The Bible is one of the best known religious scriptures throughout the world. It has been synonymous with Christianity ever since eternity and those of its belief abide by it wholeheartedly. However, in recent times, the need to know how to study the Bible has come to be rather pertinent. Just reading it is not enough to make one understand its nuances. Most people who try to learn it eventually surrender by saying that they cannot understand it. It is just that they do not know the right way to study it. Read on to find out how to appreciate and study the Bible.
The Value of Studying the Bible Correctly
Before we jump in to the methods of studying the Bible, let’s first talk what one can expect to learn from reading it.
The Bible is a source of valid knowledge that is highly valued since the origin of mankind. It is said that if you know where you come from, you know what the right path ahead is. For any Christian, knowing the divine path is a must to know where one’s destination lies. It provides you with enlightenment about yourself and the humankind in general.
It is true that the Bible is a moral compass to those of its faith. Without the Bible, no Christian would have any ethical sense as to their behaviour. Quite rightly, if everyone was to have an ethical code of his or her own, the world would end up in utter disarray because they would all have their own sense of “righteousness”.
You often keep wondering about how the future is going to be like. The Bible, with its infinite wisdom, not only tells you about the past, but also gives you a clue about what actions to take for a better future. After all, the past repeats itself and when you know and understand what happened to mankind before, you will have a clearer idea of what the future will look like.
On the lines of the moral compass, the Bible provides its believers with an outside perspective, something other than your conscience that guides you. It is essential to know what path one must take for a life free of sin. Knowing how to study the bible would give you insights on these matters as well. Finally, you will be able to live a wholesome and fulfilling life.
10 Basic Rules for Studying the Bible
While studying the Bible, a good way to grasp the essence and strengthen your beliefs would be to know something about the author of the text. Often, you can relate to a man’s life and the reason for his unshakeable belief in the Bible, which will mirror your own when you understand the man in question.
Prior knowledge always helps while studying anything. It gives you an instinct to fully appreciate the essence of any text, especially the ones that are religious like the Bible. Certain passages require one to know a little about other sections, so don’t worry if you can’t completely understand them. Asking an experienced reader for help is the best way to know what the section really means.
The Bible shall be studied for the purposes of correction and reform. The morals instilled within the text are to be memorised for a better understanding of morality and life itself. The Bible will show you how and when humanity made mistakes, which must not ever be repeated. In the end, it will give you a better understanding of right and wrong.
Discover the true meaning of the Bible. Knowing how to study the Bible isn’t enough, you must be sure that the interpretation you have of the Bible is the right one in order to avoid spiritual misconceptions. This is an important rule. In most cases, it is the reason why beginners are left disillusioned with the text because they do not believe in the meaning they draw from it.
Your understanding must fit the context of the scripture. The word “context” literally means “with text”. Just remembering the text is not enough to develop a true understanding of the Bible’s meaning. You will want to know the text that comes before and after the current section to know the context which is being talked about.
It is also best to learn multiple translations of the Bible. For example, one section may not be clear to you in the version you use. Knowing different translations will help you cross reference the questionable passages you encounter and will help clear it up for you. Moreover, there are some words which are used very differently in different versions. Other translations will help you gain an understanding of every meaning and then allow you to choose the right one.
A very key principle of Bible study is that of scriptural harmony. One must remember that the Bible is not just a collection of passages. Every textual section is consistent with each other. In essence, every passage is related to another and it is important to understand and believe in the consistency of the information if one is to gain an understanding of the Bible.
One key mistake learners tend to make while learning how to study the Bible is to not have information about the nature of the book that he or she is studying. It may be a historical narrative like the Genesis or it may be in poetical form like the Psalms. To avoid confusion, proper prior knowledge must be sought along these lines.
The next principle is that of the parts making a whole. The essence of the Bible can never be communicated by the single scripture. In other words, one single scripture can never establish a doctrine. It is a collection of the parts that make up the whole. A big mistake the majority of beginners make is not going through the Bible as a whole. To gain a full understanding, we must examine the document very thoroughly in its entirety.
The final rule that is put forward is that you should never attempt to establish doctrines through unclear scriptures. Start with the ones that are clear to you and proceed from there. This is a very efficient technique which will help you to understand how to study the Bible.