It is easy to read The Bible and get bogged down with words we don’t understand, illustrations we don’t get and biblical history that we haven’t learned. God didn’t make his Word to be confusing. God made His word to be understood by everybody. Today, I am going to share with you 3 secrets to understanding The Bible.
Jesus teaches the crowd
Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus would speak to large crowds of people. After the crows had left, the disciples would ask Jesus was He meant by something He said. He would then explain things further.
An example of this is in Luke 8: 4-15
4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.
8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” 10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of [g]temptation fall away.
14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.Luke 8:4-15
3 portions of this passage:
This portion of scripture can break down into 3 parts
- Jesus teaches the multitudes: Luke 8: 4-8
- The Disciples ask what the parable means: Luke 8:9-10
- Jesus explains the parable to the disciples: Luk 8:11-15
Not only are these the 3 parts to this passage, but it also outlines the 3 secrets to understanding The Bible.
3 secrets to understanding The Bible
1. Sit under the word of God
The key to understanding The Bible is to read it and hear it.
I know this point may seem so obvious, but I needed to state it.
We can’t learn if we aren’t making time in our lives to learn His word.
We all learn things in different ways. We should understand our learning style and find ways to incorporate that into our lives.
There are 7 different types of learning styles. These types are: visual, verbal, aural and physical. Logical, social and solitary.
I know I am a verbal and social learner. That means that I learn best through discussion with a group of people. I also learn better when I am the one teaching.
So, the best learning environment for me to learn about God is at an interactive Bible study. One where we gather with a small to medium group. There, I can ask questions, exchange ideas and discover what the word of God is saying. Not only can I express my thoughts, but the discussion that follows can flesh them out.
I learn even more when I am the one leading the group. Because of the responsibility, I take more time during the week to prepare for study. The leadership role gives me the countability I need to be in the Bible regularly.
Take some time to understand what your learning style is and explore what options there are for you to learn God’s word in that way.
- What is the SOAP Bible Study Method?
- 21 Fundamental Bible Study Questions
- Digging Deeper Christian Community
- 12 Songs about The Identity of Christ
2. Seek clarification
The next element to understanding The Bible is to seek clarification.
When the disciples heard what Jesus had said, but they didn’t understand. Instead of walking away, they waited and asked Jesus what He meant.
We should follow their example. When we don’t understand what a preacher is saying, or what we read in the Bible, we should seek clarification.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.Proverbs 2:1-6
Even though we don’t Have Jesus with us to seek clarification, there are 3 things we can do to understand what The Bible says.
3 elements of understanding The Bible:
A) Study The Bible
One of the first things we should do is to study the Bible for ourselves.
Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.Dwight L. Moody
There is a difference between reading The Bible and studying it.
Reading the Bible includes us picking it up and reading what it says with no further action. Doing this isn’t bad. When I read The Bible, it gives me peace and washes my mind and makes me feel clean. Reading The Bible also gives us a familiarity with The Bible. What each book is about and where certain stories take place.
- Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Studying The Bible takes things deeper. This means that you read the Bible and then ask yourself questions about its background, meaning, connection to other pieces of scripture and how to apply what you read to your life.
- Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
There are many ways to study The Bible. Click here to learn more.
B) Read what others have learned
Another way to understand what you have read is to read what others have learned as they have read and studied the Bible.
You can find so much significant information in Bible commentaries, and historical records. If you want to learn more about what others have said, start by purchasing a study Bible. As you read a passage, read the comments below, search the noted
C) Seek biblical counsel
I love finding answers for myself and trying to understand God’s word. But getting that wisdom sometimes takes more time than I have. If there is a pressing issue in my life, that I can’t seem to find answers to on my own, I will turn to Biblical counsel.
For me, that’s my dad. He has spent years reading The Bible, studying it, reading commentaries, preparing for sermons and living it out in His life. He reads many materials and compares commentaries and verses. His process gives me the confidence to know He understands many issues and can give me a balanced Biblical perspective.
Anytime I have a question about what I have read or heard, I will call him and ask. I am truly blessed to have someone like that in my life.
I know many of you probably don’t have a parent like that. So, what should you do?
Look for people at your church or in your life that have known God for a long time. People who have read, studied and lived out the Bible.
Anytime you seek biblical advice, always search out The Bible for yourself and see how the advice compares with what The word of God says.
Studying The Bible, reading what others have said and seeking biblical counsel are all great ways to understand what The Bible says. But, I kept the most important one for last.
3. Depend on the Holy Spirit
The final secret to understanding The Bible is to depend on The Holy Spirit.
Studying The Bible on our own or comparing what people say against The Bible can be tricky. That is why I am so happy we have The Holy Spirit to guide us.
When the disciples asked for clarification, they were with Jesus. Jesus then spent time explaining what He meant.
I would love to walk up to Jesus and ask all my questions. Jesus is no longer on earth, so we can’t ask Him directly for clarification. But, once Jesus ascended into heaven He sent The Holy Spirit to indwell Christians.
The Bible tells us that The Holy Spirit is the one who helps us understand and know what God has to say to us.
- John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
We see the work of the Holy Spirit when we read The Bible over and over again.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
The Bible tells us that His word is alive and active. That means, when we read The Bible, The Holy speaks to us where we are.
Sometimes I read the Bible, and a verse stops me in my tracks. It surprises me so much that I do a double-take to see where the verse is found. Usually, it’s part of a passage I have read many times. Chances are I have read that verse many times, but I don’t remember it.
That is because The Bible is Alive. God will work through His Holy spirit and use His word to speak to us using the portion of scripture we are reading.
God desires a relationship with us. He wants us to know and understand what He has written. God knows that we will have many questions. The Bible tells us that we can seek God to receive wisdom.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
God always knows who we are, where we have been, where we are going, and what we need to learn to move us in that direction. When we are open to His leading and teaching, He will reveal His truth to us.
In the comments below, share with me your secrets to understanding the Bible.
Do you want more?
Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life?
You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need.
It can be hard to figure it out on your own.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub!
The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives.
The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by:
- Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
- Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life.
- Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability
There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.