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Tips and Tricks to Understand the Bible

Bible. Unsplash. Tips and tricks to understand the Bible

Have you found reading God’s word, understanding the Bible, so intimidating you’d rather not open it? As Christians, the word of God is the bread that feeds us daily, the water that quenches our thirst, and the feast that satisfies our deepest longings.

But if we are honest enough, it is not always easy to understand the Bible. Others also say only Bible scholars have the right to study it. But I believe the word of God is His love letter to all. To you. To me. And if it is a message of His heart, I would want to discover it for myself – and not wait for others to tell me what it is, right?

God promises that we can understand the Bible

The good news is that the Bible confirms His word isn’t for smart people, it is for people with His Spirit. Because it is by His Spirit that we understand the Bible!

10Bute it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

1st Corinthians 2:10-12 NLT

The Bible promises that we can get hold of God’s secrets because we have his Spirit who searches all things! But how do we understand the bible so we can appreciate God’s secrets? Here are tips and tricks how…

Look for a friendly text.

What’s a friendly text? It’s a text in your reading that glimmers among others. When you read the Word of God, there are verses that just shine before your eyes a while. There are lines, theme, passages that just speak to your heart of hearts, that even when you continue reading to the next chapter, you feel these lines beckoning you back.

When you find that friendly text, stick to that! For awhile, much on those words, fix your eyes on the message, and study that friendly text. There must be something that the LORD wants spoken to you in that particular passage.

Discover the historical context.

One way to avoid misinterpretations is to understand the history of that passage we are reading. The Bible was written by God-inspired people who have backgrounds, culture, behaviors, traditions, and history that are different from our upbringing. We will better understand the bible if we also try to read it in the lens of its inspired writer.

For example, we may slam the concept of “slavery” today but when we read the new testament, the apostle Paul calls employees as slaves. Because back then, that’s usual and non-offensive.

Questions to ask to better understand historical context:

  1. Who wrote it? (Consider the character, position, circumstance, background, etc)
  2. To whom was it written? (Consider the culture, relationship to the author, circumstance, etc)
  3. When was it written? (Consider the events, circumstance, date)
  4. Where was it written? (Consider the geographical setting, culture, place)

Discover the literary context.

It is very dangerous to take a verse out of the passage and understand it as a separate entity; we need to read the Bible holistically. I’ve heard a lot of teachers who interpret the Bible but disregard its literary context, and I feel sad because we are missing the beautiful point of the passage.

Here are what you should take note to understand the bible better:

  1. Study the words, paragraphs, chapters, surrounding it.
  2. Study the meaning of words used. You can search online what the original word really meant.
  3. Why was it written? Understanding the purpose unleashes jewels.
  4. Understanding the genre:
    • Law – Exodus and Deuteronomy
    • History – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Acts
    • Poetry – Psalms, Song of Solomon, Lamentations
    • Wisdom – Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes
    • Narrative – Ruth, Esther, Daniel, and Jonah
    • Gospel – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
    • Epistles – All letters from Romans to Jude
    • Apocalyptic – Revelations

Read in various texts.

Reading in various translations can help you enjoy your Bible study time. Honestly, there are times that I feel bored on my current translation but when I try to read the same text using a different one, I get fresh revelations! You can download YouVersion Bible App so you can read wherever you go.

I mainly read from the English Standard Version, I switched to using it recently when I learned that most Bible scholars recommend this. I also flip through New American Standard Bible because our Hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation) teacher highly suggests this version, too. I also run to Amplified and New International Version when the words get too hard for me to decipher. 🙂

Important: Get a journal to write your study.

Writing down your thoughts can help you understand the Bible better. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at how revelations can pour into your writing once you get a pen and a journal while reading! While my Deeply Rooted Devo Notebook has sold out but we’re coming back soon.

You may also download and print our Digital Devotional resources to help you study and understand the bible better. It’s now up on ETSY at a very cheap price!

Did this article help you enjoy your bible study time? Let me know in the comments section or message me on Facebook!

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Questions to ask when you study the Bible

Study the Bible. How to Devo. Devotional Tips.

As believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, to study the Bible isn’t an issue of productivity but necessity. Bible study is an essential part of the Christian as God’s word is our strength, healing, peace, and guide. But most importantly, it is our primary source of truth about who God is. But how do we understand this heaven-inspired narrative?

If we’re honest, understanding the Bible can be intimidating for most of us. We didn’t have any education on Theology, but we want to know the God who saved us nonetheless. Good news is that, to study the Bible is something that our God empowers us to do. The Bible promises that through the Spirit, we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

The Scripture is written to people with culture and language that are far-fetched from ours. The key to understanding what the Bible says is to ask the right questions when we read our Bible.

Study the Bible better when you ask these questions

What should I take note of the writer?

When you study the Bible, you need to take note of the information about its writer. You can get a fresh and accurate perspective with the author’s profile in mind. You need to ask questions like:

  • What was he experiencing when he wrote it?
  • What is his personality, culture, background?
  • Where was he when he wrote it?
  • What’s his encounter with God?

For example, Philippians tells us a famous verse about rejoicing in all circumstance. It’s a cute reminder until you take note that Paul wrote it while he was in prison. To be encouraged by someone who is experiencing discomfort and uncertainty leads us to deeper awe, right?

Who is the recipient or intended audience of the book/letter?

The intended audience of the passage has a different culture or language than us. Hence, we need to study the Bible by how it was meant to be understood by its intended audience. We can ask the following questions:

  • What’s the audience’s relationship with the author or the one talking?
  • What’s the circumstance surrounding the audience of that passage?
  • What’s the audience’s issues/characteristics/culture?

1st Corinthians 13 provides us the most celebrated passage about Love. Take note that Corinthians were lovers of faith, gifts, and knowledge. They have a reputation for being excellent in what they do. However, in all their labor, they lack or forget to love. While these verses look good on Tshirts or Instagram, for the Corinthians it was a strong admonition.

What am I learning about God in this passage?

Let’s not forget our main goal when we study the Bible. We study the Bible for so many reasons like to get direction, find peace, or increase our faith in tough times. But the most important approach when we study the Bible is to know God more. When we know God more, we get to trust and worship Him more.

Download this cheat sheet below to help you ask the right questions the next time you study your Bible. For more tips, check out our Devotional Tips category or type #HowToDevo on Facebook posted by Angelittle.

Get this Bible Study Cheat Sheet