We’ve all done it, sat down and open the Bible for our quiet time expecting to “get something out of it.” What happens however when we never read some of those more challenging books? Or what do we do when there is a hard question about life and we do not know where to find the answer, but we know the Bible answers the question?
Today, I am going to share five tips on how to have a greater understanding of the Bible.
We all have a lifetime to learn more about God, who He is, and who we are in Him.
I once heard a Bible teacher share that she realized how prideful she was when she became aware of her approach to quiet time. She explained that she would go to God with the mentality of, “What can you do for me today?” When our ultimate goal of intentional time with the Lord is about ourselves, we miss getting to know God. It is like going to coffee with a friend who only talks about himself, but never asks you about yourself. We don’t want to be “that guy” to God.
Approaching the Bible as a humble student will enable us to remember that we have a lot to learn. If we spend our time so self-focused on our growth, our answered prayers, our problems, etc, we miss the joy of just being with God, appreciating Him and learning more about Him. Intimacy with our Lord comes in knowing Him better and connecting with Him through our prayers, worship, and Bible study. He has given us such a gift through His word that we can cherish.
We can find help in humility before God. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
We can draw near to God and He will draw near to us. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
We can love our God with all that we are. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
God rewards those who seek Him. Asking questions will deepen our understanding of the Bible. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
When we are brave enough to bring the Lord our hard questions or just simple curiosities, He answers us through His Holy Spirit and His Word. Having the gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to comprehend the Bible in a way in which we would not be able to without Him.
Luke 24:45 says, “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
We may not always get a direct answer, but as we read the Bible and pray, the Lord can show us the responses that help us in our faith journeys.
Even though there are a lot of negatives to the internet, one of the best positives is using it as a Bible commentary resource. There are many great commentaries out there online, including Bible Study Tools Commentaries. Simply click on this link and type in your bible verse or topic of the question. When you type in a Bible study tool verse you can scroll down and see various translations, meanings, and commentaries.
I highly recommend CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, Tony Evans, and Matthew Henry.
God has given each person a different gifting. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” It is extremely helpful to read the works of credible, intelligent, God-fearing individuals. Remember that using a resource is not your Bible, but it aides in your study.
One of the most powerful experiences that I have with Scripture is learning to cross-reference. This means that I can take a verse and connect it to another verse somewhere completely different because it uses the same words, phrase, or concept.
One amazing practical way to enhance cross referencing is memorizing Scripture. When you hide God’s Word in your heart, this means that you have the capability of remembering Scriptures while you study the Bible. You might realize that something you are reading connects with a verse that you know. Also, you can use tools online for cross referencing or a study Bible.
For example, in 1 Samuel 21 David visits Ahimelech to get bread from Him. Mark 2:23-28 cross references when Jesus mentions the mercy of Ahimelech to David in the situation with the showbread. This gives us a fuller picture of the gospel and the history of Christ.
The original texts of the Bible were written in Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. If you want to take your Bible study deeper, use resources to study what the original word or phrase was for a Scripture. Strong’s Concordance is a popular choice. Sometimes our translations are not nearly as powerful as the first intended meaning, so it can be more impactful.
Understanding the culture in which passages were written can be eye-opening as to why an example or parable was given.
For instance, as believers in the 21st century we do not rely on cleansing rituals because we have the saving grace of Jesus. When I read about the Samaritan woman, I never understood the cultural depth of Jesus saying that He was the “Living Water.” I discovered and shared my findings that the Jewish culture would cleanse themselves in what they called “living water” to purify from sins. The Samaritan woman could not have found enough living water to become clean, only Jesus could have set her free. He said that He was the Living Water (John 4).
As we approach the Bible, may we acknowledge that we come as humble students, bring our questions, use commentaries, cross reference, and study root words. Ultimately Jesus is the pinnacle of the Scriptures and we can see how each passage ties together in the greater message of the gospel.
We are all learning and growing. As you discover ways to study the Bible, put them into practice and share with others. There is beauty in the mystery and hope in the Word.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and they have been married for over a year. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She has the joy of being the host of Her Many Hats podcast where she explores the many roles that women play while serving One God.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first published book on singleness. Emma also had the privilege of being a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com