In my immediately preceding post I cited Bishop Horsley on the value of using cross references in Bible study.
The study of the Bible using cross references will permit the Bible reader to come to an accurate understanding of what the Bible itself teaches. After studying the Bible using cross references, no other source of Bible teaching will shake your faith because you absolutely know for yourself what it is the Bible declares on any subject in the Bible you have studied this way.
Studying the Bible using cross references is a sure way to become grounded in your faith. It is a sure method of Bible study that will protect you from those who would attempt to teach you false doctrine, or false teaching, as if from the Bible.
More than a decade ago I visited the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at their kind invitation, on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, for a most important service at the time of year we call Easter. I met one of the congregation leaders after the service, a local doctor, who asked if he might come to my home to study the Bible with me and share what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. I said that I always welcome further Bible teaching, and anything they could show me that could be sustained by what the Bible actually teaches, I would surely believe.
As I recall, we commenced a “book study.” I obtained through him a large, hardbound, red-covered study on the book of Revelation. That might have been the piece of literature we were studying from.
In any case, the Jehovah’s Witness literature made reference to a very interesting verse of Scripture, though it really did not directly comment upon the passage itself, it only cited it at the end of a paragraph.
I asked the good doctor if he could tell me more about that verse.
He said that frankly, he could not. But he would look further into the matter and bring me a copy of what explanation the Watchtower Society might have in its other literature.
When he next came, he brought me a Xerox copy of a page which cited the verse. He admitted there was no actual explanation about the verse available in any of the Watchtower literature sources he could access.
I offered to print out for him from my computer upstairs a page of cross references for the chapter, and that verse, for his reference. He said he would like for me to do that. I printed out the copy, and gave it to him. He said he would study the cross references as given.
When he came back for the next study, he shared with me that he now saw that I was right, and that he and the Watchtower Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses were absolutely wrong. But, he said, “I am glad that I have no fear of death, for I shall die like a dog, and not have to face hell torment.”
The doctor told me he could not give up his association with the Watchtower, for his family was deeply connected with it, and he could not face losing them. Furthermore, he told me, so many individuals in his practice were Jehovah’s Witnesses, he could not remain in business if he lost those clients.
The doctor told me that he could not continue any further with me in our studies, and that, following the command of Jesus, he must leave my home, and “shake the dust off his feet” as he left. My wife and I observed him do just that, and we have never seen him again.
A number of people have asked me just what verse of Scripture I had furnished him the cross references to. Over this period of time, well more than a decade now, I have forgotten just which Scripture text was involved.
This morning I resolved to find the Xerox page the doctor had brought me. I found the page. My memory was correct that the verse involved came from Isaiah. But I had completely forgotten, and wrongly remembered, just which text this was. The doctor had highlighted the Scripture reference with a yellow highlighter, and the passage involved was Isaiah 55:3.
Now consider. Here was an experienced leader in the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I did not discuss with the doctor my own belief at any time. I read along with him material from his Watchtower Society literature, and dutifully answered the questions for each paragraph, questions given at the bottom of each page. I did not argue any Bible doctrine with him whatsoever.
I shared with him a printout of cross references for Isaiah 55:3 without comment of any kind.
He, apart from me, not in my presence, looked up those verses which explain that text.
The verses completely convinced him that his whole system of belief was absolutely wrong, and clearly not in accord with what the Bible itself teaches.
This strikingly demonstrates the power of cross reference Bible study, and confirms what Bishop Horsley claims about the importance and usefulness of this method of Bible study.
Here is the text of the verse the doctor consulted, namely, Isaiah 55:3,
Isa 55:3Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
And here are the cross references for Isaiah 55:3,
3. Incline. Ps 78:1. 119:112. Pr 4:20. come. Mt 11:28. Jn 6:37, 44, 45. 7:37. hear. Mt 13:16. 17:5. Jn 5:24, 25. 8:47. 10:27. soul. Heb. nephesh, +Ge 12:13. and I will. Is 54:8. 61:8. Ge 17:7. Je 31:33, 34. 32:40. 50:5. He 13:20. everlasting. Heb. olam, +Ge 17:7. +Ge 9:16. covenant. Jg 2:1. 2 S 7:10-16. +Ps 74:20. 89:34. the sure mercies. +Is 41:9. +Is 54:8-10. +Is 59:21. +2 S 7:10, 15. 23:5. +Ps 89:3, 28, 33, 35-37. +Ps 132:11. +Je 33:20, 21, 25, 26. Ezk 37:24, 25. +Ac 13:34. of David. Is 38:5. +Ac 13:23.
The “+” symbol means “find more here” in the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.