For a Christian, reading the Bible becomes a constant source of comfort, learning, and brings us closer to Jesus. Many Christians, though, don’t read it as much as they’d like to and thus don’t partake in the many benefits that it can bring (read Psalm 119 for a nice list of benefits). Sometimes they claim they do not have enough time, which is another discussion in itself, but other times they claim it is too difficult to understand. In order to find reading the Bible less difficult, it’s good to have some type of a game-plan, even if its simplistic. How can you, then, make the Bible seem less difficult to understand?
1) Set Aside Uninterrupted Time to Read
Before we can start to understand the Bible, we must actually start reading it! Set a realistic goal for yourself, one that you are determined to keep. If you haven’t been reading your Bible, dedicating an hour or two a day is probably not realistic right now. But, starting off your morning with 10 minutes in the Word of God is very doable! Make it a commitment to spend about 10 minutes a day, even if it’s just one chapter. You’ll find over time that you will increase your amount of time as you get more excited about what you’re reading and what God is revealing to you.
2) Don’t Throw Out Your English Skills
Many of us forget what we learned in elementary school English classes when it comes to the Bible. Those classes taught us to look for things like: who, what, when, why, where, and how? These are some good starting questions for each chapter of the Bible, and even books as a whole. Who are the characters in the chapter? What is going on? When does it seem to be taking place? Where are they located? Why do the characters seem to act a certain way? And, how does the situation end up happening? If it helps, have a notebook handy to write down the answers to each of these questions. Eventually, you’ll be able to do this without writing it down.
3) Context is Key
People tend to misinterpret scripture the most when context is not paid attention to. Every chapter in the Bible is a part of a larger whole, the book in itself. If you tend to highlight one verse and only look at that, chances are you can misinterpret it. You must ask yourself this: how does this verse relate to the previous verses and the verses after? Looking at the big picture can help you examine the smaller units more effectively.
Although this is a short list, that is precisely the point. The Bible can be understood, so long as we are diligent to read it and start off asking questions. If you use these few pointers in reading the Bible, then you can start advancing your skills. Keep first things first, though. Reading and interpreting the ancient Scriptures can be daunting for us, but when we start with a few skills we can find ourselves making progress in our reading and begin having fun while doing it!