Here are a few specific applications from the recent sermon in the Q&A series, “How Can I Understand the Bible?”
Resources you can use:
- Make a routine: One way to read the Bible is the SOAP Method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). LT explains this method in the video above.
- Use a modern translation (Unless you are familiar with the language, older versions are harder to understand).
- If reading on your phone or iPad suits you, search for free apps like the “ESV Bible” app or the “YouVersion” app.
- Consult a good Bible dictionary or a Bible commentary. The easiest option is to buy an ESV Study Bible. (Here it is.)
- Use a reading plan. Here are some online examples, linked to online versions of the Bible:
- ESV Bible Reading Plans
- Bible Gateway Reading Plans
- YouVersion Reading Plans
Advice on how to read:
- Don’t let it sit on the shelf! If the Bible is the bestselling book in history, if millions and millions have seen this book as the key to understanding life and reality. The Bible is worth investigating. Yet today it is popular to write it off without even reading it.
- Opening the Bible and reading “random verses” will not be a helpful way to read the Bible. Instead, read whole books. Learn some background information about the book you are reading.
- Don’t be afraid to get some help and to ask questions. Make use of the thousands of years of accumulated understanding. We understand Bible together. Ask someone who is further along than you.
- You will come across different interpretations between Christians. There is a core set of beliefs that all Christians have always believed (Broadly, the kind of issues outlined in our statement of faith) But then there are other issues about which many Christians have different understandings, and that’s ok.
- You will read things that will challenge you, that you might find hard to accept. Sometimes our problem is acceptance, not understanding. Expect and enjoy the beautiful complexity of the Bible, which as you grow in your understanding begins to reach beyond our ability to fully grasp.
- Understanding is not just knowledge: Are you trying to master the Bible, or do you want to Bible to master you? “Going Deep” is not about gaining more and more knowledge, but about God working more and more deeply in your own heart.
- 1st helpful question to find a passage in the overall story: “How does this relate to Jesus, the Saviour?”
- 2nd helpful question to find a passage in the overall story: “How does Jesus relate to this?”.
Enjoy the process! Christians believe the Bible contains the infinite riches of the wisdom of God and the glorious gospel of grace and peace in all its beauty.