How to Dig Deeper using Cross Reference Bible Study

Many times at this site, Real Bible, some of the best information about Bible study and how to do it is hidden in the comments section as I post comments in response to those who post their questions or comments on an article.

On September 5, 2012, I posted a comment to a blind or nearly blind visitor to this site who asked specifically how to study a particular verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Ironically, another poster to an article in the Atheist and Agnostic category here objected to the contradiction I committed: he read that I affirm that one should study the Bible alone and independently in its plain text, and thought it very odd that I proceeded to detail step by step how to study 2 Corinthians 5:17. I explained that unknown to him, the poster whose question I was answering was unable to read printed text on paper, so was virtually blind, limited to studying the Bible by computer only. The poster had informed me that he has the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on his computer as part of his Logos 4 software, and asked for help on how to use it most effectively in his studies.

Here is the answer, just as I wrote it, to Brad, the vision impaired poster:

[9-5-12 To Brad on How to dig deeper with the NTSK for 2C5v17]

Dear Brad,

You are utterly correct when you remind us that “Knowing God is only accomplished through the mind of Christ, your renewed mind and your new heart. Anything outside of your new creation is dead.”

The subject of discipleship is a most important one. I have placed notes at a number of places in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge about this subject. It was a matter of great concern to me when I was teaching my original high school Sunday school class. You can access all of the New Treasury notes on this theme if you start from Jonah 4:11 for the key words that great city. At the end of that note, notice the passages given under “See related notes (1 Th 3:5n. He 3:13n. 6:9n),” and be sure to study those too.

At 2 Corinthians 5:17, I believe the best way to study this verse and its relationship to the rest of the truths in Scripture that connect to it is to (1) look up all the cross references in turn just as they are given.

17. if. FS184A, +1 Cor 15:2. in Christ. ver. 1 Cor 5:19, 21. 2 Cor 12:2. *Is 45:17, 24, 25. Jn +14:20 (+Jn 14:20). *Jn 15:2, 5. 17:23. +*Ro 8:1n, Ro 8:9. 16:7, 11. 1 Cor *1:30 (*1 Cor 1:30). Ga 1:22. 3:28. *Ga 5:6. *Ep 1:3, 4. Phil 4:21. Col 1:19, 20. *1 J 4:13. he is. or, let him be. or, he is created. FS63E2, +1 S 13:8. a new. Gr. kainos, new in quality, not time, +*Mk 2:22n. Ps 51:10. Ezk 11:19. 18:31. 36:26. Mt 12:33. +*Jn 3:3, 5. *Ga 6:15. **Ep 2:10. +*Re 2:17. creature. FS121I1, +Ge 3:7. T#591. Dt 30:6. +Jb 2:3 (T#645). Ps 102:18. *Ezk 36:26. Jn 1:13. +*Jn 3:3, 5. Ro 2:28, 29. +Ro 6:4. Ga 5:24. 6:15. Ep 2:15. Titus 3:5. Re 21:5. old. ver. 16 (1 Cor 5:16). Is 43:18, 19. 65:17, 18. Mt 9:16, 17. 24:35. Ro *6:4-6 (*Ro 6:4-6).  Ro 7:6. 8:9, 10. 1 Cor 13:11. Ep 2:15. *Ep 4:22-24. *Phil 3:7-9. *Col 3:1-10. He 8:9-13. 2 P 3:10-13. Re 21:1-5. become new. Is 66:17, 18.

Then go back and (2) look up the cross references given at each verse marked with a “+” sign. For example, for 2 Corinthians 5:17, a reference so marked with the “+” sign for the key words in Christ is Jn +14:20 (+Jn 14:20). This indicates that for further and deeper study, go to Jn 14:20 and consult the cross references given there.

Joh 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Then, when you have completed checking out the cross references at Jn 14:20, come back to 2 Corinthians 5:17 and go to the next passage that has the “+” symbol, which is Romans +8:1n (+Ro 8:1n). Notice carefully (3) that for Romans 8:1 I have placed an explanatory note in addition to cross references for study.

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Follow this procedure for the remainder of the cross references given at 2 Corinthians 5:17.

You may wish to dig deeper by following this process I just described at either some or all of the passages at 2 Corinthians 5:17 which have the “+” symbol.

I have done this frequently in my own study. I have found, and set up the cross references so that they in particular are designed to be followed “three layers deep.” By this I mean, starting at 2 Corinthians 5:17, you could dig deeper going to Jn +14:20 (+Jn 14:20). That is the “second layer.”

The “third layer” would involve working from John +14:20 (+Jn 14:20), and reading the verses marked with a “+” symbol, turning to those passages and looking up their cross references. At John 14:20, for example, the first passage marked with a “+” follows the key words I am in, and is the reference to Jn 5:17. The next passage with a “+” at 2 Corinthians 5:17 is the reference to Ro +8:1n (+Ro 8:1n). That passage makes for a very full study of the subject indeed. To explore the “third level” from Ro 8:1, follow up on references there for the key words in Christ which have the “+” symbol, which are in turn Ro +16:7 (+Ro 16:7) and Ga +1:22 (+Ga 1:22). These passages will deepen your understanding of what is meant by the expression “in Christ.”

About the “*” symbol: It indicates a clear verse. A new user, not practiced or inclined to look up a lot of references, will benefit first from reading those. But for a full study, all references should be read.

Also, when teaching a group where time constraints won’t permit looking up all the references, the references marked with the “*” sign are the clearest passages, so consider those. Don’t under any circumstances neglect the passages marked with the ** symbol, which in the electronic edition and printed edition have been translated as a check mark.  Verses marked with a double asterisk indicate critically important passages that should not be overlooked.

It actually works to look up additional cross references at any verse, even those not marked with a +, and it will provide yet more insight on a theme being studied. Usually the passages marked with the “+” sign will have more references given than those unmarked with this sign. For those who have access only to the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge this is an important point to note, since the original edition does not have any emphasis markings for the cross references given. I have added those to my two books, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. I have also placed even more of these emphasis symbols in my new project to provide far more cross references for serious Bible study, a work which may be published later this year (2016) in digital format.

I hope these pointers on how to “dig deeper” into 2 Corinthians 5:17 or any other verse of interest to you prove helpful.

[Newly edited to make the cross-references work with the reference tagger software so that hovering a mouse pointer over the reference will display the text of the Bible cross reference, January 11, 2016]

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2 Responses to How to Dig Deeper using Cross Reference Bible Study

  1. ken sagely says:

    excellent explaination! just what i was looking for! thank you

  2. Jerry says:

    Thank you Ken for letting me know about the correction needed in this post. I corrected the reference error you caught, my mistaken reference to John 12:40, which was meant to be John 14:20. Then I had to rewrite some of the following text of this post, but now it should be taken care of.

    Thank you for your very attentive eye!

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