5 Steps to Understanding The Bible

I’ve had my Bible since 1992, and it sure looks like it. I’ve had it recovered once, and it’s certainly in need of it again, but I refuse to buy a new one. Why, you ask? Because it is packed full of all my notes, highlights, and thoughts as I have spent time with God each day. I’ve written summaries, circled phrases, dated meaningful passages, or written explanations in the margins of pages as I’ve read, learned, and studied. That book doesn’t explain my life….it is my life.

So when I meet Christians who confide that they struggle to understand Scripture, I just want to grab my Bible and spend some time showing them the relevancy…the practicality….the love and inspiration that God’s Word has for their lives.

Time or circumstance doesn’t always allow that to happen.

But, I might be able to help you today!

Are you struggling to understand Scripture? Here is a simple plan for day-to-day reading:

  1. Choose a book of the bible
  2. Read one chapter each day
  3. Write down one verse that grabs your attention and then explain it in your own words.
  4. List one adjustment you can make in response.
  5. Pray

Let me show you what I mean. I was studying the book of James earlier this month, and I tracked in my handy-dandy journal what I sensed God was saying to me. Here are my actual notes from James chapter 2, including my prayer:

“Whenever you speak and whatever you do remember that you will be judged by the law of love” (James 2: 12, 13) God’s grace is sufficient to forgive my sins, but He still requires that my conduct be acceptable to Him. As a Christian, I’m forgiven, but I’ll still be judged for my deeds. ADJUSTMENT: Stop overlooking poor behavior

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (James 2: 17-18) Faith in God isn’t enough. Our faith must be proven by our actions. I should look, sound, and act differently than the world. ADJUSTMENT: Be proactive in my actions today to model my faith! Guard my tongue….react with wisdom…..serve others….be selfless….show love.

“And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.” (James 2:23) Abraham and Rahab were considered God’s friends because of their actions! They DID what God asked of them. ADJUSTMENT: Remember that my actions speak friendship or opposition to God. Oh how I want God to view me as His friend rather than His enemy!

Father, sometimes I find it far too easy to relax in Your Grace! I excuse poor behavior, lazy words, and selfishness because I know You will forgive me as soon as I ask. Yet, James reminds me that my actions matter far more than I think. Although You will forgive my sin, my lack of good deeds or my unwise behavior reveals that my faith is useless! I do not want to be useless to You! I long to be considered Your friend and to enjoy all the benefits of Your love. Thank You for reminding me today that my words and actions matter to You. Help me walk slowly enough through my life today that I have time to consider what I’m doing and to be useful in Your Hands!

Ok, I wrote down 3 verses, not just one, but I’ve been at this awhile. If you are just starting out, start simply. 

Reading the Bible isn’t daunting or mind-boggling. It’s rewarding and renewing! If you’ve given your heart to God, He’s given you the mind of Christ and promised to help you understand His ways. Trust Him! As you read, He will be faithful to help you.

I know it’s true….and I’ve got the marked-up, tattered, highlighted Bible to prove it! Go ahead. Dive in!

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