12 Simple Tips To Understand The Bible.
Before you try to understand the Bible, you need to first understand why you need the Bible.
It’s harder to understand what you don’t have interest in, or what you don’t realize you need.
Here’s a simple article that explains why the Bible is that one book that answers your life’s deepest needs:
The Book that changed my life: https://link.medium.com/hwPRsKbY8Ab
Skipped it? I entreat you go back. It should only take 2 minutes to read
Now that we’re done with why you need the Bible, let’s dive into how you can understand it. Here are 12 simple tips that can transform your experience with the Bible:
- It’s all about Jesus: Recognize that Jesus is the central truth of the Bible and the chief character. Find the connection to Jesus in all books of the Bible. Jesus is the main character of the Bible, to miss Jesus is the miss the entire plot of the Bible.
Now, to recognize Jesus in the Bible you have to know Him, and to know Him you have to have Him in your heart. If you are yet to receive Jesus in your heart, just say this simple prayer:
Jesus, Son of God, I accept that I am a sinner, but I believe that God sent you to die for my sin on the cross of Calvary over 2000 years ago, and you rose again to die no more. Your sacrifice for me has removed all my sins completely.
I receive you into my heart Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to you, completely. Henceforth, you are my Lord and Saviour. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may learn to walk in your ways and follow You all my days.
You gave your life to save me, from now on, I will live my life to serve you. Help me live a victorious Christian Life everyday. Thank you for saving me from sin and from hell, in Jesus name"
2. Read the Old and New testament: You need the old testament to really understand the new testament, and vice versa. They go hand in hand, like two parts joined to form one story. You need both to understand the Bible.
A quote from the article, How to Start Reading the Bible, says:
If you are new to the Bible, consider starting with the New Testament. It’s a great starting point because the new testament records the life and teachings of Jesus. Begin with the book of Matthew and write down insights or questions you have as you read and ask a friend or pastor who knows more of the Bible than you to explain things you don’t understand or to share your insights with.
3. Use the version you understand: Use the translations or version of the Bible you find easier to understand. Depending on your level of English understanding and how you like meaning expressed, you may find one or more of these versions easier to understand:
New International Version (NIV), New English Translation (NET), New Living Translation (NLT), The Passion Translation (TPT), The Amplified Translation (AMP), The Message (TM), English Standard Version (ESV), or New King James Version (NKJV).
To better understand a scripture, consider checking various translations, to see the different ways they say the same thing. I’ve found this to be very helpful in understanding a scripture.
4. Patiently Study God’s word: Don’t be in a hurry. It’s less about how much you cover in a given time, and more about how much of what you read that you understand, truly believe and are able to apply in your life.
God’s word is amazing. Sometimes you may need to spend an hour on just one verse of scripture to really understand what God is trying to say to you in it, other times in just a second it will hit you like a flash of insight.
Sometimes insight comes like a flood, other times it comes drop by drop, so be patient.
5. Talk to the Holy Spirit: The Bible is a spiritual book, in other words, it is inspired by God’s Spirit. Therefore you need the Spirit of God to understand the Bible.
If you are born again (received Jesus into your heart and confessed Him as your Lord and Savior), then you’re God’s child and His Holy Spirit is always with you, so ask Him to give you understanding whenever you read the Bible and ask Him to show you how to apply it to yourself.
Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13 NIV
6. Apply it: Read the Bible, understand it, believe it and practice it; read the Bible so you can apply what you learn. The Bible isn’t just for knowledge, it’s so you can live out God’s truths in your life.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24–27, “²⁶But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. ²⁷The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The more you apply God’s word, the more you’ll understand it. If you come to God’s word with a heart to believe and obey whatever you see in it, you’ll find the Holy Spirit will open up your eyes to understand the Bible like never before.
7. Meditate on it: Read God’s word every single day, and meditate on what you read (think deeply on it, memorize it and declare it to yourself often)
Remember what we said in point 4 about patience? You need to apply this patience when you are meditating. Deeply thinking on a scripture, committing it to memory by regularly saying it, and seeing how you can apply it to your life takes time. So be patient.
Don’t meditate on too many scriptures at a time. Take a chapter or a couple of verses and meditate on them before you move to the next.
Remember meditation is an ongoing business, as you go about your daily life, keep thinking on, declaring and memorizing those scriptures.
8. Get Context: Don’t read a verse of the Bible in isolation, read the pretext, and post text. For example, don’t only read John 3:16, read John 3:1-15, and John 3:17-end, so you’ll understand John 3:16 better.
Here’s how it works using Matthew 6:33 as an example. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
This scripture is sometimes taken to mean when you serve God diligently he will give you all you want. But that’s not what it says, it says all these things, not all things.
So the question is: what are these things that Jesus is referring to? The scriptures just before it (Matthew 6:25–32) and after it (Matthew 6:34), answers that: What to eat, drink and what to wear— essentially the basic daily necessities of life.
So Jesus is saying put God’s kingdom first and seek His righteousness before anything else, and your daily needs will be attended to by Him.
Why is he saying this? Because too often, we make our life focus about meeting our basic needs, instead of making our priority focusing on His kingdom and becoming more like Him
See how reading the pretext and post-text of scripture matters? You’ll realize you have been interpreting some scriptures wrong.
Also learn the history surrounding that particular portion you’re reading— it could help provide more context to it.
9. Find Community: Two good heads are always better than one, right?
You’ll be amazed how your understanding of the Bible will grow when you read the Bible in a community with other believers.
Have a community where you read the Bible and share what you learn, ask questions and encourage each other on the journey of knowing God more through His word; this community can be virtual (digital platforms) or physically in your local church or some other community of believers.
Remember Hebrews 10:24-25 TPT, “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.
10. Listen to Teachers: No one person knows all about God; not even a lifetime of intense study can achieve that. Therefore it helps a great deal to listen to seasoned teachers of God’s word; but you must be careful to select credible teachers of God’s word, so you’re not taught wrong.
Here’s one key way to recognize the truth from a lie when someone is teaching: you must know the truth for yourself and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The more you spend time with God’s word, the more the Holy Spirit will help you discern when someone is teaching it wrong.
Therefore, listening to teachers of God’s word does not replace spending quality time with God’s word personally, rather it should be in addition to it. As you know God’s truth from His word, you are better suited to recognize when it is being taught wrong
11. Use a Bible Devotional: Devotionals are like guides to understand scriptures better. They take a portion of scriptures, daily, and explain it. Some good devotionals I have used are: Everyday With Jesus (Subscribe here), The Word for Today (Subscribe here), and Open Heavens (Subscribe here). (Please share in the comments if there are others you’ll like added to the list)
12. Download YouVersion Bible App. YouVersion contains numerous Bible translations, plans, videos, and features to brighten up your walk with God. You can get the app on Google Play Store or Download here.
YouVersion has thousands of Bible plans to help you on your faith journey of knowing God more. These plans are written on different spiritual and life topics from a biblical perspective, and that will really help you see how to apply the Bible to your daily life. Here’s a plan to get you started— How to start reading the Bible
I’ll close with a bonus point:
13. Make it a daily habit: The more you read the Bible, and follow the 12 principles listed before, the more you’ll understand the Bible. A quote from the plan I referenced above captures this brilliantly:
There will be days when we don’t want to read our Bibles, so many other things pulling at our attention. And there will also be days when we read it but don’t really get it. But this is where we make the choice to read the Bible anyway. We rarely feel our way into actions, but often our feelings follow when we act.
As you build a daily habit of reading the Bible, God will begin to show you things you could never imagine. Trust that this investment will yield long-term spiritual gain in your life.
Do you read your Bible everyday? Why or why not?
Today, consider making a commitment to read your Bible everyday for the next 30 days. You could find someone to share this challenge with for accountability. On YouVersion, you can even start a Bible Plan with friends and invite them to do it with you!
Do you know of other strategies that help to improve understanding of the Bible? Please share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Hi. I’m Dipo, I write, speak and train on interpersonal/softskills, teenagers, hope, emotional healing, and overcoming fear, failure, shame, rejection and other limiting emotions and mindsets that stand in the way of your progress
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