How to read the Bible? And understand
We are going to give you assistance in Bible reading. Reading the Bible is a serious business, not what one does in an instance. With the conscious sin of Adam, who knowingly ate from the God-forbidden fruit, sin entered into the world. Result, God took away the spirit of Adam and Eve and so came to an end their direct communication with God. In the Old Testament, sometimes temporarily the spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) fulfilled the prophets, judges and some kings. This was always temporary and never permanent, because sin was standing in the way. Only after the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ (removing of sin), His resurrection from the dead and after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit could enter (live) in the believer. That means that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, directly receives the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). Thus, the believer turns into a temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) and he/she is again able to communicate with God the Father and Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 10:12).
We need perseverance to do the will of God (Hebrews 10:35-38) and to read the Bible daily.
The Bible is God's way of communication with the believer. By means of reading the Bible daily, we discover what the will of God is. However despite that the Bible is written by people (and therefore easier to understand by humans and joins easier by humans minds), but IT IS INSPIRED (and sometimes directly instructed by God, like with the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 14:37)) by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to (fully) understand the Bible. I still discover new things, although after 30 year of reading the Bible completely in one year.
So how one reads the Bible? There are a number of conditions to read the Bible
- One may not have any unconfessed sin (do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30, 1 Thes 5:19)). If one has a sin in his/her life, then first it must confessed. Without the Holy Spirit, one is not able to understand the Word of God.
- One must live a pure holy life, because one is, after all, a temple of God, a royal priest.
- One makes the time to read, in isolation, in peace and quiet, without disturbing of anyone, of your children.
- Think why you wish to read your Bible: Your wish to get to know the Will of God, the Christian values and standards AND to DO them.
- First one prays that the Holy Spirit opens your mind and eyes so that you understand, what God has to say to you personally.
- One reads three chapters daily. First once, and ponders what the verses say, and then one reads the verses once again. And think about, what these verses have to say for your daily life. By daily reading three chapters, you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in one year.
- You can follow Bible studies to learn what they have learned from the Bible. Often topics are covered and explained.
- From the Bible, you will learn and know, and confess your SIN. Sometimes it goes fast, sometimes it takes years. A baby starts with breast milk, liquid food and finally with solid food. So the newly born again person will also grow from milk to the solid food (Heb. 5:11-14).
- When you do not understand something, pray the Lord Jesus that He explains it to you. My personal experience is that in 9 out of 10 times, I get an answer, sometimes after years. However somethings need (yet) to remain hidden.
Choose a Bible which suits you. Go to the store and read the different Bible translations. The King James is old, but near the original language (Hebrew and Greek) of the Bible. The modern Bibles are written in popular language, but sometimes with an incorrect (liberal) translation. Do you really want to understand the Bible, there are several good Bible commentaries. Please note that you do not buy one of liberal pastors. The Bible is God's Word which Words you cannot tune down nor spiritualize.
If one already starts with "sexual intercourse is not allowed before marriage, that is no longer valid in our time", then one errors. This commandment from Genesis 2:24 is directly given at the creation. The Virgin Mary, espoused, 4000 years later says: "How can I get pregnant, when I have no sexual relationship with the man with who I am espoused". When she respects a command of 4000 years ago (as well as her espoused husband), how can we just 2000 years later claim that it no longer applies in our time? That is contempt of God! And a heavy physical SIN! (Disobedience leads to unwanted pregnancies, abortions, AIDS, etc.).
God's Word, Institutions and Laws are given to human welfare. Disobedience can have serious consequences, also for your personal life. Therefore test your life (for sin) through daily Bible reading.
The judgment seat of Christ
When you as believer appears before the judgment seat of Christ (right chair means Jesus Christ is seated on the Chair to the right of His Father, or the seat of the judge) (1 Corinthians 3:12-14, Hebrews 9:27, 10:12) you cannot say: "I did not know" or "my pastor told me ....". Every individual Christian has his/her own responsibility to read the Bible and know what are God's values and standards, and to live accordingly. Because it is an obligation on every believer to read God's Word. Hosea 4:6 says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (of My word)."
How many people do not have a cell phone but find a Bible too expensive and comments too expensive, while their mobile values many times more. They are hours on social networks (Twitter, YouTube), but they have no time for God's Word. They invest in the terrestrial life, not in the eternal life.
Just remember that with your Bible reading during this limited life of up to 120 years, you build to your eternal live (billions of years).