The Last Thing You Need
The main thing you need to bring to studying the Bible is desire. Even if all you have is a Bible you still have the best teacher in the world, the Holy Spirit, who can help you. No matter where you are in your journey, you can become a real student of the Bible and all it takes is getting started. Aside from that if you have any questions about this, I am more than happy to help you on this journey because the rewards along the way truly are priceless.
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purposewhich will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new bookThe Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life.Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but cant seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.
Jesus The Ultimate Word Of God
Jesus is not only called the Word of God but also demonstrated in His life that He spoke with authority and power as the God of the Old Testament.
He spoke with authority over creation , people , spiritual realm and concerning the future .
The first four books of the New Testament recorded Jesus words for us to read and understand for ourselves, much like those first disciples who originally heard the words from Jesus own mouth.
Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, wrote to a young man named Timothy to encourage him to look to the Bible to grow and become wise in Christ.
His instructions show us the early churchs understanding of the nature of Scripture. Paul writes,
you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
Why Christians Need To Read The Bible
In the 90s, there was a popular acronym for the BIBLE, which stood for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
And thats what the Bible is. Its our roadmap to how were supposed to live life on this earth as a representative of God and his son Jesus Christ.
The Bible has information on:
In short, the Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.
- The nature and character of God.
- The history of our faith.
- Who Jesus is and why he died for our sins.
- How we should interact with God and other people.
- Proper conduct and behavior for Christians.
The Apostel Pauls sums it up perfectly in his letter to Timothy, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. .
Now that weve covered what the Bible is and why its important to read it, lets talk about the best way to read the Bible.
The Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.
Learn Who The Main Characters Are
Each section of the Bible has different figures that are central to the main storyline of the Bible. There are, of course, many more people in both the Old and New Testaments. Here are the 4 major figures in each of the Testaments with the general timeframe in which theyre alive.
Timeframe and the Main People in the Old and New Testaments
Abraham . In the Old Testament, God chooses one man, Abraham to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. Abraham responds to God in faith, becoming the father of all who believe . Abrahams grandson, Isaac, has sons who will eventually become the nation of Israel.
Moses . Moses is the man that God chooses to deliver the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. The Israelites were living as slaves in the land of Egypt at the time. God delivers the people through Moses and gives them the Law. The Law describes how the Israelites became Gods people and how theyre supposed to live so that Gods plan to bless all the nations of the world will be fulfilled.
David . David was the second king of Israel. David ruled over the nation of Israel for 40 years. David makes Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Israel was at the height of its glory during David and his son, Solomons, reign. It was a major step in establishing the nation of Israel in the land. During Solomons reign, there was a civil war that divided the nation of Israel into two: the Nothern region of Israel and the Southern region of Judah.
Dont Put Yourself At The Center
Remember, the Scriptures testify to Jesus, not you! Yes, there are thousands of things that are incredibly relevant to you, but Jesus is at the start, middle, and end of the Bible.
ITS. ALL. ABOUT. JESUS.
Its easy to put yourself smack dab in the middle of stories that are really pointing to Jesus. Youre not David in the story of David and Goliath, youre freaked out Israel.
Jesus is David, the conquering king. The story of Adam and Eve isnt mainly a primer on the ways of Satan, its the tragic story of the Fall and Gods promise of a snake-crusher.
As youre learning how to study the Bible, keep Jesus at the center.
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A Summary Of How To Understand The Bible
Seek God’s truth in His word prayerfully … reading it daily … studying it with diligence … taking time to meditate on it … and being careful to apply in our lives the truths we find in God’s holy word, the bible. These simple steps will help you greatly to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” .
Level Five & Six: The Letters & A Prophetic Book
The next section contains epistles, or letters, written by early church leaders to various congregations or individuals. They struggled with and celebrated the same things we do today.
The final section of the New Testament is also prophecy. Its primarily about Jesus second coming, and how to live in the interval between His two appearances.
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Tips For Reading And Understanding The Bible
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
The Bible is Gods Word to us. Its His message of love and forgiveness, and shows us how we can have eternal life. It can also answer questions you have as you strive to live a life that pleases Him. Thats why Christians should try to read the Bible daily.
Here are some suggestions:
- First, read one chapter from the Gospel of John each day. This will help you understand the basics of the Gospel.
- Second, read Acts, the exciting story of how Jesus Christs first disciples told others about how He died and rose again.
- Third, read the letters that Christs apostles wrote to His first followersall who were new in their faith. These letters are the book of Romans through the book of III John.
- Fourth, go back and read one of the other three gospels: Matthew, Mark or Luke.
Study The Bible For Depth Of Knowledge
Few of us can gain a depth of knowledge without sitting under skilled teachers. So, for most people, they must sit under effective preaching from the Bible and be involved in a Bible study taught by an effective teacher. For maximum benefit, Bible study must have assignments that get you studying and interacting with the Bible on your own. To gain a depth of knowledge, you cannot be passive. You must become active in the process of deepening your knowledge.
If this is new to you, begin by attending a church that is committed to teaching the Bible, not only from the pulpit during sermons, but also in small groups or Sunday school classes. You might also find helpful information in Christian bookstores or online. More seasoned Christians might be able to give you helpful suggestions as well. If you are an avid reader, there is a wealth of knowledge available to you as well through good books available online or at Christian bookstores.
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How To Read The Bible: Just Get Started
Once you get started, it is easy to expand your efforts. The key is just to start! That way, it will help prepare you for the next major issue that rocks your boat on the sea of life. You will be way ahead of the game in dealing with it.
If you commit yourself to this four-step process, you will begin to master the Bible so well that the Bible begins to master you. And as the Bible begins to master you, you will enjoy the inner peace, love, and joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In addition, you will experience a peace and power in life and ministry that the Holy Spirit gives to those who meditate on and practice His Word.
Taken from 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. Copyright © 1988, 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2018 by Max Anders. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
About the Author: Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books including 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.
How To Study The Bible: Tips For Growth
Keeping a journal often helps. This may be for devotional notes, theological questions and insights, questions you may have and more. It need not be an elaborate journal but a simple notebook where you can jot down insights you come across during your Bible study times.
Studying the Bible alone is helpful for personal, devotional times, but make sure your Bible study can involve others too. Find out if your church offers small group Bible studies and look for one that interests you. Many times other people will have the same sorts of questions about the Bible that you will have. As a result, studying and discussing the Bible with other believers will help everyone grow in their faith.
Try not to jump around too much in your study times. Instead of reading brief, isolated verses from different books of the Bible, try to concentrate on longer passages and books. You may wish to select a broad theme or topic to study, too, such as Gods plan of redemption. In general, however, studying the Bible book by book is better than jumping around a lot from section to section. If your time is limited occasionally, but you would still like to study the Bible more carefully, try reading entire psalms or passages from Proverbs.
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Keys To Understanding The Bible
Have the right attitude. Accept the Bible as Gods Word. Be humble, since God opposes the proud. However, avoid blind faithGod wants you to use your power of reason.Romans 12:1, 2.
Be consistent. You will benefit much more from Bible study if you do it regularly rather than sporadically.Joshua 1:8.
Study by topic. A topical study, in which you analyze what the Bible says about a particular topic or subject, is an effective way to learn what the Scriptures teach. Start with the beginning lessons, as it were, and then go forward to more mature teaching. Youll find that you can compare scripture with scripture and learn that various parts of the Bible explain each other, even the parts that are hard to understand.2 Peter 3:16.
Get help from others. The Bible encourages us to accept help from others who understand the Bible. Jehovahs Witnesses offer a free Bible study program. Like the early Christians, they use Scriptural references to help others discern what the Bible really teaches.Acts 17:2, 3.
Find The Bible Translation That Is Right For You
There are many different translations that you can use. On Biblereasons.com you may have noticed that we use the ESV, NKJV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, NASB, NIV, NLT, KJV, and more. All of them are fine to use. However, watch out for translations that are intended for other religions such as the New World Translation, which is the Jehovahs Witness Bible. My favorite translation is the NASB. Find one that fits you perfectly.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
Find the chapter that you want to read.
You have two options. You can start from Genesis and read to Revelation. Or you can pray that the Lord leads you to a chapter to read.
Instead of reading single verses, read the entire chapter so that you can know what the verse means in context.
Psalm 119:103-105 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
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Get A Bible You Enjoy Reading
Bible reading isnt very fun when you dont understand what youre reading. Its incredibly helpful to have a Bible that can help you understand whats happening .
If youre looking for a helpful resource, the NIV Student Bible will provide a lot of insight. Built specifically for students of the Bible, it gives you just the right amount of help without overwhelming your time in the Word. And it has its own three-track reading program!
Another great resource is The Books of the Bible. Broken into four-volumes and by many of the genres mentioned earlier, this Bible is free from chapter and verse numbers that provides a seamless reading experience. When done with a partner or group, this approach to reading the Bible can be very enlightening and meaningful.
Word Study By Bible Books
Certain words have special significance in certain Bible books. For example, after studying the Gospel of John as a book and by chapters, youll find it instructive and inspiring to trace the words believe and belief. They occur almost 100 times. By reading the book hurriedly and underlining each passage where the words believe and belief occur, youll understand why Bible scholars contend that the purpose of the Gospel of John is expressed by the author in John 20:31.
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Get A Good Commentary
These are great because they take a much deeper look into the passages you are studying. You may garner insights and learn about the culture of the day and lots of great information that will really help you learn the Bible.
As I mentioned, sometimes well-known teachers and pastors may write study Bibles and commentaries. One of the things you must be aware of is when you are reading a commentary or study Bible, you are reading someone elses understanding, interpretation, or opinion of that particular Scripture. It is possible you may agree or not agree, and as long as their opinion is not an egregious doctrinal error, then it is fine to disagree. Just be mindful that they had to go through the process of reading, studying, asking questions, looking at background information to come to those conclusions. While they are good to refer to, you can do the exact same thing in your own study.
Choose A Translation Of The Bible That Best Fits Your Needs
There are many English translations of the Bible. Some are more literal, word-for-word to the original languages the Bible was written in, but might not read as smoothly in English. Others are paraphrases and flow well in the English language, but you lose some of the richness of the original languages.
Choose a modern translation that aims for a good balance of accuracy and readability. Some of the popular translations include the NLT or the ESV.
I wrote an article that goes into a bit more detail about Bible translations: What Version of the Bible Is Easiest to Read . I explain the differences and share my recommendations.
One way to understand the Bible better is to read a different translation or two to supplement the one youre most used to. There are websites like Biblegateway that make looking at different translations very easy. I use one translation for my main reading Bible and look up the rest on my phone or computer.
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