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I love Bible study. I have tried “not” to study, but I’m learning it is part of my spiritual DNA. God created me to study the Bible. I am to be a student first, then a teacher. When I teach hermeneutics, (interpreting & understanding the Bible) it is my goal to always have the students understand there are basic methods to study and interpreting. The basics can be easy. You don’t need a theological degree or the ability to speak Hebrew or Greek. Asking a few questions and turning a few pages will give you some foundational understanding.
The first question to ask when reading the Bible should NOT be, “What does this mean to me?” That will and has gotten a few folks into trouble. We read through eyes of experience and personality, thus our interpretation is filtered.
First, we should inquire of the Holy Spirit, asking that He quiet our mind and inviting His presence. Asking Him to open our hearts and intellect and laying aside our emotions to hear His Word.
Second, as we open the Bible and begin to read, we should ask, “What was the original author trying to say to the original audience?” A way to find that out is to read the introduction found in study Bibles to each book first. That way you can get a feel for the author, the times, the culture, the people, and more. For example, in the book of Philippians, Paul speaks about being in chains. If we don’t know that while he wrote this is was in prison, we may interpret the chains as metaphoric in nature and try applying what isn’t being said.
Third, after we gather insight into the author, who they were writing to and why, then we may ask questions of the Scriptures. Is this an example to follow, is it a sin to avoid, a command to obey, a promise to claim, a new thought about God, does this line up with my current circumstance? Offer each matter up in prayer. Am I to explore and research this more?
The Bible is our manual. It is living and active.“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” – written by Paul to his spiritual son Timothy, 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
May we seek after, pore through, and devote ourselves to the Book, the book full of “showing, exposing, correcting, shaping, training, and putting us together.”
DeDe Southwick is mother of two wonderful sons, two lovely stepdaughters and a sweet granddaughter. She resides outside of Portland, Oregon with her husband, Mark. She enjoys gardening, making her guys laugh, and a hardy theological geeky-looking book. She and Mark enjoy ministry as a team, he the solid calm strength to her silly geeky side. You can find her blog here.