All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible is the all-time best selling and most widely read book in history. There is a reason for that. People are drawn to it because it is the story of God, creation, sin, and the redemption plan for humanity centered in Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals how we can have true life in this awesome universe fashioned by God for our benefit. Countless individuals and families throughout history have found what true life is all about in its pages, made that life their own, and grown in faith. The Bible is God’s written Word and Will for humanity. We need to read, study, and meditate on its content because it will increase our understanding, help us to live life more abundantly, and draw us closer to the center of God’s Will.
The Bible is daunting for many. It is lengthy and complex, but the message is simple – God loves you and has made a way for you to flourish in an incomprehensible life of beauty and majesty in His presence, now and forever. To understand the message of the Bible, do not be afraid of it. Embrace it. The only way you can do that is to have the keys to understanding. That is what this webpage and the resources associated with it are designed to do.
Here are some basic articles about the Bible that we recommend you read. Following these you will find a range of materials geared to help you better understand the Bible and what it says about Christian living.
Here are some additional keys to understanding what you read in the Bible:
Accept the Bible’s inspiration and authority
Far too many followers of Jesus are not necessarily convinced that every word of the Bible is true. Some believe portions of the Bible to be unverified stories of things that happened long ago and question their validity. Here is the problem when you only have partial buy-in to the Bible’s inspiration and authority:
If some portions of scripture are not true, what else is not true? Picking and choosing which books, chapters, or sentences meet your approval is a bad recipe for understanding God’s Word. Persons long ago in the first and second centuries, who were far closer to the action and the culture of biblical happenings, studied and prayed about what writings were authentic and included them in the biblical collection. We believe that every word in scripture is true and necessary! Here is what the Apostle Paul said about scripture to one of his beloved converts by the name of Timothy –
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Approach your reading and study of the Bible with humility and an open heart. The inspired words of scripture are directed to all of humanity, which means they are directed to you. Knowing that, open your heart, in humility, knowing they are coming directly from God. Ask God to speak to you and reveal truth that will empower you for faithful Christian living. Then live it out.
Pray for Wisdom
The gospel message is really simple but often becomes confusing, as we apply our own filters in the midst of a culture that increasingly rejects God’s wisdom and authority. Pray that God will clear your mind and give you wisdom as you read and study. The epistle writer James gives us good advice, “If any one of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 4:6).
Have a plan when you read and study the Bible:
This is especially important as a new Christian. Reading plans that take you through the Bible in a year or two years are available from many sources. Check out the Resources page for possibilities. When you read through the Bible, you may not understand everything you read but you will gain a better appreciation of it that will create a foundation for future reading and study. Many read it several times through before moving to more intentional reading and study.
Some possibilities for this include – 1) Focus on the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) or one of them and work to gain better understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus. 2) Identify issues in which you are struggling in life, then look up scriptures that speak to those issues. Apply what you learn. 3) Read the epistle writings (letters) of the New Testament and record truth that speaks to your life situations. 4) Read the Old Testament and record what you discover that points to the coming of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Note: if you sit under the teaching ministry of a church family to which you are connected and/or find a Bible study group that does intentional studies of books or topics, you will be learning and maturing in biblical understanding. In those settings, ask questions and get help when you do not understand.
As you come across issues you do not understand,
jot them down along with questions for further review and study. Go back to these as you understand more and record answers to issues that perplexed you earlier. These will always be available for future reference.
A regular, steady diet of Bible reading and study is what every Christian needs. These include daily devotions, other daily Bible readings, weekly study with a group that focuses on learning what God says in the Bible, and other learning opportunities. If you do not read and study scripture intentionally and regularly, letting it feed your soul and spirit, you will soon become weak and fall prey to the ways of
Use Study Aids Appropriately
Concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, maps, and commentaries are all good. Use them as supplementary and complementary tools. A word of caution on commentaries: many are soundly written by Christian authors, but everything you read in a commentary needs to be considered as secondary to the truth that is recorded in scripture. If you read commentaries, read several, but always come back to the Word.
Finally, and most importantly, apply what God speaks to your heart
It does little good for your spiritual maturity if you read the Bible and neglect to apply the truth it reveals to your life. As God reveals important answers for your life, make use of them. Paul said it this way to the believers at Philippi, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus . . . only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians 3:13, 16).
For more information on biblical understanding and spiritual growth, we invite you to visit the Resources page.
We also recommend the following article on how we can trust the Bible: