Here are five basic steps to help
you get the most out of reading and understanding your Bible:
Prayer is a simple step thats so easy to forget. As you begin
to read, ask God to help you understand and apply what you read.
2. MAKE A PLAN.
Reading a couple verses here and few over there in your Bible makes
about as much sense as reading a couple words here and a sentence
or two there in a letter. Reading things out of context results
in confusion and misinterpretation.
It is generally best to read through an entire book
before moving on to another one. You will better understand what
the Bible says by completing one book rather than reading from several
random passages. Following a reading plan -- either your own, or
one you found -- gives you direction, motivation, and order in your
Once you understand a bit of whos who and whats
where in the Bible, it makes sense that people wouldnt necessarily
read it straight through.
Because the New Testament focuses on Jesus and Christian
teachings, most people choose to focus their reading there. For
those who have never read a Bible, it may be helpful to begin in
John, and then go back and read one or more of the gospels. Then
work through the other books of the New Testament. When youve
made it through the New Testament, go to the Old Testament. Once
you understand who Jesus is, it is exciting to see how everything
in the Old Testament anticipates Jesus arrival and our final
deliverance from sin.
Like you would anything, read each style of writing for what it
is. Read stories as historial accounts and poetic descriptions not
as literal fact, but creative expressions that hold timeless truths.
As you read a specific passage, consider who is who is speaking
and who they are addressing, and try to understand what they are
4. MAKE IT REAL.
After gaining a surface understanding of what is taking
place in a particular passage, look for ways to apply Gods
truth to your life. God will speak to you in the things you read.
As you read a passage, you might ask yourself:
What does this passage teach?
How does God want me to change? in actions, attitudes, or beliefs?
Is there a sin to confess, command to obey, promise to apply to
life circumstances, or a prayer to pray?
Israels culture in 500 BC is a little different than ours
today. Study materials -- commentaries, dictionaries, and online
resources -- can provide insight into otherwise odd-seeming passages.
Resources for online study tools.
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