Reading the Bible is not something only the priest or pastor should do. Studying the scriptures is a necessity for every single person who believes in Christ.
There are many reasons someone might want to read the Bible, but the most important reason we should read it is God wants us to. God told us to. God chose every word in the Bible and chose humans to put them together at His unction so that every other human would have the chance to get to know God personally.
Reading the Bible is how you get to know God.
Reading the Bible should be more than a task for school or church. Bible study should be more than a social event. Opening the Bible and consuming its content with an open heart and conscious mind is how you get to know God. God will introduce Himself plainly in the scripture if you take the time to let Him.
When you open the Bible and you begin reading things will jump out at you. When something jumps out at you and you have questions about it, be sure to use the Bible to answer your question. God said that there should be multiple “witnesses” – or references – to an answer in order to establish it. Make sure that the Bible concepts you apply to your lifestyle and outlook can be backed up by more than one verse or phrase in the Bible.
It might sound weird, but the Bible is alive and will respond to the reader. Like we said earlier that we can cut pieces of the Bible out, the Bible can cut into our hearts. Sometimes it’s comforting and strengthening; other times is uncomfortable and challenging. Either way, God uses the Bible to grow you as man or woman of God more than any other way.
Rules of Interpretation
When reading the Bible, you’ll want to follow the Rues of Bible Interpretation in order to get the proper meaning of the scriptures. These Rules will help you apply the concepts of God’s Word and change your life. When moving to understand a portion of scripture, ask yourself if your end result lines up with these principles.
For example, ask yourself “does my conclusion about what I just read keep the whole Bible in view?” (Principle #1) If the answer is yes, move on to the next principle. This will help you come to the correct outcome when studying the Word of God.
- The Principle of Context – keep the whole Bible in view on any certain subject
- The Principle of Comparison – compare Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a balanced view of the meaning of a scripture
- The Principal of Literal Meaning – determine the plain and evident meaning intended by the author
- The Principle of History and Grammar – focus on the original meaning and scripture to help determine what it means to us
- The Principle of Theological Concepts – embrace spiritual concepts in scripture not mentioned by name
- The Principle of First Mention – seeing the first reference to a subject in the scripture is key to understanding it
- The Principle of Double Reference – see that scripture can be applied to both Israel and the Church today
- The Principle of Progressive Revelation – realize that God’s purposes become more clear and understandable as time unfolds
- The Principle of Christ – keep in mind that all scripture revolves around Christ and redemption of mankind
- The Principle of Spiritual Power – embrace the supernatural and spiritual events found in the scripture
- The Principle of Emphasis – place proper emphasis on the scripture and avoid the error of over-emphasis
- The Principle of Application – understand the scriptures as our final authority and apply them to our lives
Be sure to use these rules properly. each principle should not be taken to the extreme or isolated and used by itself. They must be balanced by each other because they are interdependent on each other.
Where to Start
There’s so much content in the Bible, though, so many people don’t know where to start.
Well, let’s use the same process we would when learning about various historical figures and events: we go to an expert and they give us the info about things dead and gone. The past is the foundation that the present is built upon, so it is very important. However, it is not as important as the guide or the teacher conveying the past fundamental concepts to you. You need someone present with you to help you understand the past.
That’s where Jesus comes in.
Jesus’ story starts in the Bible in what are called the Gospels and it has not ended yet. This is where you will want to start studying the Bible. We suggest you start in either the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of John. Luke leads into a sequel – the Book of Acts – and John was written to fill in the blanks that may have been left in the other three Gospels. Reading after Jesus’ earthly life will allow you to begin understanding His importance to the story and to you.
After you’ve read in the Gospels, you’ll want to begin reading the letters that were written to believers a few decades after Jesus left the earth. These letters were written by a few people, but most of them were written by the Apostle Paul. Once you read one of the Gospels, you’ll want to alternate between these letters and the other Gospels. This will give you a well-rounded view of the dispensation – or world – you’ve been born into. Some might say that you should start in Genesis because it’s the beginning. Others will say that you should start in Psalms or Proverbs because they’re poetic so they might be easier to read through, but as you read through Jesus’ earthly life and the letters written to the Church (that’s us believers) you’ll have plenty of chances to refer back into the Old Testament.
As you read through the relevant New Testament, and you stay conscious of the foundations and concepts in the Old Testament, you’ll be getting to know God personally.
This is how to study the Bible.