As I said in ‘DISCLAIMER,’ I am a self-taught student of Scripture. As such, I try hard to let the Scriptures be my primary guide on how I should study and understand them. This practice has been of great benefit to me, as I’ve found the Scriptures often do not say the things so many believers have been taught to believe are in the Scriptures. In addition, the Scriptures often contain teachings that many believers have never heard. The problem is that we do not read the Scriptures for ourselves, and, when we do read them for ourselves, we don’t let the Scriptures testify for themselves. Instead, we try to read into them what we have been taught by men, or we focus on specific passages to the exclusion of all others. Either way, we create so many misunderstandings because we simply refuse to take the Scriptures at their own Word, or — especially troublesome — as a whole.
The way that I have resolved this for myself is to think of the Scriptures as a pill: something that has to be swallowed hole. I cannot pick and chose which part(s) of it I will accept and which parts I will not. I either accept it all, or I reject it all. I also think of the Scriptures as a puzzle: the picture it paints can only be seen when it is fully assembled, and the only way to put the puzzle together is to properly figure out where the different pieces fit. I cannot force pieces to fit wherever I wish and still expect to see the picture clearly — if at all. Keeping these illustrations in my head when I study the Scriptures has always provided me with firm guard rails. They keep me from the temptation to overwrite what YHWH has written.
Therefore, when I am studying the Scriptures, and I find something I do not understand, or that I cannot harmonize with the rest of my understanding of YHWH’s Word, I step back and consider that I might not understand everything I thought I already knew. After examining everything in my foundation, if I still do not understand how the pieces fit, I do my best to make sure I have every piece of the puzzle at hand. Is there another passage related to the one I am studying that I should read? Maybe there are many such passages? Are there stories or parables that put the passage in a clearer context? The point is, I look for as much as I can find. Then I lay everything out before me and study and pray until I can make a complete picture out of everything I have learned. Or, if I cannot make sense out of the passage I am studying, instead of trying to force things to fit, I just put that passage back on the shelf for later and live with the hole it leaves in my picture. But there’s one thing I just won’t do, no matter what: I try never, ever to force square pegs into round holes — ever! Not where YHWH’s Word is concerned.
This approach may not work for some, but it has helped me immensely. It has saved me from accepting and teaching false doctrine, as well as from assuming things that simply are not in Scripture. It has also helped me understand some of the most baffling parts of YHWH’s Word. I do not claim it works every time, or that it answers all questions. Often times, it serves to point to areas where I need to do more study, which only leads to more questions and even fewer answers. But it all serves to strengthen my understanding and my absurdness in what I do know by keeping me from adding to or taking away from YHWH’s Word, which, after all, is one of those things we are commanded not to do.