How to Study the Bible

Axioms and Principals of Studying and Understanding Scripture

What does the Holy Spirit want us to know?

2 Peter 3:16 16As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

What really counts in Biblical interpretation is the mind of the Holy Spirit. The compelling question is: "What does the Holy Spirit want us to know from this or that text?" The job of the exegete is to go no further than that.

Methods used by Jesus in His earthly teaching:


Psalm 78:2 does speak about Christ speaking in parables, but it does not say that He would always speak in parables.

A parable is simply a comparison, a saying that uses one form of life to illustrate another. In the context of Psalm 78 (an historical Psalm), "parable" speaks of those matters in history that are difficult to understand. They are "dark sayings," not because there is a "hidden meaning" that would justify wholesale allegorization of the Bible, but because the lessons of Isreal's hardness of heart and God's faithfulness had not yet been learned. The "dark sayings" are the enigma's of history because Isreal still had not learned. This has nothing to do with parabolic interpretation.

Definition: A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters. It is a type of analogy.



Definition: A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the words "like", "as", or "than". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as". For instance, a simile that compares a person with a bullet would go as follows: "Katrina was a record-setting runner and as fast as a speeding bullet." A metaphor might read something like, "When Katrina ran, she was a speeding bullet racing along the track."





Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. It teaches a lesson through symbolism. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation.


You Must Be Born Again

The first prerequisite to understanding God’s Word is that we must belong to God

1 Corinthians 2:14 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

2 Corinthians 3:12-16 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, [which] put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [vail] is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

John 8:43-47 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell [you] the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God.

Must be Walking in Faith

After the resurrection, when Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus with two of his disciples, we read:

Luke 24:25 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Hebrews 4:2 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].

2 Timothy 3:15 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Time Must be Right

Generally speaking, the right time is already past with the fulfillment of Christ's work and receiving of the Comforter.

Luke 18:31-34 31 Then he took [unto him] the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

John 13:7 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

John 16:25 26 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.

Camping's Triple Approach to Scripture:

Camping believes that there are three levels of meaning:


Moral and Spiritual Teaching

The Gospel

"God declares the Gospel of salvation on every page of the Bible" [First Principles of Bible Study, Harold Camping, p.46]

The Purpose of Scripture:

The purpose of John's gospel is to write so that people would believe and be saved:

John 20:31 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Same for John's catholic epistle (1 John) as for his gospel. He wrote so that you would believe:

1 John 5:13 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

The Scriptures are able to make one wise to salvation through faith, which (as noted above) is their purpose:

2 Timothy 3:15 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Again, the very purpose of Scripture is not just to furnish the believer but to do so "throughly":

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Scripture reveals Christ, and the command to "search" at least suggests that Christ can be found by those who search - but we are to be searching for Christ, not for the date of His second coming:

John 5:39 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Scripture is written for our admonition, for us to learn to walk godly:

1 Corinthians 10:11 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

The Scriptures were written for our learning, comfort, and hope - not as book of codes:

Romans 15:4 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 4:24-25 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Understanding Scripture

Significance of Numbers

some would immedietly throw out significance of numbers in the bible (or numerology) as total garbage, but the bible is the word of God. From the bible we learn about God. It is very interesting that certain numbers continue to show up: 3 (trinity), 7 (days of creation), 40 (years in the wilderness, days in the ark)

Comparing Scripture to Scripture

There is scarce anything drawn from the obscure places, but the same in other places may be found most plain.


Comparing Spiritual Things With Spiritual Things

1 Corinthians 2:13 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Scripture is not Difficult to Understand; it is Difficult to Believe

It is our own prejudice, foolish expectations, and carnal fancies, that make Scripture difficult.
[Jeremy Taylor]


Context is King


Historical, Relevant Understanding

...see James White's wording on this

Greek and Hebrew, The Original Languages and Translation Errancy


Injecting Modern, 21st Century, Western Thought into the Bible


Alligorical Interpretation

Origen, and many others along with him, have seized the occasion of torturing Scripture, in every possible manner, away from the true sense. They concluded that the literal sense is too mean and poor, and that, under the outer bark of the letter, there lurk deeper mysteries, which cannot be extracted but by beating out allegories. And this they had no difficulty in accomplishing; for speculations which appear to be ingenious have always been preferred, and always will be preferred, by the world to solid doctrine.
[Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 41: Galatians and Ephesians, tr. by John King, [1847-50]]

Alligorical interpretation is the exegetical gateway drug to heresy.

The curse of the allegorical method is that it obscures the true meaning of the Word of God.... The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hand of the exegete. Different doctrinal systems could emerge within the framework of allegorical hermeneutics and no way would exist to determine which were the true.
(Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical interpretation: A textbook of hermeneutics for conservative Protestants, p.22)

James White points out the folly of Camping’s method:

Allegorical interpretations have no more authority than the one proclaiming them … There is not the first bit of rational connection between the passages Camping cites … Harold Camping cannot demonstrate that his teachings carry the authority of the Bible, for as soon as he says, "this is a picture of this," he has left the inspired text behind and is now simply giving you the imaginations of his own heart.
Dangerous Airwaves: Harold Camping Refuted and Christ’s Church Defended (Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2002), pp. 56, 82, 137.

Even Camping admits that his method of biblical interpretation must me employed to understand the end of the church age and other doctrines:

...[A]nyone who follows the man-made, grammatical, historical hermeneutic, which is utilized throughout the church world, will not be able to correctly understand many very important truths of the Bible. This includes the Bible’s teachings concerning the end of the church age, and the fact that the true believers can know much about the timetable and details of the end of the world.
Harold Camping, We Are Almost There!, p.4-5

The word allegory, and the greek word it is translated from, allegoreo, occurs only once in the entire bible:

Galations 4:24 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

It is worth noting that in the above example, the bible clearly identifies the alligorical event, and explains it. There is no guessing involved.

Allegories and spiritual significations, when applied to faith, and that seldom are laudable; but when they are drawn from the life and conversation, they are dangerous, and, when men make too many of them pervert the doctrine of faith. Allegories are fine ornaments, but not of proof. We are not lightly to make use of them, except the principal cause be first sufficiently proved, with strong grounds and arguments, as with St Paul in the fourth chapter to Galatians. The body is the logic, but allegory the rhetoric; now rhetoric, which adorns and enlarges a thing with words, is of no value without logic, which roundly and briefly comprehends a matter. When with rhetoric men will make many words, without ground, it is but a trimmed thing, a carved idol.
John Calvin, Table Talk [DCCLXII, OF ALLEGORIES]

Alligory vs Parable: an important distinction

Mark 4:34 34 But without a parable spake He not unto them.

Is this verse itself an allegory, or are we to understand the literal meaning that Christ spoke in parables? Also, does this verse refer specifically to that preaching event or all of Christ's ministry?

Progressive Revelation


This version has not been updated to reflect all of the current teachings that we understand from the Bible. For example, we now have a correct Biblical knowledge of God’s Judgment process. Therefore, please disregard statements within it that speak of such things as "eternal damnation".

Also this book does not reflect everything that the Bible teaches. Just as God had instructed Daniel in Daniel 12:4 to "shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." We are now in "the time of the end" when God has taken off the seals from His Word. For more biblically-based information on this subject of God's timeline of history as a supplement of our current understanding about the end of the world, please read the publication "We are Almost There" and "To God be the Glory" by Mr. Harold Camping, President of Family Stations, Inc.

The booklets "I Hope God Will Save Me" and "Wheat and Tares" have been updated and do reflect a correct Biblical knowledge of God's salvation plan.

We still think "Time has an End" contains a lot of spiritual truths and will benefit you in your walk with God.

From the web site Time Has An End


Strong's Number G3466 matches the Greek µ?st????? (mysterion), which occurs 27 times in 27 verses in the Greek

1Cr 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Eph 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Col 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.


Rev 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

Isa 48:6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare [it]? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

1Cr 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Mar 4:22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

2Cr 2:14 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Col 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: Col 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

2Ti 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 2Ti 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Hbr 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Extrabiblical Reading/Authority

it is interesting to note that while warning listeners not to read any books about the Bible, but rather to search the Bible alone, Mr. Camping has managed to produce a large number of books and pamphlets explaining or expounding biblical doctrines.


Mat 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Mat 13:10-17
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].

Mat 13:34
34All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Mat 21:45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

Mar 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:

Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Luk 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Pro 26:7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.

Pro 26:9 [As] a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.

Mat 15:15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

Mar 7:17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

Mar 12:12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.

Luk 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luk 20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

Parable not understood by the unsaved:
Jhn 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
... Jhn 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. ...
... Jhn 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.