our
But you can understand it.
more than a decade and a half, Ambassador College has been helping
thousands to become "Biblical literates" through the Ambassador College
Correspondence Course. This unique course of Biblical understanding has
led over 200,000 students in nearly every country on earth to a greater
knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
This course has been designed to guide you through a systematic study of your own Bible — the Bible is the only textbook.
different major subject of vital interest in this fantastic push-button
age is thoroughly gone into and made clear with each 16-page, monthly
There are no assignments or tests to send in. You review
and evaluate your own progress at home. And there is no tuition cost to
This course is absolutely free! Just write to the following address and ask to be enrolled. You'll be glad you did.