If you want to hear God speak to you but aren’t sure what to do, listen in. If you don’t know how to understand the Bible this episode is for you. I am going to share the one secret I’ve learned about studying God’s word and actually understanding it. Let’s get started!
Listen to this podcast episode here! or on these platforms!
LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher
I am ready to dive into this topic. It is one of my favorite things to talk about and it is all about how to read and understand the Bible. I feel like a lot of people can get into the habits and routines of using devotionals and using Bible studies in sitting down and doing the same thing with God in our quiet time, but a lot of people end up in those routines and not getting much out of it.
It can seem like something you just normally do. There’s nothing new about it you’ve already read these scriptures have for, or it can feel like God’s not really there and not really showing up and you’re not really interacting with him.
So I want to share one secret I’ve come across to understand the Bible but before I dive into that secret, I want to share a little bit about my back story and how I learned to fall in love with scripture and how I found that that was the easiest way for me to connect with God and to hear from him.
I became a believer when I was 16 I kind of shared a little bit of this story in one of the first two podcasts and I just, my eyes were open to who he was. I grew up in a Christian home. I ended up going to a Christian summer camp, all cliche and everything. I ended up praying and God spoke to me.
On that same trip we had the chance to sit with some people and they were talking about what it’s like in full time ministry. We got to ask them questions. They’re just suggestions and recommendations for us just getting started. And so someone said we needed to spend a lot of time in Scripture so that we know what God says and what his laws are. And so I asked somebody where to start.
And I had ended up starting in First Timothy, which is not the best place to start, it’s not what I would recommend. But I just started reading scripture and I just kind of started falling in love with it. And I ended up sitting with God every day in his word and learning a lot about it. But fast forward a bit, I kind of got a little burnt out and wasn’t sure what direction to go. And I would use devotionals like the five minutes a day kind of devotionals to sit with God until like learn more about who he was for awhile.
And then I ended up in college and I ended up sitting with some friends and some really, really awesome roommates who dove into God’s every day. And I would hear them and I would see them. And I would get to hear what God was teaching them and it was just a chance for me to really see what passion is and really be able to ask questions to get my questions answered.
That was kind of the first place I started really diving into scripture for myself and I have loved to ever since. It has always been my easiest way to connect with God. I’m going to dive into this probably in the next couple of posts, but there are these things called disciplines or spiritual disciplines and their actions.
We can take use that guide us in our relationship with God, grow us in our relationship with God and just put us in a position to hear from God. There’s 12 of them that are the most common and naturally each of us will find one. That’s the easiest way for us to connect with God.
Some people connect with God through scripture and some other people it’s through worship. Some people it’s through prayer. Some people it can be through fasting. There’s a lot of different ways for us to grow with God.
And so that’s just kind of mine personally, and that was really where I started just expanding my comfort zone and growing in my relationship with him.
The Secret is…
Are you ready here with the one secret to understanding the Bible is it? This it is.
You need to just read the Bible.
I know it’s simple. I know some people are going to get upset with me. I know somebody want the secrets of the universe.
You can use devotionals and you can use Bible studies to dive into God’s word, but you will always be hearing somebody else’s interpretation of scripture. You will always be reading what other people are seeing in the word instead of hearing directly from God and reading his words to you. You’re missing out on that direct connection and missing out on the direct message God has to share to you.
God is a very personal God. He knows where we’re at. He knows what we need and he’s more than willing to give it to us and he’s more than willing to spend time on our relationships.
Spend time encouraging us and just pushing us forward into who he created us to be, pushing our comfort zones, all of those things. He is doing that all the time.
But if we’re not continually becoming more like him, which is called sanctification, then we are not going to be able to reach that point where we’re ready for what God’s called us into each day.
We can grow our faith, but if we’re not growing and understanding and being able to defend our faith or being able to defend what God’s telling us, or be able to just live that out in very actionable ways, or even be able to support what we’re saying with scripture, then we won’t really be able to reach that many people because we don’t even fully know and understand what we believe.
What is Sanctification?
Why don’t we dive a little bit more into what sanctification means? Sanctification is when we are becoming more holy and set apart. So God set us apart for His good purposes and will, but we have the option of choosing to grow in that and to be more holy and to be seeking him every day. And so the sanctification part is just the process.
It’s the lifelong process. We’re all as believers and to become more like Christ and more holy. So when we dive into scripture, we learn more about what sets us apart from the world. It’s clear about what we are called to do and be and who we are called to be and how we are called to serve God’s kingdom and love him and love others.
It’s just a very clear message from God to us. But when we choose to read and only use Bible studies and devotionals or missing out on those intentional messages from God, please do not misunderstand what I’m saying.
I am not saying devotionals aren’t awesome, and I’m not saying Bible studies aren’t amazing. What I’m simply saying is we can’t use those all the time. We have to learn how to read the Bible for ourselves and really grow in our relationship with God that way and hear from him ourselves and have that just ability and skillset so that we can discern things for ourselves.
So if you’re in a place where you’re trying to learn more about how to say scripture for yourself and not be so confused because it is definitely a difficult book to understand. There’s a lot of things that you need to understand like context and like reading the different kinds of scripture and how they were written, who they were written to, and then how to apply it to our lives. So if that’s a place you’re in, I’ve written a lot of awesome content and even a Bible study on how to study the Bible and that I will link in the show notes below and I really love talking about this topic.
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST HERE: 8 Steps to Understanding the Bible
So if you have a question about it, let me know. Recently I have been using precept, which is a study that is a very in depth study. It kind of guides you and it shows you what cross references you need to look at in scripture.
3 Steps to Take Today
Here’s three very actionable steps you can take to begin reading the Bible for yourself and understanding it.
1. Pick a Book & Set up Camp
So step number one, pick a book and set camp. So a lot of scripture and a lot of preaching recently has been more topical, meaning it’s like on one subject, like the word faith, or in a specific situation or cultural thing.
Instead we’re gonna choose one book of the Bible and choose to stay in it for a longer period of time, reading it repeatedly and really understanding it before we move on. So a few examples of awesome books to start with is Philippians or I’m trying to think of what other, you can choose a gospel. Those are both awesome options. So that’s my first step of advice. Pick a book and just dedicate your time and effort to understanding that book and just spending time with God there.
2. Ask Questions & Get Context
Second step is this, ask questions and get context.
It is okay if you do not understand it. It really, really is. Honestly, most people don’t understand how to read the Bible the right way or how to figure out how to interpret it for themselves. A lot of us as believers just end up going to church, learning from what the pastor preaches and then not really diving into it for ourselves through the week. So there’s no shame. There is no question that is stupid, no question that’s wrong.
So let’s start with the first questions you want to ask in the book. So to get started reading scripture, I want you to read over that book that you decided to set up camp in and then start asking yourself a few questions.
- Start with who wrote this book?
- Why did he write it?
- Who did he write it to?
- Look at historical things, what was going on, what part of the like Bible story is this?
And when you’re looking at the overview, then ask a few other questions like the WHO, what, when, where and how. Those kinds of questions stick to those and really dive into finding answers for those cause in the scripture it will tell you and if you cannot find it, it’s okay to look up and use a study guide or commentary because there’s introduction commentaries to books and those will often get you enough answers to really get started studying that book and understanding it.
Another thing that’s a big, big, big deal that I will do a whole episode on and that is getting into context.
Context is where you’re reading it within how it was written. So let’s say when Jesus was speaking to a very specific group of people, you’re looking at the time period he was speaking in what was happening in that historical time period, who he was speaking to, like that group of people, what did they believe?
What type of people were they like, what were their normal cultural traditions? Those are all context things. They’re all like how it was specifically written in that time.
Now you might be asking, okay, if we’re looking at context in that it was written to those people, how do we end up that to us today? The way that you look at different things is going to be different based on the though scripture reading and what book you’re reading, but I promise there is a lot of lot, a lot of truth that does not just apply to that specific time period but still applies to us today.
God’s word did not die and is not irrelevant. No matter what people say. I absolutely promise. I’ve spent a lot of time in scripture and there is barely any days I’ve ever walked away and not had something to apply to my life for that day.
3. It’s okay if you don’t understand today, you’ll understand more tomorrow
It’s okay if you don’t understand today, you’ll definitely understand a little bit more tomorrow.
Each time you open God’s word and you’re staying in one place and you’re choosing to find understanding, that is going to be take you one step closer to understanding God’s word as a whole. And Trust me, the lessons you learn when you study one book of the Bible, you can then apply those same ways of studying those same questions, the same way of finding context to all the other Bible books of the Bible.
Then you can get a good view of the overview of the entire Bible from start to finish and see how awesome God is and how his characters the same through it all and how much he still speaks to us using that book.
And it is such a cool thing. Once you get to a point where you’re like, oh my gosh, I cannot believe I just did that or I can’t believe I understood that. I can’t believe I already knew that there’s so, so much confidence that comes with spending time in scripture and the only way you’re going to be able to understand it is if you choose to spend time in it for yourself.
I promise it will lead to good things and God will come alongside you, teach you things and just guide you in the process of learning how to hear from him and is definitely, definitely a worthwhile thing. Okay. That’s it for today’s episode. That is the secret to understanding the Bible is spending time in it for yourself. I know it’s simple, but trust me, it’s the biggest truth I’ve ever learned and it is so worth it.