Reading and Understanding the Bible
When it comes to reading the Bible, so often it can seem like an insurmountable task. In part this is because people simply do not consider that when approaching the Bible you are not approaching a single book but rather a library.
1. Read Daily
It is important that like a healthy diet includes a constant intake rather than feast and famine, that a healthy diet of the word is a regular one. Below are a couple ideas that may help you in reading the word on a regular basis, they include some simple strategies plus some reading plans.
2. Read in Community
It sounds weird to say for many but the Bible written quite communally at times and is best understood in a community context. That is not to say we should not read the Bible by ourselves, we should but merely that the gifts, experiences and insights of others help us in understanding the word.
A couple tips
- catch up with someone weekly simply to read a passage of scripture (if not in person, use social media or the internet)
- share your thoughts
- In your LifeCom establish a reading plan that can be briefly discussed each time you meet
3. Study the Scriptures
"Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 2 Tim 2:15
Often people simply read chunks of scripture thinking that if they simply read they will benefit. It is true that there may be some benefit but the scriptures must be understood in their context, reflected upon for the implications, considered prayerfully.
One of the simple Methods is called ROAD.
ROAD helps you to journal and build a treasury of knowledge, reflection and growth in and through the word.
Below is the the acronym.
Read scripture slowly, consistently (verse by verse/chapter by chapter) and thoroughly (read the passage more than once)
We recommend actually reading straight through a passage fairly quickly - get an idea of the 'forrest' (the broader theme)
than read particularly slowly asking questions, noting unusual phrases, echoes (paraphrased sayings from elsewhere in scripture) and cross references (this allows you to pull in closer to each 'tree')
Observe different elements in the text and contact. Who wrote this? What was going on? When did this happen? Where was it happening? Why was it needed?
Note things in the text such as repetition, questions, cross references, action statements, 'so thats', 'therefores' etc.
It is also handy to have a couple basic Study tools on hand for issues of context and language particularly.
There are some good online free resources that may help
A couple Questions: What are the commands of the text? What do I need to do?
Each person need depend on God for everything including understanding scripture but also living out what God says through his Spirit. As him to enable you, to guide you, to direct you. As him to help you obey in areas of significant struggle.
"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 Tim 3:16 - 17
The process of scripture is 'teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"
The purpose of scripture however is the 'SO THAT' - so that "the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work"
Thorough equipping requires time, it requires reading scripture that you would rather avoid. Simply reading the 'pretty bits' is like only eating the chocolate and avoiding vegetables. It is not that chocolate does not taste great and is sweet to the taste but the 'meatier' more difficult bits enable you to develop depth and maturity.
As we go we will continue to add ALOT more to this section.