There seems to be an almost universal problem with Bible Studies I have found, and it is this - they don't study the Bible. Instead they study commentry on the Bible, traditional teachings, interpretations, theology, church doctrine and teachings, the word of popular evangelists preachers, etc. Bible study SHOULD be about what the Lord has declared. Instead it seems to be about what everybody but the Lord has declared. The underlying problem is that people are taught that we are not capable of reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves but must be TOLD by our churches, by preachers, theologians and other "experts" what the Bible says and what it means and what we should believe. This is actually quite contrary to Biblical teaching. The ways and words of the world are not the ways and words of The Lord. The following questions are not intended to invoke debate but careful thought and discussion. They are not questions we should ask each other, they are questions we should ask OURSELVES and I encourage all who read this to prayerfully do so:- So lets begin with this question. If understanding of the Scriptures comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit as the Bible clearly declares, and we are instructed by Christ to test EVERY spirit to see if it comes from God why is it most churches and denominations stress that it is only possible to properly understand the Bible if you allow THEM, and not the Holy Spirit dwelling in YOU, to interpret it for you? After all does not EVERY spirit include the spirit of the very churches who want to teach us that the way THEY interpret the Bible is the correct way and the way WE also should interpret it? But how can WE test the spirit of the churches and the Church leaders if WE do not properly understand the scriptures FIRST?? Who then should I listen to and who should I test?? The spirit that dwells within, or the spirit that speaks from without, be it a preacher, a church, or anybody else who claims to be a "Christian".?? But the Lord instructs me to test EVERY spirit to see if it from the Lord and that includes the spirit within as well as the multitude of spirits without. But how can I test them against an INTERPRETATION of the word. for whose interpretation is correct and whose is not? Even interpretations must be tested to see which comes from God and which do not. The reality is there is ONE and ONLY one thing I can test EVERY Spirit against and that is the word of God AS IT IS WRITTEN, not as it is "interpreted" by anybody, myself included. In short what is it the Bible ACTUALLY says there on the page. Not how somebody has read it but how the Lord Himself WROTE it. The only measure and authority for the TRUTH that we have is what the Lord Himself has WRITTEN, not how somebody has "interpreted" or "understood" it. We can only test against what is written, not what is "interpreted". Why is it that not even the mainstream churches and denomonations will teach THIS word and promise from the Lord Himself?? In the end it really boils down to one single question - WHERE does our faith and trust really lay? In the word and promises of the Lord Himself (the Bible) as HE has written them, or in the words and promises of other people WHOEVER they may be? Will we look to and trust the Lord to direct our paths or will we look to, and allow ourselves to be directed by, somebody else? Will we seek true understanding from the Lord and His Holy Spirit or merely be satisfied with a mere human "interpretation" without testing to see if it is actually true or not (for how can we test it if we do not FIRST have true understanding of the word from the Lord? Regards Misty.