Tips for Studying The Word
Updated: Apr 5
The content in this blog includes:
Reading the Bible and Where to start?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
Since the Bible is God's inspired Word, we encourage you to make a habit of digging into it! If you don’t have a Bible of your own you can read or listen to Scripture from the YouVersion App:
There’s no right or wrong answer as to where in your Bible to start reading, yet the book of John is a wonderful place to start to understand who Jesus is and the Good News of the Gospel. It’s 21 chapters, so instead of scrolling for ten minutes on instagram which is there one second and gone the next, invest ten minutes reading a chapter from the book of John which has eternal impact on your life!
To understand more about the Bible: it's narrative, how it's broken up and more, check out our "What is the Bible?" blog: found in the menu under "Faith Basics!"
Bible Project also has great Old and New Testament Bible reading plans on You Version, which provide video summaries for each book of the Bible.
We encourage you to dig into the Bible that it may help you grow in your relationship with the Lord, and be the foundation with which your worldview is built upon!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you.” -Matthew 7:7
How to study the Word
The same way we read any other book, we must read and interpret Scripture in the way it was intended to be understood by the author. It’s important not to read and interpret the Bible however we feel it should be read: picking out one verse and apply it to all situations, or applying a verse to us when it was actually only meant for a certain people group or situation.
In order to do that we must read it with an accurate understanding of its contexts.
A few pointers to help us in accurately interpreting the Bible:
Seek to understand what the author’s intended meaning was for the text
Take into account the different forms of writing used in Scripture (poetry, letters, prophetic, historical narratives, doctrinal expositions) and how each requires its own method of interpretation.
Look at the larger narrative and take into account related Scripture given before and after the passage being read.
Consider who the passage was written to and the historical and cultural context in which the author was writing.
Seek to understand definitions of words used, as well as words in their relationship to one another (For further study, check out the book: Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, Reference 1 Below)
Another way to think of it is that every verse is a part of a paragraph, which is a part of a chapter and literary style, which is a part of a book, which has an author, which is a part of a Testament, which is a part of the Bible as a whole. We want to use Scripture to interpret Scripture as it is consistent so it won’t contradict itself. Places where it may seem like it contradicts at first glance, needs a deeper look and a right understanding in the context of all of Scripture.
A few more quick study nuggets:
Whenever you see a “therefore” ask, what’s the therefore, there for? That goes for all conjunctions of that sort.
Look for word repetition, to find points of emphases or themes.
Pay attention to who the audience is of the passage.
In this order, ask, what does this passage reveal about God’s character? What does it reveal about humankind? How would it have been understood to the original readers? What does it mean for us now?
You’ll find many different translations of the Bible as people have translated it from its original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic language into English. Some are more word for word translations, others are more sentence to sentence, and others more idea to idea. It’s important to read the Word as close to its original context as possible, so finding a version that translated the original manuscript word for word helps us uphold its integrity and eliminate human influence. Also in the word for word translations and others, is the aspect of the reading comprehension level it is translated for. NIV is going to be a lower reading comprehension level and the ESV is going to be a higher reading comprehension level. Both are awesome and great for reading and hearing God’s truth! One thing to take note of in this is that the deeper you want to study and go, the higher reading comprehension you want to go with as it will be more literal. So for daily devotions NIV, NLT is alright, deep study you are going to want to use the ESV, NASB, RSV.
Vikrler, Henry A. Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books. (1981). Pg. 76-77