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How to Study the Bible
Have It Make Sense



An Age-Old Conflict


The Bible has for centuries been a source of confusion to men everywhere. Many people have concluded that it cannot be a reliable source of information because so many contradictory theories claim to be based upon its contents. The purpose of this section is to show that the Bible, carefully studied, can be a consistent, reliable source of information.


Men need an Authority


It is in the nature of man to want a good authority for his thought and his behavior. In religious thought, especially, it would seem desirable to have sound evidence as a basis for conclusions. Yet, today man faces a challenge in the field of religious thought: Is there a religious authority? Or is every man to believe what he believes with no more evidence than his own personal preference? Actually, there is an authority. In practice, few men recognize one.


In this section an effort will be made to demonstrate that the Bible can answer reasonably and consistently any question — provided the student learn how to use it. This section will endeavor to show that the Bible is, indeed, the ultimate authority which men have been seeking.


What is the Bible?


If the idea is accepted that a personal God does exist, then the student must next decide if he has access to knowledge relating to God. The Bible claims within its covers to be the sole source of information about God and about what He is doing.


This section, therefore, is based on a very important assumption. It is assumed from the beginning that the Bible is what it claims to be — the Word of God. Even if every student does not also make this assumption, it is suggested that he temporarily accept it as such while examining the Bible. If its contents do not live up to its claim, he is not obligated to accept it as anything more than another book. If its contents do reveal the answers being sought, he has found what few have found: THE TRUTH.


The initial hypothesis that the Bible is the Word of God is made because there is great strength in studying any matter from a positive rather than a negative point of view. Such a position of study allows a person to see intricate beauties which another person might quickly dismiss as contradictions.


It has been for some time the practice of theological seminaries to study the Bible utilizing various kinds of criticism (text, form, etc.). This approach, however, has been negative. It has, in essence, begun the study of Scripture by saying, "What can we find wrong?" The method of study presented in this section will be totally different from that which is commonly being practiced, but it should give a positive confirmation of the validity of this great Book, the Bible.


Five Separate Interlocking Approaches

1. Exhaustive Topical Examination

2. Study of Symbolic Language

3. Study by Time Frame

4. The Importance of Context

5. Study by Type and Antitype

Because man’s mind is not capable of retaining and cross-referencing all of the passages in the Scriptures, study which examines one book of the Bible at a time is somewhat fruitless. How can one be certain that conclusions are correct on any question unless he has examined ALL that the whole Bible says relative to that question? After all, if the Bible is the Word of God, its testimony on a given subject should be consistent and revealing from Genesis through Revelation.


In order to know ALL that the Bible says on a given subject, therefore, it becomes necessary to study a single TOPIC at a time. The study of many topics, one at a time, then, can be carefully molded into a larger, comprehensive picture of what the Bible is about.


The first of the five important methods of study, therefore, must be the examination of one topic at a time.


Exhaustive Topical Examination

Examination of every Scripture on a single subject was once an impossibility. Now it is relatively easily accomplished. The necessary help is available in either of two large books:


Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and

Young’s Analytical Concordance


Each of these books lists every word in the King James translation of the Bible, sometimes called the Authorized Version. Also listed are the Hebrew and Greek words from which they come (with definitions) and other ways in which these same words are translated. Libraries and good bookstores regularly have copies of Strong’s and Young’s Concordances.*


As an example of the kinds of benefits reaped from exhaustive topical comparison, note what happens when the traditionally controversial subject of hell is examined. Below is the listing of "hell" as found in Strong’s Concordance.


Note immediately that every occurrence of hell in the Old Testament is a translation of a single Hebrew word (sheol) as represented by number 7585 in the right-hand column. Note the definition as reproduced from the lexicon of Strong’s Concordance shown on page 13.

* Exhaustive Concordances are now available for a number of translations and are frequently also available on computer programs. Some newer versions have been abridged and are therefore missing some important information. Be sure to obtain an "unabridged version" to make the most of your studies.

hell.gif (51486 bytes)HEBREW.gif (19950 bytes)


Following the colon and dash (:-), Strong’s Concordance lists the other ways that this same Hebrew word (sheol) is translated in the King James version. It is interesting to learn that the translators occasionally rendered this word "grave" and "pit." Finding this information, it is now important to look up grave and pit to see the Scriptural usage of these words since they are still a definite part of our topical study on hell.


Strong’s Concordance lists the usages of grave and pit as follows: [look for number 7585]

GRAVE.gif (37682 bytes)

PIT.gif (29487 bytes)

Look in the right-hand column for number 7585. (This, remember, means that the Hebrew word sheol is the word being used.) This reveals the interesting fact that good men expected to go to hell! Genesis 37:35 shows that Jacob expected to go there and that he thought his favorite son was there! Job 14:13 shows that Job actually prayed to go to hell to escape God’s wrath!


Is the value of this kind of study becoming clear? Without pursuing the matter further, it should be becoming clear that the teaching of hell as a place of eternal torment is contrary to the Scriptures — when they are studied exhaustively and impartially!


If this matter is studied to its logical conclusion, it will be found that the word "oblivion" is the best synonym for the Hebrew word sheol and its Greek (New Testament) counterpart, hades. Hell is not eternal torment; it is oblivion. It is not only for the wicked; it is also for the good. It is not permanent; it is a temporary oblivion, or non-existence, or death-state. (For a detailed examination of every Scripture on Hell, see our publication Where are the Dead?) It is interesting to note that such an old and large denomination as the Church of England has recently accepted the validity of this definition of hell.


Another Example


Arranged below are three columns of Scriptures which contain the word "earth." These samplings are purposely listed in three columns to point out the seeming contradictions. One column contains Scriptures which state that the earth will be destroyed. The second column contains texts which show that the earth will not be destroyed. The last column entries imply that there will be a new earth. Read these texts before proceeding:


Earth Destroyed

Earth Remains

New Earth

Matthew 24:35

Matthew 6:10

2 Peter 3:13

Hebrews 1:10, 11

Ecclesiastes 1:4

Revelation 21:1

Zephaniah 3:8

Matthew 5:5

Isaiah 45:18

Psalm 104:5


This listing is still based on the idea that an examination by TOPIC is of foremost importance. From this chart, however, it is clear that topical study by itself is not always adequate to eliminate contradiction. Note the importance of two more methods of Scripture study: study of symbolic language and study by Time Frame.


Study of Symbolic Language


Arranged below are three columns of Scriptures which contain the word "earth." These samplings are purposely listed in three columns to point out the seeming contradictions. One column contains Scriptures which state that the earth will be destroyed. The second column contains texts which show that the earth will not be destroyed. The last column entries imply that there will be a new earth. Read these texts before proceeding:


Earth Destroyed

Earth Remains

New Earth

Matthew 24:35

Matthew 6:10

2 Peter 3:13

Hebrews 1:10, 11

Ecclesiastes 1:4

Revelation 21:1

Zephaniah 3:8

Matthew 5:5

Isaiah 45:18

Psalm 104:5


This listing is still based on the idea that an examination by TOPIC is of foremost importance. From this chart, however, it is clear that topical study by itself is not always adequate to eliminate contradiction. Note the importance of two more methods of Scripture study: study of symbolic language and study by time frame.


It is clear that a literal interpretation of the foregoing texts about the earth results only in confusion and contradiction. When topical study by itself does not clear up interpretation, it becomes necessary to discover the presence of symbolic meaning in the words being used. How is this done?

Perhaps the first test is to apply the obvious possibilities to all of the texts involved. In this case (with the word earth), suppose:


— All words "earth" suggesting good things must be symbolic of heaven.

— All words "earth" suggesting bad things must be literal and really mean the earth.

If this doesn’t work (and it doesn’t), try the opposite:

— All words "earth" suggesting good things must be literal and really mean the earth.

— All words "earth" suggesting bad things must be symbolic and must mean something else.


This does work. Then, a diligent comparison of prophetic texts containing the word "earth" used symbolically reveals that its symbolic meaning is "the political-social order." Once the correct symbolism is found, it always works. This is, indeed, a comforting reassurance of the accuracy of interpretation.


To show the richness of the information found by utilization of proper symbolisms, it will be beneficial to examine 2 Peter 3 which makes multiple use of this word "earth."


In this chapter, Peter makes reference to:

— the "world that then was" (vs. 6)

— "the heavens and the earth which are now" (vs. 7)

— and "a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" (vs. 13)


Peter here introduces words which we have not yet considered, and the careful student will submit these words — world, heaven, fire — also to exhaustive topical investigation.


Our conclusions, based on the topical and symbolic study methods, clarify this chapter easily:


The "world (political-social order) that then was (before the flood) perished." (But the literal earth itself remains.) Peter, as he continues, wishes to differentiate between rulers and the ruled and, hence, divides the symbolic "world" into "heaven" (the ruling powers) and "earth" (the social order). Thus "the heavens and the earth (entire political-social arrangement) which are now (ever since the flood) are reserved unto fire (destruction — of the order, not the people: the earth still remains). Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens (new government ruled by Christ) and a new earth (social arrangement) wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:6, 7, 13


Now (with the proper symbols to eradicate contradictions) the promises of the Bible relative to the earth take on new meaning:

— The meek shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

— Thy will be done in earth. (Matthew 6:10)

— On earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

— The earth abideth forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4)

The Bible tells a comprehensive picture without contradiction. Though it seemed to say both that the earth would be destroyed and that the earth would not be destroyed, a careful study shows that it was cleverly telling a consistent story. It was using the kind of symbolism President Woodrow Wilson used in World War I when he stated, "The world is on fire!" What he meant was easily understood. The Bible symbolism is just as obvious if it is not approached with preconceptions.


Study by Time Frame


The third chapter of Peter’s second epistle gives an interesting clue about efficient Bible study. We can diagram Peter’s reference to the three worlds thus:

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This basic division of man’s history into three parts helps in resolving difficulties in texts not clarified by topical or symbolic investigation (the first two study methods).


As an example, note the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. He was caught up into the "third heaven" — an arrangement which he characterizes as "paradise." Paul was not seeing heaven in three layers, but was manifestly seeing, as Peter saw, a third period in man’s history under the perfect government (heaven) of Christ (Isaiah 9:6). How beautifully the Bible is its own interpreter!

Further Time Divisions


As the three "worlds" clarify some texts, a more detailed division of time helps the understanding of other Scriptures. For instance, divide the "heavens and earth that are now" (the second world) into three ages based on Scriptural history. One period, from the flood to the death of Jacob, sees God dealing with the Patriarchs — men like Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — whose descendants became the Jewish nation. The next Scriptural division of time is the period during which God deals exclusively with Israel (Amos 3:2). Following the rejection of Israel (Matthew 23:38) is the age of Christianity. To diagram these three time divisions, see the chart below.

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Added to the time-frame chart is the 1,000-year period which apparently begins the "new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." This 1,000-year age is based on Revelation 20 and 2 Peter 3.


This time-frame chart can become a cherished possession. It will clarify many Scriptures and seeming contradictions. Study reveals that some Scriptures apply only during certain periods of time. Attempting to apply them at the wrong time results in the age-old confusion and contradiction which cannot be a part of a Bible which is truly God’s Word.

Example of Age-Restricted Verses


One example of a text which is applicable only during a specific period of time is John 12:47. In it the Lord states that anyone not believing him would not be subject to judgment — that his judgment would be for a later age. This verse applies only to the Christian Age. A comparison with Acts 3:20-23 readily shows that conditions of judgment will change when the 1,000-year age of Christ’s second advent is in operation. At that time the rule is "every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." These two texts would be at odds with each other without a time-frame reference for each. Thus, this chart dispels all contradiction and adds greatly to the understanding of the progress of God’s plan for man.


Method Four

The Importance of Context


The fourth rule for successful Bible study is the necessity for considering context — large context and small context. 1 Timothy 4:10 is an example for developing this rule of study.


In this text Paul tells us that God "is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe." It is manifest from this Scripture that there is more than one salvation. Therefore, all texts mentioning salvation cannot be lumped together, but must, by context, be divided into groupings dependent upon which salvation is meant.


A topical study of resurrection yields some additional help in this matter.


— Revelation 20:6 speaks of a "first resurrection."

— Hebrews 11:35 speaks of a "better resurrection."

— Acts 24:15 speaks of a resurrection even of the unjust.

These are in obvious agreement with 1 Timothy 4:10 when it states that there is more than one salvation.


To simplify the matter greatly, summarize salvation into two major divisions based on 1 Timothy 4:10:

— the world of mankind — "savior of all men"

— the church — "specially of those that believe."

The contexts of Scripture can be studied more carefully when the two salvations are recognized. For instance, most of the epistles of the New Testament are clearly addressed "to the saints . . ." (the church). Therefore, to apply the laws, promises, admonitions, warnings, etc., contained in these epistles to everyone in the world is folly. The world are those who "believe not" and are, therefore, not now under judgment as learned from John 12:47. This eliminates many problems. This is an example of large context.


Small context is a simpler matter. Even though the epistles are written to the church, they contain references to those not in the church. A few verses before and after any text under consideration should clearly indicate if an interpretation makes contextual sense.

Finer Distinctions in Context


In some cases a seemingly definitive Scripture is not really as complete as it might seem. Note Matthew 7:13, 14 as an example. This text on the surface implies that there are only two paths open to men: a broad road to destruction (affecting the majority), and a difficult road to life (affecting merely a few).


This is in disharmony with other texts already examined. God is not the Savior of a few and loser of all others! Why, then, does this text not mention the fact that there will ultimately be an easy road — a highway — when all men (even fools) will be able to make it, as Isaiah describes in 35:8-10?


This problem is not uncommon. The Scriptures often make mention of only a part of God’s plan because a specific point is being made.


In Matthew 7:13, 14 the context shows that the Lord is speaking to those following him. He is pointing out to them that their choice then (at the beginning of the Christian age), was either to follow him as believers (and thus be heirs of the special salvation), or to follow the path of the rest of the world as they had been doing. That choice would merely result in their destruction, as it would have had they never heard of Jesus. They were already doomed to destruction as are all men since Adam. But Jesus was in no way saying that this was their last opportunity for choice! No, not at all. As shown in John 12:47, 48, if any man did not believe (during the Christian Age), he was not under judgment; his judgment was reserved for a later date — for the 1,000 years of Christ’s Kingdom — for the highway that will lead to holiness at that time.


These fine distinctions in context demonstrate the importance of applying all of the methods of study available — not relying upon one or two. Each serves as a cross-check for the other.

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A more complete visual aid is obtained if we add to the chart the "three roads’ from the Scriptures just examined. (See chart, page 31) This shows that large context "secret" of the Bible: There is more than one salvation. Not all men travel the same road! All roads do not lead to the same place. All roads are not open at the same time.


The broad road of Matthew 7 has existed since Adam plummeted to it when he disobeyed. The narrow and difficult road for the true Christian, leading ultimately to life as spiritual beings, has existed only since the cross. Thus the Christian receives his lifting up out of the broad way before the rest of men. But in the 1,000-year Kingdom of Christ, the highway (Isaiah 35) will be opened and will bring up from destruction the rest of mankind so that they, too, can learn righteousness. God "is the Savior of all men (on earth) — specially (in heaven) of those that believe." Thus, in the end, His will shall "be done in earth as it is in heaven."


Study by Type and Antitype

One final method of Biblical investigation must be mentioned at least briefly. In the Old Testament are many events which actually happened but which have significance above and beyond their original import. For example:

Exodus describes the institution of the Passover which involved the slaying of a lamb, the deliverance of the firstborn at night, and the deliverance of the rest of the people in the morning. The miracle would have been great in itself. But in 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul states, "Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us," indicating that God meant to make an informative picture of the Passover event. This conclusion is further corroborated by the Scriptural references to Jesus as "the Lamb of God."

A careful consideration of this Passover type and its symbols indicates a remarkable correspondency with what has been demonstrated in the application of the other four methods of study. Jesus (the lamb) dies. His death saves the firstborn (the church) during the night (the Christian Age). The rest of the world are saved in the morning (the 1,000 years) from the enslavement under sin (represented by Pharoah’s enslavement of Israel).


This subject of typical/antitypical relationships opens whole new concepts in Bible study!


A Review

Five methods of Bible study have been briefly examined:

1. Study by complete topical investigation.

2. Study of symbolic versus literal statement.

3. Study of time-frame placement of Scripture.

4. Study considering large and small context.

5. Study of typical-antitypical relationships.

Any one of these methods is helpful. No one of these methods is complete. All taken together will result in Biblical interpretation entirely free from self-imposed prejudice, preference, etc. The Bible will become reasonable, consistent, adequate, and inspiring: The Word of God.


If the student will approach the Bible honestly, it will change his mind — and his heart. It is well worth such an honest approach.


In short, it is too good not to be true.


On Authority of Professor C. Tischendorf’s notes on the readings of the two oldest Greek manuscripts: The Sinaitic and the Vatican #1209


The following words, found in our Common Version (King James Version) are not found in the Oldest Manuscripts, and are evidently no part of the Divine Word. Let each Berean go through his Bible, pencil in hand, and mark out these words: then read the passages affected and note the improvement. This list comprises all the important interpolations discovered to date.


The compiler has condensed this list. From the compiler’s point of view there exist very good reasons why everything in this list should be crossed out of our Bibles. Thus, when the interpolations are eliminated from Mark 14:30, 68, 72, the account agrees exactly with that given by the other evangelists. Or, take Luke 23:34: history shows that the Jews have been obliged as a race to expiate their crime. Or take John 4:9: it does not agree at all with Luke 9:52, which shows that even the Lord himself did have such dealings. Omitted from this list are the dozens of interpolations made by early copyists with the aim of making all the narratives uniform, and the hundreds of non-essential words, the addition of which does not affect the purity of the message. (Some of these passages have already been omitted by more modern translations such as the New American Standard or the New International Version, since they were translated from the more reliable, ancient manuscripts.)

Matt. 5:23

without a cause

Matt. 6:13

For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matt. 6:25

or what ye shall drink*

Matt. 16:2

When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

Matt. 16:3

This entire verse


and fasting


into the mountains

Matt. 2O:7

and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive

Matt. 22:13

and take him away

Matt. 23:35

son of Barachias*

Matt. 24:10

and shall hate one another*

Matt. 24:31

sound of a*

Matt. 24:41

women shall be

Matt. 25:6


Matt. 27:52

and the graves were opened*

Matt. 27: 53

and went*

Matt. 28:19


Mark 4:37

so that it was now full*

Mark 6:51

beyond measure and wondered

Mark 7:8

For as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things as ye do

Mark 7:14

unto me every one of you

Mark 9:24

with tears

Mark 9:29

and fasting

Mark 9:44

This entire verse

Mark 9:45

into the fire that shall never be quenched

Mark 9:46

This entire verse

Mark 9:47


Mark 9:49

and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt

Mark 10:24

for them that trust in riches

Mark 10:30

houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions*

Mark 14:30


Mark 14:68

and the cock crew

Mark 14:72

the second time*


Mark 16:9-20

All these verses

Luke 2: 40

in spirit

Luke 8:45

and sayest thou, Who touched me?

Luke 16:16

and every man presseth into it

Luke 17:12

which stood afar off*



Luke 18:11

with himself*

Luke 22:43

This entire verse

Luke 22:44

This entire verse

Luke 22:68

me, nor let me go

Luke 23:5


Luke 23:34

Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do

Luke 24:42

and of an honeycomb

John 1:25

asked him, and*

John 3:13

which is in heaven

John 4:9

for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans

John 5:3

waiting for the moving of the water

John 5:4

This entire verse

John 5:25

and now is*

John 8:1-11

all these verses

John 8:59

going through the midst of them and so passed by

John 16:16

because I go to the Father

John 19:23

and also his coat*

John 21:25

This entire verse

Acts 6:3

Holy Ghost and (should read "spirit of")

Acts 6:8

faith (should read "grace")

Acts 8:37

This entire verse

Acts 9:31

churches (should read "church")

were (should read "was")

Acts 15:32

and confirmed them*

Acts 18:5

pressed in the spirit (should read "earnestly occupied with the Word")

Acts 18:21

I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but

Rom. 3:22

and upon all

Rom. 6:12

it in

Rom. 7:6

that being dead (should read "being dead to that")

Rom. 8:26

for us

Rom. 11:6

But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work

Rom. 14:6

and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it

1 Cor. 2:1

testimony (should read "mystery")

1 Cor. 6:20

and in your spirit, which are God's

1 Cor. 7:5

fasting and

1 Cor. 10:28

for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof

1 Cor. 15:24


2 Cor. 4:14

by (should read "with")

Gal. 3:1

that ye should not obey the truth

Gal. 3:17

in Christ

Gal. 5:19


Gal. 5:21


Eph. 5:9

Spirit (should read "light")

Eph. 5:30

of his flesh, and of his bones

2 Thess. 2:9

Even him

1 Tim. 3:16

God (should read "who")*

1 Tim. 4:12

in spirit*

1 Tim. 6:5

from such withdraw thyself*

2 Tim. 3:3

without natural affection*

Heb. 12:18

mount that might be touched and that burned with fire (should read "fire that might be touched and burned")*

Heb. 12:20

or thrust through with a dart*

James 5:16

Confess your faults (should read "Therefore confess your sins")*

1 Pet. 2:5

spiritual (before the word "sacrifices")

1 Pet. 3:8

courteous (should read "humble")

2 Pet. 1:1

God and our (should read "our Lord and")*

1 John 3:16

of God

1 John 5:7

in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one

1 John 5:8

And there are three that bear witness in earth

1 John 5:13

and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God

Rev. 1:17

unto me, Fear not*

Rev. 2:22

their (should read "her")*

Rev. 5:3

neither under the earth*

Rev. 5:9

us (omitted by the Alexandrian Ms., one of the three oldest Mss. known)

Rev. 5:10

us (should read "them")

we (should read "they")

Rev. 5:13

and under the earth*

Rev. 6:2

to conquer (should read "he conquered")*

Rev. 9:4

neither any green thing*

Rev. 9:13

the four horns of*

Rev. 10:6

and the sea, and the things which are therein*

Rev. 11:17

and art to come*

Rev. 12:12

inhabiters of* of (before the words "the sea")

Rev. 14:5

before the throne of God*

Rev. 14:12

here are they*

Rev. 16:5

and shalt be (should read "the holy")*

Rev. 16:7

another out of*

Rev. 16:11

and their sores*

of their deeds*

Rev. 16:17

from the throne*

Rev. 18:22

of whatsoever craft he be*

and the stone of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee*

Rev. 20:5

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished*

Rev. 21:24

of them which are saved*

and honor*

Rev. 21:26

and honor*

Rev. 22:3



* Omitted by the Sinaitic Manuscript. These not thus marked are omitted by both the Sinaitic and Vatican Manuscripts. The Epistles to Timothy, the latter part of Hebrews, and all of Revelation, are missing from the Vatican Manuscript, No. 1209, having been lost during the fifteen or more centuries since it was written. The Sinaitic Manuscript is perfect and complete and is the oldest known copy of the Scriptures, having been written (it is believed) in the year 331 A.D.

Finding the Lost Bible

King Ahaz, in his wicked rebellion against God’s authority, had caused the manuscripts of God’s Law to Israel to be burned — presumably all of them — and the house or Temple of the Lord to be shut up. — 2 Chron. 28:24


However, in God’s providence, perhaps with the cooperation of some of the faithful priests, one copy of the Law was buried under a pile of stone and rubbish in one of the little rooms surrounding the court of the Temple. There it was found nearly 100 years later by the priest Hilkiah in the process of the cleaning up and restoring of the Temple services commanded by King Josiah in connection with the reforms he instituted. — 2 Chron. 34:14-33


The long period of idolatry preceding Josiah’s work of reformation had placed the testimonies of the Lord at a discount so that the King had never seen, perhaps had never heard of the divine Law up to this time. If this seems strange to us for the moment, let us remember that today we have Bibles by the millions, but in olden times books were written with a pen and, hence, were very expensive. A copy was provided for the King as well as one for the Temple, but idolatrous kings would have no use for God’s Word, and the royal copy was doubtless destroyed before long.


King Josiah caused the manuscript to be read in his hearing. It detailed what blessings would come upon the nation of Israel if obedient to God. It also portrayed the penalties which would be theirs if they neglected the services of the Almighty and His laws. Deuteronomy 28 is a very clear statement of what appeared to be the penalty due Josiah’s kingdom because of idolatry preceding his day. The King was astonished; he rent his clothes — the tearing of the loose outer garment in olden times being a symbol of distress, perplexity or fear. Evidently divine judgments were due. Why they waited, he knew not. He reflected that something might be done yet to offset the evil. He sent to make inquiry to the prophetess Huldah. She gave the Lord’s answer, saying that all the woes foretold in the Law would surely come to pass, but that the trouble would not come in Josiah’s day because of his earnest repentance.


Nevertheless, the King did all in his power to remedy the evil and to bring back the nation into accord with the Almighty. He proclaimed a general meeting at the Temple, which he himself attended with the nobles and various representatives of the people. He caused the Book of the Law to be read in the hearing of the people and pointed out their shortcomings and what must be expected. The work of purging from idolatry was still more thoroughly carried out and the work of reformation made yet more deep.


How foolish for Ahaz to think that by his burning of the Word of God he could hinder God’s plan or hide His testimony! This reminds us of some of the darkest pages of Church history known as the period of the "Holy" Roman Empire — in reality the darkest of ages. This is when the Papacy ruled the Roman Empire with a high hand and kept the masses in ignorance, not only in temporal education, but particularly in spiritual understanding. We quote Henry Halley’s "Bible Handbook" page 880:


"The Papacy and the Bible — (Pope) Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. (Pope) Innocent III forbade the people reading the Bible in their own language. (Pope) Gregory IX forbade laymen possessing the Bible, and suppressed translations. Translations among the Albigenses and Waldenses were burned, and people burned for having them. (Pope) Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced (Pope) Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. (Popes) Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pius IX all condemned Bible societies. In Catholic countries the Bible is an unknown book."

The Bible Indestructible

We thank our Heavenly Father that His Word cannot be long suppressed, and, as in Josiah’s day, God raised up faithful Christians who sacrificed greatly, some even unto death, to bring us the Bible in our own language and, with the advent of the printing press, available by the millions at prices affordable by all.


"In 1888 Rev. W. C. Van Meter had printed a large number of copies of the Gospel according to John in Italian for use in Rome. A singular coincidence, which shows the changes which God has worked, is that the gospel was actually printed in the room formerly used as the torture chamber of the Inquisition. The printer who had undertaken the work was obliged to use rooms in an ancient edifice. A strange-looking iron ring in the ceiling arrested his attention, and on making inquiries about it he learned of its past. There within the walls that have resounded with the cries of men and women suffering for conscience’ sake, he set up and printed the gospel of John." — Dawn of the Morning

Higher Critics Attack the Bible

As the Bible of Josiah’s day rose from the heap of rubble, so, too, the attempts of so-called "higher critics" and skeptics to "bury" the Bible with their doubts and criticisms have come to nought.


During the past 150 years, many archeological discoveries have verified the Bible as history. We offer at the conclusion of this article a booklet entitled "Archeology proves the Bible" which examines a number of these findings.


Time proves the critics wrong. An example of this is that the great Sir Isaac Newton, guided by the promise of the Lord through the Prophet Daniel, declared his belief in the possibility of rapid transit amongst men. Daniel declared, "many shall run to and from and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4) Based on this, Newton declared his belief that man would someday travel at the rate of 50 miles an hour. And yet the locomotive was centuries away, and steam power was as yet undiscovered. Nearly two centuries later, an infidel, worldly-wise man Voltaire, called the Christian Newton "a poor old dotard, misled by that old Book the Bible." We all know by this time which of these great men was misled! And let not the irony of this be lost — in 1890 A.D., Voltaire’s house was being used by the Geneva Bible Society as a depot for their Bibles.


Another form of criticism intended to bury the Bible is the claim that later Church councils formed the Bible. But what is the truth? It is that the church is a result of the Bible. Internal evidence is that our Lord Jesus and his Apostles frequently quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures and claimed them as authority. Many of the miracles recorded in the Old Testament are referred to by Jesus and the Apostles as having literally transpired. For example: Isaac on the altar, Jonah and the great fish, Elijah and the fire from heaven, the great drought and subsequent rain, the fall of Satan, Moses and Aaron with the magicians of Egypt, Samson, Isaac’s miraculous birth, etc. To reject these is to reject Jesus and the Apostles’ authority in all the New Testament.


Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures . . . (the Old Testament of his and our day) they are they which testify of me." — John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 44


Regarding the New Testament, the earliest copy of the New Testament known is written in the Syriac language. Its date is estimated to be about the year 100 A.D., and even at that early date it contained the same books as at present with the exception of 2 Peter, III John, Jude and Revelation. These omitted books we know were written about the close of the first century and probably had not been widely circulated among the Christian congregations at that time. However, all the books of the Old and New Testaments, as we now have them appear in the Greek language in the Sinaitic manuscript, dated to 350 A.D. (This Sinaitic manuscript can be seen in the British Museum, as well as the Alexandrian manuscript, made in the 5th century, containing our entire Bible with a few fragments missing.) This demonstrates that the New Testament canon was complete long before approval by church councils. We offer a pamphlet entitled "The Authorship and Credibility of the Bible" at the end of this article for more complete examination of this interesting subject.

The Bible Lost Today

You may be amazed when we say that to the majority of people today, God’s Book is lost. It is true that there are millions of Bibles throughout the world and millions being printed each year. But, alas! Though Bibles we have, to the majority of the worldly-wise, they are Bibles no longer. They are the inspired Word of God Almighty no longer! They are studied, believed and obeyed no longer. God’s precious counsel and guidance are lost, and the people grope vainly in the dark for instruction and help and so, turning to human speculations and theories, they stumble along, becoming less and less content and satisfied with life. They are unprepared to cope with all the various duties, decisions and struggles that we all face.


Again we ask, How did the Bible become lost? We answer that during the Dark Ages, when the Bible was largely set aside, it was replaced with man-made doctrines and creeds that really were in conflict with God’s Word and reason. As knowledge and general education increased, many started to re-think the Bible based upon the gross misunderstandings of the Dark Ages and, sensing their unreasonableness, they lost faith in these man-made teachings; but, believing that they originated in the Scriptures, they rejected both, throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. Now, in due time, the Word of God is found. It is our great privilege to cooperate with God in handing forth the pure Word, the true doctrines from the Bible, to bring forth the beautiful harmony of God’s teachings which offer life eternal and bring happiness of heart with contentment of mind. It is this which reveals a loving, merciful Creator, whose justice and wisdom are shown to be perfect and majestic in the unfolding of His great plan of the ages.


King Josiah of old had not only a humble heart and receptive mind for hearing the words of the Lord, but he also was willing to put in practice what he heard. Let us live according to what we find in Scripture and, as the noble Bereans who "searched the Scriptures daily." (Acts 17:11) Let us not merely read the Bible, but rather let us study it, a systematic, subject by subject, meditative and thoughtful approach to understanding His plan and ways. 


The summary effect of such careful Bible study is a stronger faith, firmer convictions, greater peace of heart, and a more Christ-like life lived in harmony with our God.