How to Study the Bible, by Watchman Nee


The Bible contains many names of persons. The meanings of the main ones are explained in the Bible. It would be good to have a Greek lexicon for reference. Names like Adam, Eve, Cain, Seth, Abel, Noah, Melchisedek, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Micah, Zechariah, Peter, etc., all have meaning, and if we research a little, we will find their meaning. This is another kind of material which we have to collect at ordinary times.


In the Bible we often find a passage written in a way that is different from the immediately surrounding text; the style of such passages in Greek is different from the rest of the surrounding text, and it more closely resembles poetry rather than prose. Such passages are usually not long paragraphs, but one or two sentences. For lack of a better term, we call these passages “choruses.” Only those who are more knowledgeable in the Greek language can discover these portions. Examples include: 1 Timothy 1:15; 3:15-16; Titus 3:4-8; Romans 10:8-10; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Ephesians 4:8-9; 5:16; and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17. The structure and style of these portions are in the nature of songs. (In fact, the whole of Romans 9—11 is written in this style.) When we study them, we have to realize that every portion touches one matter or one doctrine. These passages cover everything from salvation to the rapture. For the Holy Spirit to write these eight portions in the form of a song means that there must be precious significance to them.


We have Abraham’s prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses’ prayer for the rebellious children of Israel, David’s prayers in the Psalms, Ezra’s prayer in chapter nine of his book, Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter nine of his book, Daniel’s prayer in chapter nine of his book, the prayer the Lord taught the disciples in Matthew 6, His own prayer in John 17, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians, etc. If we study these prayers one by one, we will have a good grasp of the whole subject of prayer. We will know what words a man should use when he prays to God and what words will receive an answer. Our heart before the Lord is important but so are our words. The Lord Jesus told the woman, “Because of this word, go. The demon has gone out of your daughter” (Mark 7:29). This shows how important the words we use in our prayer are. If our words are improper, our prayers will not be answered. Many times when we come to God, nothing happens in spite of our incessant pleading. But when just one or two words come out of our mouth, they seem to release all that we want to say, and the prayer is answered. One brother once had an inflammation in his diaphragm. A few saints were worried that it would develop into pneumonia. They prayed much but nothing availed. Later one sister prayed only one sentence: “There is no praise in hell and no thanksgiving in the grave.” That did the work. That afternoon the brother rose up from his bed. Our answer to prayer is very much related to the words we use. If the words are right, we will see miracles. We have to learn to familiarize ourselves with the proper way to pray.

(How to Study the Bible, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)