Are you thirsty for the Word of God but not sure where to start? Many new Christians begin reading the Bible in Genesis and quickly give up. For new believers, it is a wise suggestion to begin reading the Bible in the Book of John because it is easiest to read and comprehend and truly teaches the reader about Jesus and His ministry on earth. Simply reading the Bible is a good first step, but really understanding Scripture and the message God wants to convey takes a little more effort and study. The Bible possesses the Living Word of God so, when read and studied properly, it will actually change the reader. Here are some points to consider when studying the Living Word:
Spiritually – Begin your study each time with prayer. Pray that God opens your eyes to see what He wants you to see and hear what He wants you to hear. Ask for Him to grant you the ability to understand the scripture as it is written and the way He intended it to be understood, as truth.
Historically – As you read through the text, consider the history and what events were occurring at that time. Why were certain rituals being performed? What battles had just occurred or were about to happen? You can find detailed commentaries in your Bible footnotes, online at BibleHub.com (commentaries), or using Barnes Notes for details about verses throughout the Bible. Actually, study the Bible and question the material, not just read it.
Contextually – Keep the verses in context with the situation and do not take them out of context from the author. When you take verses out of context, you go down a path not meant by the author. You can read the verses right before the text and right after the text to understand the meaning of the section. False teachers will take a verse out of context to convey a message they want you to hear, not what God meant for you to understand.
Culturally – Remember that the Bible was written at different times spanning thousands of years. What may have been normal back then would not be seen as ordinary now. For example, women were seen as calling attention to themselves with big hair and jewels so a verse about having long hair or shaved heads was a requirement was meant to be taken literally for that situation, environment, or that time period.
Literally – Many of the authors use metaphors to explain a message or meaning within the Bible. Other times, they use literal facts and information to deliver the message. Distinguish between symbols and literal translations of the story and evaluate what the author was trying to convey.
Applicably – Read the text and interpret what the author was trying to say and what meaning it has within the text then you have better success at understanding. How does it apply to the time then? How does it apply to our lives now?
Emotionally – We are not meant to interpret the Bible and twist scripture into what we think it means. However, we can apply scripture to our lives and see how it can change us. There is a reason it is called the Living Word, because every time we read the same passage we may see and understand something new each time. What is God trying to change in your heart through the passages?
Verse by Verse – Most importantly, study the Scriptures verse by verse to understand the material. There is a tremendous resource online and available as an APP that goes through many books of the Bible in a Verse by Verse study. This resource changed my life!! Again, I recommend starting with the Book of John and then possibly moving to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. View Verse by Verse resources here!
Warrior for God,