The Three E’s of Bible Study

Sunday, November 9, 2014

“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8 KJV).

Can you name the three “E’s” of Bible study?

In Nehemiah’s day, 150 years after God deported Judah and Jerusalem to Babylon (their chastisement for centuries of pagan idolatry), the priest-scribe Ezra led some Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem. After Jerusalem’s wall is completed under Nehemiah’s supervision, Ezra preaches to Israel from Moses’ writings (probably Leviticus and/or Deuteronomy). Men are standing with Ezra, explaining God’s Word to Israel. The people are moved, convicted, realizing their sins before God; they are instructed to do right in God’s sight; and they finally obey JEHOVAH’S words by keeping His Feast of Tabernacles (verses 9-18).

Hence, whenever God’s Word is opened and thoughtfully read, these three events should always occur:

  1. ENLIGHTENMENT—“to give spiritual light to; instruct.” Paul prayed for all believers: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,…” (Ephesians 1:17,18).
  2. EDIFICATION—“to instruct or benefit; uplift.” “Edify” is derived from two roots, the first meaning, “to build,” and the second, “house, temple.” The idea is building a structure of sound doctrine inside a person’s soul. Paul and Timothy wrote, “…we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying (2 Corinthians 12:19). “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord giveth us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed” (10:8).
  3. ENCOURAGEMENT—“to put courage in; to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.” Paul wrote to downcast Timothy, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). “[S]tand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries…(Philippians 1:27,28).