You are responsible to personally study the word of God and understand it because how you respond to what it says will affect your life and eternity. The Scripture recommends that you do not base your belief system on what you hear from the pulpit alone. God wants you to prove (test, examine, verify) all things and to hold to that which is good. We are living in the end time where false doctrines prevail. A time where religious organizations have set aside the teachings and commandments of God to establish their own. For unsuspecting believers, it is very easy to be led astray and fall into the traps of false doctrines. Proving the word of God is the most important task to safeguard anyone who wants to know the truth and wants to do the will of God. You are to have the attitude of the Christians in Berea who heard the word, received it with gladness, but went back home to search the scriptures whether the things they heard were right. In this study, you will be learning some of the ways you can prove the word of God.

Study Questions
1. Why is it essential to prove the word of God.
2. How can you prove the word of God?
3. Who cannot receive the things of the Spirit?
4. Taking the example of the Christian in Berea, how are you to relate with the Scriptures you hear?
5. What should you do if the Scripture is silent about an issue?
6. Are there Scriptures hard to understand?

Questions and Comments
1. Why is it essential to prove the word of God.
Read 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22, Acts 17:10-11
It is your responsibility to verify (research) the doctrines you believe, find out where they come from and who commanded them. Did the Messiah and His Apostles practice or command them, or are they just men’s philosophies and traditions. Proving the word will help you differentiate between what is true and false, between what is right and wrong, and between what God says and what men say. Proving the word makes Bible study interesting, real, thought-provoking, and moments of a true learning experience. By proving the word, you can discover what religion is trying to cover and the lies of men. Proving the word of God is a way of discovering the truth and means of a real deliverance from the bondage of religion. Proving the word of God makes you a true worshipper and not just an observer of religious rites. It is your responsibility to study and prove the word of God because failure to do so may lead to vain worship. In the worship of God, everything must be tested by the written word of God.

Scriptural references
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

1 Thessalonians 5:20-22, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 CJB, “don’t despise inspired messages. But do test everything — hold onto what is good, but keep away from every form of evil.”

Acts 17:10-11, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

2. How can you prove the word of God?
The following suggested points may help you discover the truth when you study the scriptures.
a. Get resources for your Bible study
To get the most out of your study, you need bible resource materials. A bible student must be willing to invest in buying bible concordance, dictionary, commentary, maps, encyclopedia, and so on. You must invest in buying books and bible literature. Have more than one version of the Bible and be ready to study the historical bible background and world history as it relates to the events of the Bible. There are also good audio and video resources that you can use for your study. Getting resources gives you a better understanding of the scriptures if you learn how to use them. Investing in bible resources is like buying the truth and knowledge.

Scriptural references
Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

b. Use more than one Bible translations
There is no single Bible translation that is the best, or 100% accurate. So, in the study of the scriptures, it is essential to use more than one Bible translations. Using more than one interpretation can help you better understand the scriptures that may seem difficult to understand.

There are two types of Bible translations:
1. The Word-for-word or Literal translation and
2. The Free translations.

1. The Word-for-Word Translation (Literal translation)
In this type of translation, the translators translate the original manuscript word for word. Examples of literal bible translation include KJV, NKJV, American Standard Version, Young’s Literal Translation, The Holy Bible in Modern English

2. The Free translations
These are translations that do not follow the word for the word method of interpretation and are divided into Meaning-for-meaning translations and Paraphrase Translations.

Meaning for meaning:
In this type of translation, the translators translate the scriptures using up to date or modern-day Language for a better understanding of the Scriptures. Examples include NIV, GNB, NLT, The Revised English Bible.

Paraphrase Bible translations
These are translations that are easy to read in modern Language. Examples include The Message Bible, The Living Bible

c. Be mindful of the original Language and cultural setting of the scriptures
When you study the scriptures, put in mind the original Language and cultural backgrounds in which the scriptures are written. Remember that the original Scriptures were written in Hebrews in most of the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament. It was from theses original Languages that we have the English, Latin, and other translations. You must also bear in mind that almost all the author God used to write the scriptures are Hebrews. It is, therefore, vital to use a Bible concordance in your study to help you with the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words. When the Language and cultural setting are ignored or not put into consideration, the wrong interpretation is inevitable. Also note that the original manuscript of the scriptures does not have chapters, verses, commas or full stop, Translators added them. Paying attention to how Translators use punctuation marks is a significant consideration when you study the scriptures because when punctuation marks are not used properly, they can change or distort the message God wants to pass to you.

d. The word of God is not for personal interpretation
The main reason there are so many doctrines today is that many interpret the word of God differently. Many even claimed that their understanding is based on the inspiration God gave to them, while others say God spoke to them. Because the word of God demands explanation or teaching, some use that opportunity to interpret it for their gain. In order not to fall into the error of adding or subtracting from the word, a good bible study student must understand the following:

1. The Bible interprets itself
The Creator who wants all men to come to the knowledge of truth has given His words in plain language to be understood. He is not an author of confusion, and He wants His children to have the same mind and speak the same thing. To achieve this, a bible study student must know that the Bible interprets itself. God does not leave the interpretation of His word into the hand of men; instead, He allows His word to explain itself. For the true meaning of Biblical prophesies, events, and doctrines, the answers are in the Bible if you can take the time to study it.

2. You cannot form doctrine by one verse of the scriptures
To form truth or doctrine, you must put into consideration all relevant scriptures (Old and New Testament). The principle must be “here a little, there a little.” All doctrine must fit into God’s overall plan of salvation for man.

e. Be cautious with the words and doctrines not found in the scriptures
There are many words and beliefs not found in the scriptures which have found acceptance in all of Christianity. Many believe and observe them without questions because they are long-held practices. Some even cite a few verses of the scriptures to support those practices. They made the word of God to say what they want it to say. Some of the words or terms not found in the Bible include Rapture, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Trinity, Lent, and so on. Any believer who truly wants to know the will of God must sincerely study and research the origin of these doctrines. If the all-knowing God did not inspire the holy men used to write the Scripture to use them, can we say God made a mistake? The reason you need to be cautious of the words that are not in the Bible is that they can put you on a different path of belief system different from what the Creator intended. Let’s look at the case of Easter.

a) Easter.
Many celebrate Easter because it is a long-held tradition, and of course, in the King James Version of the Bible, it is a celebration written in one of its pages. Even so, many believed that the disciples and the early Church celebrated it. But it is crucial to note that the only Bible version that used the word “Easter” is the King James Version, as written in Acts 12:4 and is the single verse that mentions Easter in the whole of that translation. The Greek word translated as Easter is “Pascha,” which was translated as Passover in all other places of the translation where the same Greek word is found. Other Bible translations rendered the Greek word correctly as Passover.

With this in mind, it can be concluded that rendering the Greek word “Pascha” as Easter in the King James Version was a translation error. This error was corrected in the New King James Version, which correctly rendered “Pascha” as Passover and not Easter. “Pascha” can only mean Passover and never Easter. The early Church did not celebrate Easter, what they observed was Passover. The reason the apostles cannot celebrate Easter is that it is a celebration rooted in pagan practices.

Why you must pay attention to words or doctrines that are not in the Scriptures is that many of them are inventions of translators to promote their personal beliefs or the traditions of their religious organization. Again, a biblical doctrine cannot be formed by just using one verse of the Scriptures; it must be “here a little, there a little.” God always mentions the teachings He wants us to follow more than once in His Word. And for the feasts He wants to celebrate, God gave them specific names, when to celebrate them, and why they are observed. He made them so clear to rule out doubts in anyone’s mind because they are mentioned several times both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. To know the mind of God on any subject of the Bible, you must consider all the relevant Bible verses.

a. Acts 12:4 comparing Bible translations
King James Version – KJV
“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”

New King James Version- NKJV
“So, when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.”

New International Version- NIV
“After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”

Good News Bible-GNB
“After his arrest, Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible – HCSB
“After the arrest, he put him in prison and assigned four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover.”

New Living Tradition – NLT
“Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.”

Revised Standard Version – RSV
“And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.”

New English Translation – NET
“When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”

You may also check other translations not stated above.

b. How the Greek word “Pascha” was translated in other verses of the Scriptures.
In the New Testament, the Greek word “Pascha” is translated as follows.
1. “Of the Passover,” 3 times, e.g., Luke 2:41, John 13:1, John 19:14.
2. “Passover,” 4 times, e.g., Luke 22:15, John 3:13, John 11:55, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
3. “The Passover”, 21 times, e.g., Matthew 26: 2, 17,18, 19; Mark 14: 1,12,14,16; Luke 22: 1, 7, 8, 11, 13; John 2:23; John 11:55; John 6: 4; John 12: 1; John 18: 28, 39; Hebrews 11: 28.

c. What feast did the Messiah and the disciples celebrate?
Read Luke 2:41, John 2:13, John 2:23, Luke 22:7-8, Mark 14:12, Matthew 26:19, Leviticus 23:4-5.
It is evident from the Scriptures that the parents of the Messiah kept the Passover. The Messiah and his disciples kept the Passover. Passover is not just the feast of the Jews; it is the feast of the Lord, and believers are required to observe it.

Scriptural references
Luke 2:41, “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.”

John 2:13, “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”

John 2:23, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.”

Luke 22:7-8, “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”

Mark 14:12, “Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”

Matthew 26:19, “So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.”

Leviticus 23:4-5, “These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.”

1 Corinthians 5:8, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

f) Be prayerful
Read Psalms 119:18, Ephesians 1:17-18, Luke 24:45

The word of God cannot be understood by a natural man, even when they are clear and straightforward. So, prayer is an essential part of a Bible Study. It is important to start your Bible study with words of prayer, asking God to guide you through His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to open your eyes, to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, and to open your mind to understand the Scripture. You need God to help you because His Word can only be spiritually discerned. Following all the above suggestions may not work without prayer.

Scriptural references
Psalms 118:18, Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.

Ephesians 1:17-18, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Luke 24:45, And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

g) Let the Holy Spirit teach you.
Read John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2: 10-11

Above all, trust the Holy Spirit and let Him be your teacher. The Holy Spirit can teach you the scriptures and let you remember them. God gave us His Spirit to guide us into the truth, making us understand the letter and the spirit behind the word of God. The Holy Spirit is the Revealer of the mind or the deep things of God concerning what has been written in the Holy Scriptures. Without the Holy Spirit, you cannot truly understand the Scriptures because they are spiritually discerned.

Scriptural references
John 14:26, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

1 Corinthians 2: 10-11, But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

3. Who cannot receive the things of the Spirit?
Read 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 8:5, Galatians 5:17, John 6:63, Galatians 5:16.

The Scripture says a natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit. But who is a natural man? A natural man is someone yet to be converted, who has not reconciled with God hence without the Spirit of God. Someone who is living in the flesh (in his understanding and sin).

Scriptural references
1 Corinthians 2:14, But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

Galatians 5:16, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

4. Taking the example of the Christian in Berea, how are you to relate with the Scriptures you hear?
Read Acts 17:11
When you hear the Word of God, it is essential to compare what you hear with the truth of the Scripture.

Scriptural references
Acts 17:11, Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

5. What should you do if the Scripture is silent about an issue?
Read Romans 14:23, 1 John 3:20-21, 1 Thessalonians 5: 22, Proverbs 11: 14, Proverbs 24:6.

Is there any precept or principle in the Word of God you can use to discern what you must do? If yes, follow it. What does your conscience tell you? If it condemns you, you need to think twice. Does it appear as evil? Runaway from it. In all things, seek counsel from your ministers.

Scriptural references
Romans 14:22-23, “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”

1 John 3:20-21, For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

1 Thessalonians 5: 22, Abstain from every form of evil

Proverbs 11: 14, Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 24:6, For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors, there is safety.

6. Are there Scriptures hard to understand?
Read Proverbs 8: 8-9, 2 Peter 3:15, 16, John 6:60, 1 Corinthians 2:11, Acts 8.

Most of the scriptures are straightforward and can be understood by a converted mind. In the case of those difficult ones, you need to trust the Holy Spirit (who knows the mind of God) prayerfully for the truth God intends. Studying and proving the word can help you with the understanding of Bible difficult questions. Seeking counsel from your ministers is also a wise thing to do in your quest for accurate knowledge of the scriptures. You need someone to guide you sometimes to understanding Bible difficult questions, Acts 8.

Scriptural references
Proverbs 8: 8-9, All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.

2 Peter 3:15, 16, and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

John 6:60, Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

1 Corinthians 2:11, For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Acts 8:30-31, “So Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.”

You are responsible for proving the Word of God. The reasons you must verify the word of God is that it will help you to differentiate between what is true and false, between what is right and wrong, and between what God says and what men say. In proving the Scriptures, you need to get Bible resources, have more than one Bible translations, and when you study the Bible, you must be mindful of its original language and cultural setting. You must bear in mind that the word of God is not for personal interpretation. Be cautious with the terms and doctrines not found in the scriptures and be always praying that God will open your mind to understanding His word.
And most importantly, you must be a student under the teaching and leading of the Holy Spirit. Fear God and believe His word for what it says. You must know that God does not make mistakes, but men are fallible.