Study your Bible comparatively.
What do I mean by this? Simply this, compare Scripture with Scripture. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. A verse in Deuteronomy will oftentimes shed a wondrous light on a verse in the Four Gospels. A verse in Daniel or Ezekiel will oftentimes shed a flood of light upon an apparently obscure verse, or seemingly meaningless verse, in Revelation.
Harry Moorehouse was, in the ordinary usage of the word, an uneducated man. He had been, I believe, an outcast in his early life; but he was converted, and thoroughly converted, and became a great Bible student and a wonderful Bible teacher. I suppose D. L. Moody got more help from him than from any other man, unless it was C. N. Darby. He was such a rare Bible teacher that, though he was an uneducated man in the technical sense, he was at one time invited to Princeton College to teach the gifted young men there the Bible for a while.
Harry Moorehouse once said that whenever he found in the Bible a passage that he could not understand, that the way he treated it was this: First of all, he knelt down and laid the passage before God in prayer, asking God to explain it to him; then he wold get up and go through his Bible and find if there was not some other passage that shed light upon this difficult passage which he could not understand. And he added that he had never yet found a difficulty in the bible that did not yield to this treatment.
But by studying the Bible comparatively I mean more than this. The book to help you in this work is the The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which I have already mentioned as one of the books you ought to have. If I had to limit my library to two books, I think the two books would be the bible itself and The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. The way to use this is this: take a book in the Bible, better start with a short one, for example, First Thessalonians, for that is short and it is very simple and it is the first Epistle that the Apostle Paul wrote. Begin with the first chapter and the first verse, read it carefully and thoughtfully. Then open your Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is arranged just like a Bible, turn to First Thessalonians 1:1, and look up every reference given in the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Then take the second verse and do the same with that, and then the third, until you go through all the verses of the five short chapters. Now, it may seem to you that there is not much in this; but you will find that when you get through this one short book in this way you will not only know more about First Thessalonians than you ever knew before, but that you will know more about the whole Bible than you ever knew before, and you will also see and be impressed by the marvellous unity of the Bible more than you ever have been before, and you will also know more about every fundamental doctrine of our Christian faith than you ever knew before. Treat book after book in the Bible this same way.
For the chief part of one’s Bible study I recommend this method. It is slow, it may not seem to yield as great immediate results as the method of study I am to mention next; but in the long run it will make you a far better balanced Bible student and far more thorough Bible student and a far more intelligent Bible student than any other method.
Some one may ask, Do we need The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge if we have a reference Bible? To this I would say, You certainly do, because the references in most reference Bibles are very meagre and oftentimes misleading, and, furthermore, there is no reference Bible in existence that supplies what we really need. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is the only book that I know that does it. Some may ask, What about the references in the Scofield Bible? Very good, as far as they go, sometimes an improvement on ordinary reference Bibles, sometimes more meagre from some points of view than ordinary reference Bibles, but absolutely and utterly inadequate. The same is true of “The Chain Reference Bible” I repeat: There is no book in existence of which I know where the references are at all adequate, or even remotely approach adequacy, excepting The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Many people around the world, ministers, laymen and other ordinary Christian people (that is, ordinary in natural ability) have come to me and written me and thanked me for recommending to them “The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.” But to get the good out of it means work, and you must always work hard in Bible study if you wish to get satisfactory results. It takes hard labor to get the gold, but gold is worth all the labor that it costs to get it.
–Originally published in Getting the Gold Out of the Word of God, or How to Study the Bible (Fleming Revell, 1920), pp. 25-30.