Methods of Bible Study Part 8F–Guidance

F. Guidance

A most practical use of Scripture is to use it to discern guidance from God for the decisions of life. Caution is in order. Guidance is not properly obtained by opening the Bible at random and hoping for a verse to pop out! But if we read the Bible carefully, it can and will provide guidance from God.

1. Stop.

When you are not clear on God’s revealed will, it is useless to advance. Let your heart seek the face of God in quietness. Find out God’s will about a subject by studying what the Bible says about that subject. Use such Bible study helps as a concordance, a topical analysis of Scripture like The New Topical Textbook, a source of more complete cross references like The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

2. Look.

Read and meditate specifically in Bible books dealing with the devotional life and the will of God: Psalms, Proverbs, Philippians.

3. Listen.

Take time–time enough to forget time. Immerse yourself in God’s Word, the Bible. Seek out what God has to say to you in His written Word.

4. Write it down.

Once you have found guidance about the matter you are seeking guidance for, write it down. This is important in case a question should later arise about the guidance you received. If you have written it down carefully, showing the basis in Scripture used to arrive at the guidance or a decision, you can check back any time later to confirm what you learned from Scripture. Further study of the Bible may sometimes require you to adjust what you had learned before. This is normal, and it is a good thing.

5. Test it.

Test the guidance you received by allowing time to pass before making any drastic new moves or changes in your life. Test guidance received already by confirming or disconfirming it by more study of Scripture. Test guidance received by sharing it with trusted Bible-believing friends who are more mature spiritually than yourself for their suggestions or criticism or confirmation. But do not merely shop around for opinions you like.

6. Take the step.

Once guidance has been received, and confirmed, follow the guidance by living or acting accordingly.

7. Obedience.

God never gives guidance which is contrary to His Word as it is found in the Bible. Obey His written Word. God in this age and time does not communicate directly to us through dreams and visions. The book of Jeremiah in chapter 23 contains plain warning against dreams and visions. Do not ask God to engineer special circumstances to confirm His guidance for you, especially when you know that the path you want to follow is contrary to what the Bible teaches.

I have provided extensive notes and Bible cross references to the subject of guidance in both The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible at 1 Kings 12:7 (“Sources of wise counsel”); 1 Kings 12:10 (“Sources of unwise counsel”); 1 Kings 13:9 (“Sources of true guidance”); 1 Kings 13:18 (“Sources and dangers of false guidance”).

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14 Responses to Methods of Bible Study Part 8F–Guidance

  1. ken sagely says:

    hello jerry, excellent post on guidance every point you list is very helpful.”pro 14/12 there is a way which seemth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” this vs reminds me that of myself i cant direct my life. i need the lord and his word. to show me the right decisions and paths to follow. pms 119/105 thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. the lord not only shows the right path in his word but gives us examples of those who dont follow his counsel! israel is used as an example of making wrong choices without consulting his word. psm 106/13″ they soon forgat his works; they waited not for his consul. v14 but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted god in the desert. the point is we can do the same thing in our daily lives! thats why the lord wants to meet with us and have fellowship with him daily i jn 1/3. he speaks to us through his word and we speak to him through prayer. hes interested in every detail in our lives every worry, fear,burden,blessing,joy we have. “what a friend we have in jesus”.

  2. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    Nice to see you visiting here again! For some reason your post did not automatically post itself as it normally does.

    I encourage the readers here to carefully search this question out directly from Scripture should it interest or concern them, following the principles of doing independent Real Bible Study advocated here, in accordance with the 23 Rules of Interpretation I have shared in the October 2010 Archives.

    If anything Mr. Edward Fudge teaches poses a problem or raises a question for you that you cannot answer readily from your own study and knowledge of Scripture, post a direct question on a very specific issue here and I will attempt to give you some careful guidance to point you to the strictly Biblical answer.

    I have planned, in the back of my mind at least, to thoroughly examine and refute Mr. Edward Fudge’s position on this subject. I also have planned, in the back of my mind, to thoroughly examine and refute Mr. Dave Armstrong, co-editor of the Catholic Answer Bible, in a series I tentatively plan to title “The Catholic Answer Bible Answered.”

    But at present on this site I am still in the midst of presenting my Methods of Bible Study series, and I do not wish to interrupt the continuity of that presentation by delving into other matters until that series is completed.

    Besides, I am presently working on extending the cross references for Bible study, and am as far as Acts 9 this evening.

  3. A. Way says:

    Jerry, Jerry. Cleaver tactic. Confuse people by putting Edward Fudge together with Dave Armstrong. Poison the well? Really Jerry. That is a low blow, even for you! Hard to swallow for you, I know, but Edward Fudge is an evangelical Christian. And one who has read the Bible, putting aside all preconceived ideas, and taking the Bible for what is says. And what is says is very plain on the topic.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    1 John 5:12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

    Yet – Jerry, you claim that every one has eternal life. Some with God, some with eternal torment. People! Wake up! Read the Bible for yourselves. To not take what others claim. Come to your own conclusions. Read the Bible for what is says.

  4. Jeff Franklin says:

    I’ve been a visitor to this website for quite some time. Seeing as I don’t have the same knowledge of the intricacies of Bible topics as others do here, I’ve never seen fit to post since I would not be adding value to the discussion.

    A. Way

    Anyone, myself included, can find a specific verse which appears to contradict another specific verse. When taken in context, these apparent contradictions become null and void.

    Numerous times I’ve seen where Jerry has posted that when presented with evidence which confirms a view other than his own, he would review it and adapt. What I have yet to see is your polite, respectful, professional reply to such posts which documents your view on any given topic and supports it with irrefutable biblical facts.

    Your statements are almost universally of a snarky persuasion, and I see no reason for your consistent disrespectful manner.

    What exactly gives you the right to sneer at the words of a gentleman who is not only an experienced Bible Scholar but also has multiple published works in use all over the globe?

  5. Brad Heath says:

    Dear A. Way

    How do you know Mr. Fudge has studied the bible with ‘no preconceived ideas’? Do you know absolutely that a spiritcan die? Are you a conditionalist? Does our God give everyone the opportunity to receive Christ and His porpitiating work? After all no man will have an excuse befor God, right? Won’t the persons unbelief send them to Hell? DO you understand the picture in Luke 16:19-31? I did listen to those links and know this the only message that needs to be in front of the world is Jesus Christ who is every man’s hope to live eternally with a loving God.

    BTW, I always thought only Jehovah’s Witnesses believed in anialation. I now know some others do. Could it be that the conditionalist have come to their conclusion in the very same way?

    Have a good day A. Way

  6. Brad Heath says:

    Dear Jerry and A. Way,

    I am no scholar or theologian but I am a degreed with a Bachelors in Computers and some Graduate degree work. Most of all I am a child of God. I am of the opinion that there is not really that much of a discussion on the topic of ‘Hell’ or sheol torment to begin with in Scripture. At least not enough to write the volumes of books on the subject or even the books Fudge has written. Thirdly, no one has ever been to Hell to even know to what degree of bad it is other thah bad. Lastly, I see most of these discussions as divisive and an attack on the unity of the body of Christ. Just look at the damage Calvin and Armenius caused (and is still causing). Neither of those theological systems are correct enough to follow as they are; both are loaded with error! Sorry if I have misspelled any words. I am mostly blind and do make mistakes.

    In His Service to my Brothers in Christ

  7. Jerome Smith says:

    Thank you, Mr. A. Way and Brad Heath, for continuing this discussion.

    I just completed Acts 9 this evening.

    Now, Mr. A. Way, I do believe you accidentally drew a mistaken conclusion by suggesting that I am equating Mr. Fudge with Mr. Dave Armstrong.

    I have never met Mr. Fudge. I printed an article he wrote from the Internet which is somewhere in the pile on my desk here in the library room. I do believe he is mistaken in his handling of Scripture, and on the issue of Hell is most surely mistaken.

    I know Mr. Armstrong personally. He invited me to make a presentation at his Catholic Study Group at his home in Dearborn, Michigan, shortly after the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge was published. My brother regularly attended that study.

    That study group resulted in the conversion of Dave Armstrong to Roman Catholicism. He had been an Evangelical Christian, well acquainted with the Bible, before this happened. In fact, shortly before his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, he had presented on my former student Pastor Emery Moss’s radio program a very well-done apologetic defense of Biblical Christianity in answer to the Jehovah’s Witnesses which I happened to hear.

    It is my belief that while there may be some Roman Catholics who are genuinely saved because they have truly placed their faith in what our Lord Jesus Christ did for them on the Cross, I suspect most Roman Catholics have followed the teaching of their church, which I believe is utterly mistaken on salvation matters.

    Only the Lord knows the hearts, and Paul cautioned us to “judge nothing before the time” (1 Corinthians 4:5), but I am most concerned that for anyone to turn from Biblical Christianity to belief in the Roman Catholic faith is tantamount to committing apostasy.

    I received ten books today by Dave Armstrong, who is now a noted apologist for the Roman Catholic faith. I have the Catholic Answer Bible, of which he is the co-editor of the special notes in that edition.

    The Roman Catholic Study Group held at Dave Armstrong’s home resulted in the conversion of Mr. Al Kresta, a very popular and effective radio talk show host for the program, “Talk from the Heart,” on WMUZ-FM in Detroit, to Roman Catholicism. I believe Al Kresta was a pastor of a local Protestant church, but I do not know what denomination it was. It may be that Al Kresta was converted back to Roman Catholicism, for if I recall correctly, he had been raised in the Roman Catholic faith by his parents.

    One of my own Sunday school class members, who was raised Roman Catholic, but found Christ as his personal Savior, has returned to his former Roman Catholic faith.

    I am very concerned that there is a lack of solid Bible teaching and apologetics in our Evangelical, Bible-believing churches. I believe I should have done more than I did in teaching my high school Sunday school class about apologetics, for while I answered the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Christ most thoroughly, I did not delve as deeply into Roman Catholicism. I did share with my class some reading material pointing out the apostasy of Roman Catholicism, but I did not dwell on the issue.

    In particular, I shared the content of a booklet titled “Why Protestants and Roman Catholics Must Forever Remain Apart,” or something very similar. The main point the booklet addressed had to do with the fact that Roman Catholicism has an entirely false salvation plan, for it teaches the grace of salvation is received only through the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. The Biblical plan of salvation is not based upon our participation in or reception of the sacraments of the church, but on our placing our faith in Jesus Christ, and placing faith in what He has done to procure our salvation, received by faith alone, and resulting in the new birth or our regeneration.

    One would think that anyone who understood the difference between the two systems or plans of salvation would never fall prey to the false apologetic of Roman Catholicism. But this sacerdotal heresy still represents a very fatal danger to those who fall victim to its false reasoning.

  8. Jerry says:

    Dear Jeff Franklin,

    I very much enjoyed your comments above. I did not know you had posted to this thread because the alerts I am usually sent just stopped coming. I would have approved it sooner, otherwise. It was my son Tim in Arizona who called to let me know that there was discussion going on for this thread, and specifically mentioned your name. How he saw it when I could not see it is a mystery for me, but he is far more advanced than I am when it comes to these things involving computers and the Internet. I poked around on my site behind the scenes and found where the new posts awaiting approval had gone.

    Again, thanks for the comment. I am glad to learn you have been reading this site for some while.

  9. Jerry says:

    Dear Brad,

    One would never guess, just from normal devotional reading and study of the Bible, that there could possibly be so much controversy and diversity of opinion and interpretation on the subject of life and destiny after death. But when one is prompted to dig deeper into these subjects, there is much in the Bible that bears upon these issues.

    You are very correct to zero in on the issues (1) how objective is Mr. Fudge in his direct study of the Bible itself and (2) what does the Bible itself teach regarding death, particularly the death of the spirit. In Scripture, souls and spirits are NEVER said to die in a physical sense when the reference is to the immaterial part of man.

    The proof of this must be based upon a very meticulous and complete induction of ALL the evidence in the Bible–something that those who believe in what may be called theological materialism have not properly done.

    I have presented the full induction of all the evidence in the Bible pertaining to the topic of soul and spirit starting in my notes in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible at Genesis 2:7.

    You have mentioned the controversy between the Calvinistic viewpoint and the Arminian viewpoint. Without question (for anyone who will read the Bible carefully for themselves) Calvinism is not supported by what the Bible itself teaches. Arminianism is closer to the teaching of the Bible, but I think it too suffers from its need to assert an artificial construct to underpin its system that is probably not directly taught in Scripture, namely the matter of what they call “prevenient grace.”

    Now, just because a doctrinal term does not appear as such in the Bible does not mean it is a false doctrine. The word “Trinity” does not occur in the Bible, but the Bible does most definitely and provably teach that there is one God, yet the Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Holy Spirit is called God, and all three are Persons who possess the attributes of God.

    None of the Arminian writers I have been reading has carefully laid out the Biblical basis for “prevenient grace” in a manner comparable to what I just laid out to demonstrate the Biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity. Arminian and Calvinist writers are extremely weak on Biblical exegesis that conforms to the 23 Rules of Interpretation I have delineated in the October 2010 archives here.

    Roger Olson, a major contemporary scholarly Arminian theologian actually stated in one of his books I just read that he does not believe the Arminian case against Calvinism can actually be proven exegetically from Scripture.

    On that point he is absolutely mistaken. Even he needs to study my 23 Rules of Interpretation, with a special focus upon the rule pertaining to following the grammar of Scripture. No Calvinist has ever proven the case for Calvinism exegetically from the Bible, starting with John 3:16.

  10. Brad Heath says:

    Thank you Jerry. Y was going to write a reply to Mr. A Way about previent grace but you handles it. The case against theology is it has so much of man in it; preveinent grace being on of man’s ideas. It is God’s grace not a combination of multiple ‘graces’.

    I believe in the ‘Trinity’ but think the scripture does a much better job of describing the godhead by itself. Tertullian came up with this description from his pagen roots that had a ‘trinity’.

    I prefer this view of the godhead; it is all clearly proveable by scripture in the New Testament.
    Yes the Fater is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. They are One God. TFather is only refered to as spirit, the Son was a person as well as a spirit when He walked among us, and the Holy Spirit is spirit. Theology has made all ‘persons not scripture.

    When the scripture mentions the Father (or the term God by itself) we see /the will of God being expressed.

    The will of God is expressed through the Son, the Word of God.

    The Word of God is given, sent, imparted by the power of God, the Holy Spirit.

    We can see all three in the godhead in the scriptures and rhe will, the Word, and the power of the One God is seen. I truely believe this view expresses the proper view of God and is all biblically sound. If theologians and pastors and teachers just stuck with Scripture and leave the man stuff out we would all be better off. The Holy Spirit has never granted understanding of man’s stuff. He only gives understanding of His Word. I already know the intellectual community will be screaming heretic, heretic. So be it let them prove me wrong BY SCRIPTURE and not using theological babble, the Counsels , or the Confessions. The Scripture always trumps man made understanding. Let God be true and let 1 John 2:27 be true.

    God Bless

  11. Jerry says:

    Thank you, Brad, for your comment. I agree.

    I just listened to Edward Fudge, two of the three links that Mr. A. Way posted. Mr. Fudge teaches “Conditionalism,” and does not believe in eternal conscious punishment in hell that is never-ending. From what I heard in the two interviews, he does not really have an adequate argument from Scripture to support his case, though he thinks he does. I am surprised that so many “major lights” in Evangelicalism would accept Mr. Fudge’s view as viable as a Bible based doctrine. I suspect some of these men were either easy push-overs, not well grounded in their Biblical theology, or otherwise not informed Scripturally on the subject. Fudge attempts to gloss over the term “perish” in John 3:16 and Matthew 10:28 and to take a very unsophisticated view of Romans 6:23, ” the wages of sin is death,” failing to recognize that Scripture most clearly speaks of death in two senses in both the Old Testament and the New Testament–spiritual death and physical death.

    Unless the two presentations I just heard are not representative of Mr. Fudge’s scholarship, I do believe he will not be as unanswerable as some might suppose. In fact, in comments scattered about this site, much of what I heard him mistakenly affirm I have already answered.

    But I plan to devote more time and effort to hear him out in case I missed something crucial.

    You were correct in identifying his position as “Conditionalism.” The doctrine of conditional immortality is a mistaken or false doctrine in terms of what the Bible actually teaches. John 5:28-29 tells us both the saved and the unsaved will experience bodily resurrection. Matthew 25:46 tells us both the saved and the lost continue their existence eternally, and in this verse the GRAMMAR will not allow for any differentiation in the usage or meaning of the term eternal or everlasting: the punishment continues eternally for as long as everlasting life does, and elsewhere (Romans 16:26) the same Greek word is descriptive of how long God will continue to live or exist. Matthew 25:41 tells us that it is our Lord Jesus Christ himself who gives the sentence to those who are lost. This pretty much answers the doctrine of so-called “conditional immortality.” All live forever, but some live in a place and condition much more desirable than those who are lost. The Bibe never teaches that the lost are punished for a limited time proportional to their guilt and then cease to exist. The Bible does teach that there are degrees of punishment just as there are degrees of reward. Luke 12:48 is a good starting place to find the cross references to the Bible passages which teach that.

  12. Chris Date says:

    “The doctrine of conditional immortality is a mistaken or false doctrine in terms of what the Bible actually teaches.”

    I thought so as well, up until a little over a year ago when I actually started doing meaningful research. What I discovered was that conditionalism is actually far, FAR more consistent with all the biblical data on the subject than is the traditional view of hell. I never wanted to abandon the traditional view in favor of conditionalism; I don’t think eternal torment is unjust or inconsistent with God’s character or anything like that. All I care about is exegesis of the text. And what I discovered was that real exegesis of the relevant texts supports conditionalism every time.

    “John 5:28-29 tells us both the saved and the unsaved will experience bodily resurrection.”

    And we conditionalists acknowledge that.

    “Matthew 25:46 tells us both the saved and the lost continue their existence eternally”

    Incorrect. All it says is that the punishment is eternal. But the question is, what is the punishment? Permanent annihilation is an eternal punishment. Matthew 25:46 doesn’t help traditionalism at all.

    “Matthew 25:41 tells us that it is our Lord Jesus Christ himself who gives the sentence to those who are lost.”

    That’s right, and in the two other places where “eternal fire” is used, it refers to fire which destroys, not fire which burns eternally. Jude uses the phrase to refer the fire which came down from heaven and decimated Sodom and Gomorrah. In Matthew 18:8 it’s linked with Gehenna, and in the Old Testament God said He would make Gehenna the valley of slaughter where scavenging beasts and birds won’t be prevented from fully consuming corpses. Matthew 25:41 favors conditionalism, rather than work against it.

    “This pretty much answers the doctrine of so-called “conditional immortality.”

    As I’ve demonstrated, that is incorrect.

    “The Bible does teach that there are degrees of punishment just as there are degrees of reward.”

    Which is not at all inconsistent with conditionalism.

    If you’d like to actually interact with conditionalist arguments, I would consider checking out In our latest podcast episode, published yesterday, I knock down all of the proof-texts and extra-biblical arguments typically leveled by traditionalists against our view. In fact, I demonstrate how with virtually no exception, every single one of those proof-texts actually supports our view better than the traditional view. Enjoy!

  13. Jerry says:

    Dear Chris Date,

    Thank you for a very interesting, challenging comment.

    I believe I have thoroughly studied both sides of this issue, and more, over a span of many years.

    Unlike most, perhaps, I continue to study and re-examine what I believe on the basis of additional study of God’s Word, the Bible. I believe that as we learn more of what the Bible teaches, we will from time to time learn something that requires us to adjust our former understanding, and so understand the truth more accurately than before.

    “Conditional immortality is a mistaken or false doctrine in terms of what the Bible actually teaches.” I stand firmly behind my statement. “Conditional immortality” appears to me to be just another name for what has been called the doctrine of annihilation. Annihilation is not the teaching of the Bible whatsoever.

    But your most welcome post leads me to believe I ought to post some significant evidence from the Bible that I have found which I believe conclusively proves my position.

    It is too late tonight for me to engage in such a complex topic. But I hope to make this subject the focus of a new series soon.

    If you poke around on this site a bit, you will find that this subject has come up before, and I believe I have thoroughly answered the alternative views brought up by others in discussion here.

    Thank you for sharing the link to your material. I look forward to checking it out further. Until Tuesday of this past week my Internet connection here was too slow to watch videos on line because it often takes much time for “buffering” to take place. But now I have something called DSL, so I should be able to get more from your site.

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