How Do You Study The Bible

The Bible is the most published book inAmerica. It is found in more homes that any other one book. Yet, it is the least read book in most homes. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It is His message to us telling us how much He loves us and how much He wants to help us through life. Yet, the question most people have is: “How can I understand what the Bible says.”

Only One Rule For Studying The Bible

There are many different methods for studying the Bible but there is only one hard and fast rule that we must follow. That is to digest and internalize everything that you study. If you don’t apply what you learn to your own life, your study will do you no good at all.

So whatever else you do, make sure that what you are reading and studying is applied to your life. This may take some extra effort on your part but it is worth it.

For instance, in Acts 16 there is the story of Paul and Silas being thrown into prison and an angel rescues them. You may have never been in prison and may never be in prison. What can this story teach you?

Look at what this story is trying to tell us. Paul and Silas found themselves being persecuted for their faith. If you have you ever felt that people were putting you down because of your faith in Jesus, you are in a similar circumstance. What did Paul and Silas do? They began to sing praises to God. What can you do? The same thing, sing praises to God.

We Need Illumination From The Holy Spirit

We cannot expect to understand what the Scripture says, let alone how it can apply to our own life without the help of the Holy Spirit. Why? Look at this next verse.

I Cor. 2:14 (NIV): “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The Bible is teaching us spiritual truths. However, we live in a physical world. We cannot expect to understand spiritual truths unless we understand the spiritual world. This is why we need the Holy Spirit.

The job of the Holy Spirit is to help us understand spiritual truth. John 16:13 (NIV): “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

When we accept salvation from Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, something special happens. I Cor. 2:12 (NIV): “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

Importance Of Prayer

This is why prayer is so important in understanding Scripture. This is why our prayer must be the same as the psalmist who said in Psalm 119:18 (NIV): “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

This is the first thing that we need to do when we set down and study the Scriptures. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what we need to know in our lives.

Study the Bible Historically

Many times, in order to correctly interpret a passage, we need to consider the historical context in which it was written. Remember, the author is writing to a people of a specific culture. Different cultures understand life in different ways.

For instance, inAmerica, we would never enter another person’s house unless we are invited in. However, in ancientIsrael, if the front door is open, it is an open invitation to anyone to come right on in. Notice the story in Luke 7.

Simon, a Pharisee, had invited Jesus into his house for a meal. Then we read in Luke 7:37-38 (NIV): “When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

How did the woman get into the house? Being a sinner, she certainly was not invited into a Pharisees house. No, the door was open and she felt perfectly comfortable in entering and putting perfume on the feet of Jesus. And notice that Simon did not even try to stop her. Unless you understand the culture of ancientIsrael, you would think that this story just could not have happened.

Use Concordances & Dictionaries

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. Unless you understand those languages, you need access to documents that can lead you to the original meanings of what you read.

For instance, a Hebrew word may have multiple meanings, but when it is translated, the translator can only use one of those meanings. Thus, he uses the meaning that he thinks is the most important. Using a concordance and/or dictionary will allow you to see the rest of the meanings of the original word. Only then can you understand what the author was trying to say.

Use More Than One Version

Different translators will translate a word with different English words. They will probably have similar meanings, but seeing how each translator translated the original word allows you to get a fuller meaning of the original word.

I often recommend the use of the Amplified Bible. This translation tries to translate the full meaning of the original language word. If you are using only one Bible to study the Scriptures, this would be the one that I would recommend.

Just Do It

The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It is His roadmap for our lives. If you really want to know what God wants you to do, read and study his Holy Word, our Holy Bible. Unless you do, you will never understand how much God loves you and how much He wants to lead you through life.

Do you want God to lead you out of a bad circumstance in your life? Start reading and studying the Bible. God will speak to you through it. However, the secret is that you must sincerely want to hear God’s voice. What do you really want?


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