How to Understand the Bible: 21 Simple Approaches for a Deeper Understanding
Generally speaking, I do not like “suggestions” posts about how to comprehend the Bible. Everyone wants suggestions, hacks, techniques, and secrets that will turn devotions into some sort of wonderful experience. We live in a life-hacks society where we constantly desire simple faster ways.
It doesn’t rather work like that with the Bible.
In reality, what we require most is just to check out and pray regularly. There is no replacement for perseverance and the power of the Holy Spirit. God illumines and applies his reality to our hearts.
However, when it comes to getting more out of the Bible, how to understand the Bible for all it’s worth, to gain a fuller and holistic understanding of Scripture, I think pointers can be useful.
That’s the objective of this post. Here is a smattering of 21 suggestions, in no particular order, to assist you to dive deeper into the word of God.
Keep in mind, these are techniques. They don’t replace the Holy Spirit or persistent devotion.
With that said, let’s dive in.
# 1– Understand The Bible Context
This is one of if not the most crucial thing when it pertains to how to comprehend the Bible. Context. Is. Whatever. What do I suggest by context? I merely mean:
- Where a verse falls within a chapter.
- Where a chapter falls within a book.
- Where a book falls within a chronology.
- Where a chronology falls within the story of the whole Bible.
- Where a section falls within a logical argument.
- Where one word falls in relation to other words.
Etc, etc, and so on
Checking a verse out of context usually causes awful Bible analyses (see Philippians 4:13 and weirdo analyses about weight lifting).
The primary and very first concept in how to understand the Bible is to keep whatever in context.
# 2– Take Everything Back To Jesus
Jesus said that all the Scriptures testify to him. This suggests that typically speaking, every portion of the Bible points to Jesus in some way. For example, the Mosaic law indicates our failure to keep the law and Jesus’ satisfaction with the law. The temple foreshadows Jesus as the new temple.
You can go overboard on this, such as trying to actually connect each and every single product in the temple to Jesus (“The ashes represent the ashes that will fall when Jesus returns on a white horse!”), however overall this is an extremely handy concept to keep in mind.
# 3– Check Out The Entire Bible Sequentially At Least
Clearly, checking out the whole Bible multiple times is perfect, but reading it through sequentially a minimum of once is vital. This offers you a feel for the overall arc of the Bible. For the grand Production -> Fall -> Redemption -> Recreation story.
If you need help, there are loads of plans which can take you through the Bible in a year.
# 4– Read Groups Of Bible Together
The Bible is organized in relevant areas. The Old Testament is organized into the law, the prophets, and the works. The New Testament in the gospels, Acts, Paul’s epistles, the basic epistles, Hebrews, and Revelation.
Each group of books has its own magnificent flavor. The law shows God’s ideal law and our inability to keep it. The writings include God’s street wisdom for all the situations we encounter in daily life. The gospels reveal the Boy of God.
Reading in groups permits you to get a fuller understanding of God’s methods and knowledge.
# 5– Understand Scriptural Categories
This ties into understanding the context. Every book of the Bible falls into a particular genre. The Tune of Solomon is poetry and needs to be interpreted as poetry, not as commands like the law. The epistles are letters and follow the conventions of letters. Discovery is apocalyptic, meaning it contains numerous symbolic aspects.
Like that guy who wrote the book 88 Factors Jesus Will Return In 1988 if you do not comprehend genres you can get really wacky analyses. Or Left (joke, yet not a joke because I don’t believe that interpretation!).
Do you need to know how to understand the Bible? Understand the bible categories.
# 6– Know The Original Audience
Understanding the original audience of each book is enormously practical. It triggers a lot of puzzle pieces to fall into place.
Take Galatians, for instance. It was primarily to Gentiles who had been converted under Paul’s ministry. These Gentiles were being bugged by Jews who said they needed to follow Jewish customs in order to hold true Christians.
Understanding this basic reality clarifies why Paul was so fired up about the seemingly odd topic of circumcision (an important Jewish rite).
# 7– Know Your Theology
The better you know your faith (what the Bible needs to state about an offered subject), the better your overall understanding of Scripture will be. Understanding core theological teachings can assist you to make sense of verses that appear out of place.
For instance, in James 2:14 -26, it seems to indicate that good works are in some way essential for salvation. Understanding the doctrine of validation keeps you from making this interpretation error and forces you to think through this verse from various angles.
# 8– Listen To The Bible
People forget that the Bible was originally meant to be heard. Many of the initial recipients couldn’t check out and understand the Bible by hearing someone read it out loud.
Hearing the Word read can give you brand-new eyes (or ears) on specific passages and help you understand the Bible in ways never ever did previously.
# 9– Read Numerous Translations
I constantly advise beginning with a translation that is more actual (word for word) in its translation style so that you can get as near to the original meaning as possible. The English Requirement Version and Christian Requirement Bible are excellent options here.
However, checking out multiple translations of the same passage can open different tones of indicating that you might have formerly missed. Often it’s practical to move from a more actual translation style to a paraphrase, like A Message. I wouldn’t primarily rely on The Message however it’s a helpful extra resource.
# 10– Mark Up Your Bible
God’s word is spiritual however the paper it’s printed on is not. Do not be afraid to highlight, underline, circle, and draw lines in between verses.
Usage particular colors to highlight repeated words or styles. Develop a series of shapes or signs to put beside verses that connect them together. Underline passages that truly hit you hard.
Few things help like this kind of intense engagement when it comes to how to understand the Bible.
# 11– Use Commentaries
When it comes to understanding the Scriptures, I do not think commentaries ought to be your very first stop. It’s much better to overcome versus yourself, allowing the Holy Spirit to give you a much deeper understanding.
However, commentaries by really wise men and women can really assist, particularly when concerning stickier passages. Commentaries offer clearness on word meanings, historic context, the scriptural storyline, and more.
They’re very valuable for denser people, like me.
Tim Challies has a helpful list of the best commentaries for each book of the Bible
# 12– Use A Reliable Research Study Bible.
The same principle applies to study Bibles as commentaries: don’t make them your first stop. But once again, they can be very handy as you work your method through different sections of the Bible.
I’m a fan of the ESV Study Bible. It’s got loads of insightful notes, historical charts, diagrams, and more. Plus, it’s big so it functions as a self-defense weapon.
# 13– Read A Single Book Several Times
Often it can be tremendously useful to immerse yourself in a single book for a prolonged amount of time. When he checked out the book of Psalms repeatedly for the health of his soul, I keep in mind hearing pastor Mike Bullmore state that there was a lengthy duration.
The diving method deep into a single book enables you to pick up nuances you would never ever get on a single pass. It forces you to grapple with the logical arguments of the author and pushes you to a more thorough understanding.
# 14– Interrogate Your Bible
You need to always be asking concerns about the text. Why did God desire this particular verse consisted of? Why did God want me, a 21st century Christian, to understand the genealogy of Jesus? What hath circumcision to do with now?
Do not just skip over verses you do not comprehend. Stop. Concern. Press much deeper. Go back and check out earlier verses and the following verses. Examine the bigger context.
If you want to know how to check out the Bible, it’s hard to beat just asking tons of questions.
# 15– Do not Put Yourself At The Center
Keep in mind, the Scriptures testify to Jesus, not you! Yes, there are thousands of things that are exceptionally pertinent to you, however, Jesus is at the start, middle, and end of the Bible.
IT’S. ALL. ABOUT. JESUS.
It’s simple to put yourself smack dab in the middle of stories that are truly pointing to Jesus. You’re not David in the story of David and Goliath, you’re gone crazy Israel. Jesus is David, the dominating king. The story of Adam and Eve isn’t generally a guide on the ways of Satan, it’s the terrible story of the Fall and God’s promise of a snake-crusher.
Keep Jesus at the center and you’ll be safe.
# 16– Do Not Think Anyone
That sounds very paranoid and it isn’t actually what I indicate. I just imply that when it concerns comprehending the Bible, don’t count on what somebody else tells you. Find out on your own. Test it versus the Bible if your pastor states something.
Resemble the Bereans in Acts 17:11–.
Now, these Jews were more worthy than those in Thessalonica; they got the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
# 17– Join A Bible Study.
The Bible is meant to be studied in solitude and community. Both are essential for a holistic understanding of God’s word. Joining a Bible research study puts you in a place where you can acquire the insights of others.
Yes, it takes humbleness to say you do not comprehend every part of the Bible. However, God honors humility and will give you comprehending you would not have actually acquired otherwise.
If you wish to know how to understand the Bible, ask others how they read it!
# 18– Memorize Bible.
Full disclosure: I draw at memorizing the Bible. I suggest, like, seriously bad. I probably have more Star Wars truths in my head than Bible verses.
That being said, memorizing passages of the Bible can assist you to understand the Bible in fresh and new ways. As you turn a verse over in your mind consistently, the Holy Spirit will often unlock things you never saw previously.
Check out this short article from Andy Naselli about how to remember whole books of the Bible if you desire to go incredibly hardcore.
# 19– Pray Through Passages.
Hoping through particular passages can deepen your communion with God. And, you’re hoping God’s own pledges back to him! Because He can never ever reject himself, you can be sure that he will be faithful to his guarantees.
A basic example of this would be to take Psalm 23 and start thanking God for the ways he will be your Shepherd. Dad, thank you that you’ll lead me next to still waters. I hope that in [insert circumstance], you would assist me to still waters.
Charles Spurgeon said:
Every prayer is an inverted guarantee. That is to say, God promises us such a true blessing, and for that reason, we pray for it. If God teaches us to wish for any good idea, we may collect by implication the assurance that he suggests to give it.
# 20– Read With Reverence.
I admit that frequently I deal with God’s word flippantly. I don’t offer it the attention it should have, the passion it is worthy of, or the dedication it commands.
It’s the Word of God! God himself has breathed out these words, inerrant and inspired, to teach me, expose himself to me, and guide me into cheerful, eternal living.
Dear God! Forgive me! I can’t believe just how much of a wicked idiot I am at times.
God’s word deserves your (and MY!) deepest respect.
# 21– Read Humbly.
If you read it arrogantly, you will never comprehend God’s word. God will not enable his words to be evaluated by you, or anyone else for that matter. Those who decline to submit to God’s word will discover their understanding muddled as if they’re attempting to see one of those 3D images that are generally impossible.
The appropriate posture prior to the Bible is among modest receptiveness. A mindset of God, teach me. I’m here to listen not speak.
How To Understand The Bible– In All Things, Pray, Pray, Pray.
Generally, all these “how to understand the Bible” suggestions are ridiculous garbage if you don’t pray for God to fulfill you. The Holy Spirit can’t be controlled by tricks and strategies. He blows where He will, enlivening our hearts and deepening our enthusiasm for Him.
I truly hope these easy methods help you, however, they are never a replacement for simple prayer and reading.
God WILL fulfill you. Simply ask Him.