“As President, sometimes I have to search for the words to console the inconsolable,” he said. “Sometimes I search Scripture to determine how best to balance life as a President and as a husband and as a father. I often search for Scripture to figure out how I can be a better man as well as a better President.”
Another source gives President Obama’s words as
I Often Search Scripture to Figure Out How I Can Be a Better Man as Well as Better President
I am very excited and pleased to learn that President Obama revealed that he often searches Scripture to find out how he can be a better man as well as a better President.
That is good news.
Now if only someone would clue him in on how to search the Scripture, that would help the process along, and really put him on the right track.
For his benefit, and yours, may I kindly pass along some suggestions on how to search Scripture effectively.
(1) If using hard-copy Bibles, which is best, use two of them. Keep one open to the passage being studied. Use the other one to turn to other places or verses that shed light on the subject or topic you want to study.
(2) Make use of a concordance. Most hard copy Bibles have a concordance at the back of the Bible. I find the concordances at the back of the Bible to be very frustrating because they are so incomplete. But for starters, such concordances will work. If using Bible software, use the search feature in the software, and it will bring up where the word you are searching for is found almost instantaneously. So, for example, to learn what the Bible says about prayer, search for forms of that word, like “pray,” “prayer,” “prayed,” “prays,” “praying,” and you will find many but by no means all of the verses that relate to that subject.
But the Bible often speaks of a subject using different words than the ones you might think of. There are steps you can easily take to find those too.
(3) Study the Bible, or search the Bible, not by word, but by topic. Some better Bibles contain an index to topics in the Bible. Zondervan’s New Encyclopedic Reference Edition has in the front a “Biblical Cyclopedic Index”of topics arranged alphabetically. Many other editions of the Bible contain similar helps. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one of the very best Bibles available for topical study of the Bible.
(4) Study the Bible from a Bible which contains what are called cross references in either side or center column format. Some Bibles have far fewer cross references given in the space at the end of a verse or paragraph; these are not complete enough to provide the help you want for cross reference study.
What are cross references, and why should you make use of them? Cross references are links to other passages in the Bible which are on the same subject, or another aspect of the subject, or to the same word, or the same word in the original language as it is used elsewhere. Sometimes cross references let you know where the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, or vise versa. Sometimes cross references mark out Bible prophecy in the Old Testament by showing where the prophecy is fulfilled in the New Testament.
It is necessary to use cross references in Bible study because not all the information about a subject or doctrine is found together at one place. Cross references lead you to where the subject or doctrine is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. This is absolutely crucial information, because to arrive at what the Bible actually teaches about a subject you must consider all that the Bible says about that subject.
Bibles with cross references abound. One of the best study Bibles for cross reference Bible study is the NIV Study Bible. Bibles in the King James Version which contain excellent cross references include from Collin’s Clear-Type Press the Iona Clear Type Reference Bible; the Oxford University Press Long Primer Bible with Chain References (one of the very best available); The National Bible Press Black Face Type Reference Bible; the Oxford University Press New Emerald Reference Bible. The Holy Bible, Teacher’s Edition, in the American Standard Version has the most complete cross references of any Bible I have in my collection.
(5) For the most complete source of cross references, obtain for your studies The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. The latter two volumes are far more complete than the original Treasury, and have corrected the printing errors of the original source. These Bible study resources are easy to use, and are a far more complete source of cross references than any reference Bible. Both The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (but with all the errors remaining) and The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge are widely available in software format.
The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge contains an important note at Psalm 9:10 about two helpful Bible study methods. One of those methods, the cause/effect method, is very pertinent to practical application Bible study of the kind President Obama appears to be doing. The Subject Index of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge will provide much additional help under the entries “Christian Graces,” ”Priorities,” and “Values.” Further help and direction will also be found in the note to Hebrews 6:9.
If you or the President will make use of the ideas in this post, you will surely be helped to grow spiritually and to develop the character of Christ in your own life, and will find direction from God as He has given it in His Word, the Bible, for any subject of concern to you.