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Dr Thomas and Bible Study

In 1849, Dr Thomas published the book Elpis Israel, around which the modern Christadelphian body formed. The Christadelphians owe a great deal to him, and many of the books he wrote are still among the finest Christadelphian books today. He once wrote six rules for Bible studies.

Rules for Bible Studies

First: In any doctrine taught by types or shadows, the anti-type must always correspond with the type, and the shadow with the substance.

Second: In studying the Scriptures, consider that the New Testament is a commentary on the Old.

Third: Never be afraid of results to which you may be driven by your investigations, as this will inevitably bias your mind and disqualify you to arrive at ultimate truth.

Fourth: Investigate everything you believe - if it is the truth it cannot be injured thereby; if error, the sooner it is correct the better.

Fifth: Pursue this course with as much independence as if you were the only one concerned.

Sixth: Rely on no authority less than divine in so momentous an undertaking.


Dr John Thomas,
quoted in Christadelphian Answers, F G Jannaway (Birmingham: 1920) p256.

Tips in Modern English

1. The relationship between types and anti-types must be clear and comprehendible. The theme of the link must be supported by both the type and anti-type.

2. The New Testament is a fulfilment of the prophecies contained in the Old Testament writings. Therefore in purpose they are not separate - there is a clear link and relation between the two. Study them with this unity in mind.

3. Allow scripture to talk to you. Thorough and dedicated reading may reveal answers you may not have expected or that run contary to popular beliefs.

4. Prove your beliefs with scripture. Continue to research a matter until you are sure that it is built on the sure foundation of the Word of God.

5. Make the effort and commitment to search the Bible by yourself. Do not build your beliefs on someone else's opinions, unless you have checked that they are truely confirmed by Scripture.

6. The Bible is the sole (or only) authority on all Biblical matters. When there is uncertainty about some matter, do not rely on men's interpretation, but rather study your Bible further and search prayerfully for the correct answer.

Christadelphian Media Centre South Africa
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