Understanding the Bible
When you read your Bible, do you find that some passages are hard to understand? “What does this mean?” is a common question. When you read your Bible, following a few simple rules will help you with understanding the Bible.
1. Remember that the Bible is God’s Book, and it’s about Jesus. So many people come to the Bible looking for something to make them feel better, but that’s not the Bible’s purpose. The purpose is to reveal God to humanity. Every page points us to Jesus Christ.
2. Don’t take anything out of context. One of the most common ways people read the Bible is to pull out a single verse and ignore the context. This is common because it’s easy. It takes work to grasp the big picture of a passage. The verse has a larger context within the paragraph, the chapter, the Bible book, and the whole Bible.
3. Understand that the Bible is a collection of books. Each book in the Bible was written in a particular time and place and has a different historical context. A Bible encyclopedia or study Bible will help you understand the unique situation in which each book was written. Knowing these differences is essential to understanding the Bible.
4. Use different Bible translations. An excellent Bible translation is even better when you compare it to other Bible translations.
5. Use an easier passage to help you understand a harder passage. Nearly everything in the Bible is written multiple times in different ways. Sometimes a passage is cloudy, but there is probably another passage that is more clear. Since the Bible is God’s book, the best interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself. As the Bible’s revelation of God progresses from Old Testament to New Testament, the New Testament writers frequently explain the Old Testament for us. For example, the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament interprets many Old Testament passages.
6. Keep a pen and notebook handy. Write down your notes and questions, and ask a trusted Bible teacher.
Understanding the Bible can be a challenge, but God’s book was written so that we could know who God is, not make guesses about Him. May God teach you and strengthen your faith as you read His Word.
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