How to read and understand the Bible

The bible is the Word of the Living God.  It is not a book, but it is the Book of Books.  I firmly believe (along with millions of others) that it is the only inspired and infallible revelation ever given to man by God.  It is the Bible that provides the basis for our faith, our doctrine, our morals and our life.  In order for us to allow the Word to become flesh in our lives there are some basic principles we can use when reading and studying the Word of God.

  • If you truly want to understand the message of the Bible and have it make an impact upon your life you must accept it to be true and authoritative.  Until you do, the Bible will remain a piece of classic or religious literature.
  • The Bible is self-interpreting and self-explanatory.  The scriptures are to be used to interpret the scriptures or one verse helps to explain another (Psalm 119:160)
  • Every statement in the Bible has one meaning; but may have several applications
  • The literal meaning of the verse is the right one.  The bible means what is written and nothing else is hidden.
  • Our experiences must be interpreted in light of the Bible and not the Bible interpreted in light of our experiences
  • The purpose of the Bible is not primarily to increase our knowledge or satisfy our curiosity, but to transform our lives.  The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to those who humbly seek God to listen, obey and be changed.
  • Everyone is dependent upon the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible – revelation and enlightenment on God’s Word comes from God 🙂
  • Each person has the freedom, right and responsibility to research and follow the Bible as the Holy Spirit enlightens his conscience
  • Church history and tradition may provide guidance but do not determine our understanding of the Bible
  • All of God’s promises in the Bible are available through the Holy Spirit to every believer in every generation
  • Clear and simple verses explain those which are more challenging.  The central truths of scripture explain those that are peripheral.
  • Jesus is the center of the Bible, He is the nucleus; it’s focus, substance and brilliance
  • A passage may be read without its context, but it can never be understood outside its context.  It is vital to know how a verse relates to those before and after it.  The whole context must be followed and accepted.
  • Doctrine cannot be considered Biblical until it takes into account all that the Bible has to say on the subject.

When looking at a verse and considering its context be sure to consider the historical, literary and theological contexts.

When considering the text be sure to answer, “what is the text saying?” and, “what is the text doing?”

The Bible needs to be both read and studied on a continuous basis by the believer in Christ.

And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (Psalm 119:105)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instructions are the way of life.  (Proverbs 6:23)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  (Hebrews 4:12)

The Bible is the divine library; consisting of 66 separate yet related books.  Though a compilation of 66 books it is really 1 unified book.  The Bible is the only authoritative written revelation of God.  Jesus Christ is the living Word, the Word made flesh and the Bible is the written Word.  The Living Word (Jesus) is revealed in the written Word (Bible) and the written Word (Bible) leads us to the Living Word (Jesus).  These two are one.

May your love for and understanding of the Word of God be multiplied and continuously increase.  May you have ears to hear and eyes to comprehend and understand what the Word and the Spirit are speaking.


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