“How to Approach the Bible” 

A study series by Arthur J Licursi


Part 2 of 24 – The Typical Approach to the Bible

Many Christians approach the Bible piece-meal, with no forethought as to how they should approach it. Most Christians pick and choose segments, verses, and phrases from the Bible to read and/or study without regard to the big picture of having an overall understanding of God’s intent as to whom those verses apply.

Most do not know the structure of the Bible as to its dispensations. This then makes it difficult for them to get a handle on what the Bible presents in its proper context, and what it really says to us and about us today. We need to realize that God and his messengers, Moses, Israel’s prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the twelve Apostles, oftentimes were addressing differing peoples, at differing times, under differing circumstances, speaking things that do not necessarily apply to us today.

We need to study in order to gain the proper overview of the whole Bible, to sort out the "who" and "what of them." Only then may we proceed to study the particulars that apply to those who are being addressed or referred to. Some Christians don’t necessarily care to realize that they may be studying the specific particulars of a certain portion of the Bible that may only apply at that time and/or to the people who were involved and addressed in that Bible portion. Yet, many Christians incorrectly think the Bible is all about us today, so they attempt to apply it all to themselves, regardless of who was being addressed.

Such a misappropriation of the Bible is dangerous, leading to all sorts of confusion, contradictions, misunderstandings, disappointments, and sometimes even a loss of faith when their misunderstanding and false belief does not work out as they had presumed or supposed. When we mistakenly have the idea it is God’s will to always heal us physically and we are not healed, this becomes a devastating disappointment that can lead to a loss of faith and trust in the Lord. Sadly, this false notion was built upon misinterpretation of the Bible. Paul’s own experience shows us it is not always Gods will to heal us (2Cor 12:6-8). As we will see in this study, the Apostle Paul just happens to be “the Apostle to the Gentiles” for today (Rom 11:13), so his instruction and teaching should be valid for us.

God in fact has forged and unshakable salvation for us today. We can have a proper understanding of “the faith” to stand upon. But an erroneous approach to the Bible prevents people from establishing a solid foundation upon which to stand, build, and understand their held faith in their relationship with God. Thus, they miss out on the full impact of what God has done via Christ’s cross, and what He is doing with regard to the members of “the body of Christ” today, during this day of the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2).

This series of studies is intended to help us to better sort out the Bible, so as to reveal its intended message of truth for us today. To do this, we might begin by utilizing logic that will aid us in eliminating some of difficulties. Logic tells us we cannot reason from the incidental particulars that we may find just anywhere in the Bible… to then presume the general overall truth and intent of God for us today.

That is to say, we cannot expect to find and see God’s overarching eternal plan by arguing from certain incidental particulars in any old part of Bible. We must gain a proper Bible overview first. If we are to reason accurately, the proper way of study is… from the big-picture overview of God’s planto the particulars.

In order to gain the correct general overview we must be careful to note and distinguish the differing times, the differing peoples involved, and the differing circumstances involved at various times over the entire span of the Bible.

Only after we are have done so can we arrive at a sure ground of the foundational truth for today. Only then may we go back to note the incidental particulars within the differing relationships that have existed between God and man through those differing times. Only then may we go back to note the requirements and expectations that pertain to the persons addressed in those relationships.

If we have come to see the Bible’s proper general overview and truth we cannot help but note that God’s relationship with the nation Israel has a different set of defined requirements and expectations than God has for the body of Christ.”

Example: Israel was under “the Law,” while “the body of Christ” today is not under the law. Paul writes to the body of Christ; Romans 6:14b ye are not under the law, but under grace.

We will come to wrong conclusions if we view Bible particulars without first having gained the proper big picture overview of the different dispensational times involved within the context of the whole Bible. Many Christians have adopted an incorrect general overview of the Bible that simply says this;

“The Bible presents only one large dispensation or relationship between God and man - it’s simply about good versus evil; whether Jew or Christian God wants all of us to be like Jesus was.”

Having this false notion, they then take everything said of God’s requirements and expectations that are written in the Bible concerning Israel and the Jews as though they were spoken to “the body of Christ” today. They do this without regard to the fact that God was particularly addressing His relationship, requirements, and expectations to only one particular people – the people of the nation Israel.

When God was exclusively speaking to Abraham, Israel and the Jews, He was then simultaneously excluding all other humans, who were then to be called “the Gentiles.” (See Eph 2:11-13, Acts 11:9). Simply put; if I am talking with Susie, then I am not talking to Jack.

The first time we see a Biblical exclusion or distinction arising among the people of the earth was when God called Abram (later to be called Abraham) out of the families of the earth (Gen 12:1-3). First God took Abram out of the population of the day, and then later God separated Abraham’s offspring, the nation Israel, unto Himself by making them even more peculiar  (Deut 14:2). This was done through imposing a set of unusual laws like circumcision, etc. God thereby created two classes of people on earth at that time – the called of Israel and the other was the Gentiles.” We need to always make and maintain that distinction between these two classes of people in all our studies of the Bible. Frankly, this distinction is overlooked by most Christian Bible teachers. They seem to say, incorrectly, “All God’s people are one.”

We must see that there is a God-created division among the people addressed within the Bible. The Jews were then God’s called and chosen people, as Abraham’s offspring, being separate and distinct from the rest of humanity. In fact, about 80% of the Bible is devoted to Israel. The Bible records their history; including God’s promises given to them, Jesus of Nazareth coming to them, their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, and their rejection of the Kingdom offered to Israel in the early Acts period. It also addresses the fulfillment of those God-given promises to Israel as seen in the Books of Revelation, Matthew, and elsewhere, which are mostly yet to be fulfilled.

We need to note that in his writings, the Apostle Paul refers broadly to the proper general overview of the times pertaining to the Gentiles as being their relationship with God… in “time past” (Eph 2:2) and“but now” (Eph 2:13). Paul also reference to the “things to come” in Heb 10:1.