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How To Interpret The Bible For Yourself

How To Get Quiet With God

Why YOU Should Read the Bible for Yourself!

Find a quiet place thats comfortable where you will be less likely to be distracted.; For me, it used to be my dining room table by the window until I made a DIY Prayer Room in a small closet.; ;But your quiet time can be anyhere!; Keep the following items in that location so they are ready every day.

Most importantly, put your phone in another room so you arent tempted to check it!

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.

Which Is It Paul

We can see that Paul writes some things that suggest women shouldnt be in leadership.; In other places, though, he writes in a positive way about women in leadership. Women in leadership are described in a positive light throughout Scripture.; We use the rest of Scripture to understand what the first two passages really mean, and who they are for.; Knowing literary context, we can understand which instructions are for all people everywhere and which are for a particular audience. We can interpret the Bible more accurately when we know why those teachings were given and which present situations they might apply to.

If you want to go deeper on the women in leadership concept, you might want to check out this great position paper on the role of women in ministry.

Don’t Miss: Who Is Isaac In The Bible

Pray Through The Scriptures

Teach me your ways, O LORD,; that I may live according to your truth! – Psalm 86:11a

Take a passage and talk through each verse with Him.; Psalms is a great place to start because they apply to so many life situations:

  • Pray Psalm 16 when youre feeling glad and grateful to God.

  • Pray Psalm 27 when youre feeling afraid or need encouragement from God.

  • Pray Psalm 63 when youre feeling tired or close to burn-out.

  • Pray Psalm 73 when youre feeling jealous or like youre missing out in life.

  • Pray Psalm 145 when youre rejoicing and ready to praise Him.*;;

*Notice I didnt say when you feel like rejoicing and praising Him.; Sometimes we dont feel like it, but that doesnt mean He isnt worthy of our daily praise, and usually when we start to praise Him, the want to starts to grow within us.

You can pray through any Scripture youre reading.; For example, if youre reading John 15, start at verse one where Jesus says:; I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.; Talk through it with Him.;;

Something like: Jesus, thank You for being the vine that gives life.; Im so grateful to have life through you.; God, thank You for being a good, diligent gardener who takes care of me.; I want to be fruitful.; Please teach me as I read this passage, and please show me how I can better abide so I can be a fruitful branch.

Keys To A Thriving Quiet Time Routine

How to Read the Bible for Yourself

I used to stumble out of bed, throw open my Bible to a random verse, and call it a day. Yet a thriving Bible study isnt based on reading a quick Scripture passage just to check Bible study off your to do list.

Instead, to have a deep Bible study and fill the voids in your soul with the words of God, you need a quiet time routine to make it happen.; And I promise, once you find your rhythm and a routine that works for you, youll meet God with excitement each day.

Inductive Bible Study Example Interpretation Of Psalm 46

Check cross references to see what other passages tell you about this passage:; I questioned who the river symbolized.; When I looked at the cross reference for verse 5, it told me to look at Isaiah 12:6 which refers to God working among the people of Jerusalem.; Therefore, I can conclude that the river is God and she is Jerusalem.

Check a commentary for more information on the passage:; In checking Dr. Constables commentary, I learned some really interesting background information.; It mentioned that Warren Weisbe thought that the author of this Psalm was King Hezekiah and he was referencing Gods deliverance from Sennacherib:

In 2 Kings 18-19, you can see a progression on both sides:;;; Sennacheribs demands become increasingly less direct, moving from military threats to just correspondence.;;; You can also see how Hezekiahs responses become increasingly based upon trust as he moves from acquiescing to the threats and paying the tribute, to refusal and seeking the counsel of Isaiah, and ultimately to a complete trust in Gods saving ability as expressed in his magnificent prayer.;;; The reference to this battle gives greater illustrate Hezekiahs gradual growth of trust in God and to justify its earlier evaluation, He trusted in the LORD the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him .

I also found in the commentary that a better translation for be still is actually cease striving

You Need To Encounter Jesus In The Word

Popular Christian lingo is you need to read your Bible every day because it will help you grow in your faith and get to know Jesus better. A lot of us hear that the way we hear you should floss every day because it will help you not to get cavities and were like ok this is apparently supposed to help me but is it really that big of a deal? Whatever. And we move on.

Take a lesson from my dental bill and the four weeks I spent getting cavities filled for not flossing enough. When your dentist tells you to floss because it prevents cavities, you should listen. And when Jesus/fellow Christians tell you to read the Bible daily because it will help you grow your relationship with Jesus, you should listen.

Nothing has developed my relationship with Jesus more than talking to Him through prayer and meeting with Him through reading His Word for myself.

Reading the Bible is more than just getting information so we can be spiritual and knowledgeable. Reading the Bible is a means of personally experiencing Jesus and getting to know Him better. When we open the Bible, Jesus the Living Word speaks to us and teaches us through His written Word. The Bible reveals His character, what He says about our identity in Him, teaches us the truth, corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do whats right, and equips us for living a godly life.

How To Study The Bible Resources

Where To Start Reading The Bible For Beginners

New Christians or people seeking to learn more about Christianity should start in the New Testament.

The New Testament covers the life of Jesus, the history of the early church, and ethical and moral guidelines for Christians.;

To get an excellent overview of this information, I recommend the following reading order:

The Gospel of John Having a firm understanding of who Jesus is and why he came is important to your faith as a Christian. The book of John does a marvelous job of explaining who Jesus is and what his ministry is about. The other Gospels detail Jesus ministry, but they focus more on the things Jesus did.;

Acts- The book of Acts was written by Luke, who also wrote the Gospel Luke, and records the history of the early church. Starting with Jesus ascension and commission of the disciples, the persecution of the early church, and the spread of the Gospel throughout the known world.;

Romans- Every Christian should read the book of Romans. If you want to build your faith and gain a clearer understanding of the Good news of Jesus Christ, this is the best place to start once youve read the two books.

Once youve read through these first three books you should have a firm understanding of who Jesus is, the history of the early church, and a better understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ.;;

After youve read these books, you can dive into the Old Testament and read:

Inductive Bible Study Sample Observation Of Psalm 46

How to Study the Bible For Yourself! – You Can Understand the Bible
  • Paraphrase the passage:; For example, I reworded verse 1 to say God is our hiding place and strength and a continual help in hard times.
  • Who:; God and His people; ;What: the river, mountains, the sea, kingdoms ;;Why: ;God protects us because He loves us.
  • Questions I Had:; Who is the river in this passage?; Is he referring to the river when the author says her?
  • Words to Take Note of:; Therefore in verse 2.; It is interesting that in verse 10 the writer uses says in the present tense.
  • What’s The Best Way To Study The Bible

    Read a transcript of this video below:

    Well, lots of people say, if you’re a new believer and you’re asking, where do I start reading my Bible? Most people will say the gospel of John. And I understand why that’s true. The gospel of John represents a historical account of the life of Jesus. Jesus is the most important person in the Bible. Jesus is the most important person in life. But it’s not necessary that you start at the gospel of John. For example, if you went down to a bookstore in the mall and bought a book, and you said to the owner, “Where should I start reading this book?” He wouldn’t say chapter 28, he’d say chapter one. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t start right in Genesis, chapter one, and read right through the Bible. Now, admittedly, there are some portions of the Bible, more difficult to read, more difficult to understand than others.

    But the great thing is the spirit of God helps us understand even those difficult passages. I’ve been studying God’s word, speaking from God’s word, teaching God’s word for a lot of years. And there are things I still don’t understand, things I probably never will understand, but I think the best way for a new person to God’s word, to really understand and read God’s word is three things. And they’re a little bit corny. So forgive me.

    Content provided by OnePlace.com. Used by permission.

    Its Ok To Say I Dont Know

    Throughout your study, you will come across things that dont yet make sense. Thats OK.;

    The Bible is a huge book abouteverything. Reading something like this will naturally be a lot to take in.

    If you come across a passage youre not sure how to process, or even a whole book you dont know what to do with, dont let it stop you. Take notes. Write down what you found confusing and why.;

    Remember, the Bible isnt compiled chronologically. To keep your study moving forward, its alright to save things for later.;

    You may find clarification later on, as you continue reading.;

    You may also want to share your notes with someone you study with.;

    What Was The Cultural Background Of The Original Audience

    To take the Bible seriously, we also need to consider whom the author was writing to: the Bible was written;for us, but not;to us. Cultural norms, symbolism, and the audiences familiarity with Scripture may all contribute to the way in which Scripture has been written and understood. For example, the;long lifespans of the patriarchs in the Old Testament likely had;greater symbolic significance;to the ancient Hebrews than we currently understand. The ages are all multiples of five with seven or fourteen added occasionally, suggesting a rhetorical meaning.

    An example of cultural significance in the New Testament is found in the story of the prodigal son as described in Luke 15. A straightforward reading of the parabledisregarding the contextteaches us about the love and forgiveness of a father toward his son, and consequently about Gods love toward his children. However, when the story is considered in its cultural framework, the reading is much more profound.

    According to New Testament scholar Kenneth Bailey, the Jewish son not only acted disgracefully by asking for his inheritance, but he further debased himself by squandering it. The sons behavior warranted a;Kezazah, or cutting off ceremony, upon his return.1;This ceremony would have included rejection by the village and an angry confrontation by his father. Furthermore the son would have had to beg for permission to train for a job in the next village.

    Sermon on the Mount , chromolithograph, published 1886.

    Read A Book On How To Interpret The Bible

    How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself

    If you are trying to take your Bible study seriously, why not read a book on how to read the Bible? A lot of what Im discussing in this post is described in much greater detail in other books. The field of biblical interpretation is called hermeneutics. In addition to some great academic works there are also a few easier books written for the lay level. Id recommend to you How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth and Grasping Gods Word.

    Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this post!

    Carefully Observe The Text

    It may seem rather obvious, but this principle is often overlooked. We must carefully observe what the text actually states. Many mistakes have been made by people who jump into interpretation based on what they think the text states rather than what it really does state.

    As you read a particular verse or passage, pay close attention to different types of words that make up a sentence. Is the subject singular or plural? Is the verb tense past, present, or future? Is the sentence a command, statement of fact, or question? Is the statement part of a dialogue? If so, who is the speaker, and why did he make that comment? Can you note any repetition of words, which perhaps shows emphasis? What ideas are compared or contrasted? Can you identify any cause and effect statements or questions and answers? What is the tone of the passage; are emotional words used?

    Failure to carefully observe the text has resulted in numerous misconceptions about the Bible. For example, many Christians have taught that Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the cool of the day. While it is possible that they did take walks with God in the garden, the Bible never claims this. Instead, Gods Word reveals that after they had sinned, Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid themselves from Him .

    Pray That God Would Give You Understanding

    We greatly underestimate prayer, especially in the study of the Word. You would thin we would ask the Spirit that inspired the writers to pen Scripture for help in understanding it, but more often than not we just barge into the Bible filled with fleshly self-confidence. Yet, Spiritual truths are spiritually discerned. If we are going to read the Scriptures, we need the Spirits help in understanding them. Therefore, the best way to begin to read the Bible for yourself is to get on your knees each time you open it and ask God for understanding.

    Best Bible Recommendations For Beginners

    There are the bible translations that I recommend for beginners based on their accuracy level. Ive also included a sample of the same scripture from each translation.

    Word for Word Translation

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God John 1:12

    Learn The Historical Background Of The Books

    How to Read The Bible for Yourself (and actually understand it)

    The books of the Bible were written to a particular people in a particular context. If you ignore the original context you will lose a great deal of meaning or worse misinterpret the text. It is important to learn the historical background of each book. For example, if you are reading one of the minor prophets, at which point is the writing taking place in the history of Israel? Is it before the exile or after?

    Another great example is Lamentations. You might read that book and you might begin to wonder what has this guy so bummed out? Well Jeremiah is writing shortly after Jerusalem has been destroyed by the Babylonians. He is in mourning and in grief. If you dont know the historical background what you read will largely make little sense.

    Well you might be asking, how can I learn the historical background of the different books of the Bible, well that leads us to the next point.

    How Not To Study The Bible

    Context is Key When you dont understand a verse, read the context.; The paragraph, chapter and book will give you lots of clues to the meaning.; If we imply a meaning to a verse, that isnt really there we misunderstand the meaning of the passage and its misapplication can be harmful to us and others.; God takes very seriously the correct interpretation of His Word and we should too!

    Dont Compare Your Walk with Others Your spiritual journey does not consist of rungs on a ladder.; If someone is studying more than you are, thats fine.; But you arent them.; Dont let someone elses relationship with God in any way deter you from spending time with Him.

    Be Doers of the Word If we are hearers of the word and not doers of the word, James 1 tells us that we deceive ourselves.; Dont be like the Pharisees who didnt apply Gods Word or applied it incorrectly.; Focus on God and not just attaining knowledge for your own purposes.

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