How to Understand the Bible! 5 Ideas That Really Work
God places incredible value on His Word, In fact, the greatest gift God gave us outside of Jesus was the scriptures. He places incredible value on the Word that was written, preserved and passed down to us. It says in the Psalms, “You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!” (Psalm 138:2b AMP). We know God values His word because He magnifies it above the His name, and if it’s this important to Him; it needs to be this important to us.
But what happens when we let our insecurities about the Bible keep us from delving into it? Here’s five ways in which I’ve found helpful to make the Word of God an integral part of my life.
None of These Will Surprise You!
You’ve probably heard all of this before, but just like when losing weight you must diet and exercise, when cultivating intimacy with God there are tried and true methods—they work, so let me remind you of them.
#1—Ask The Lord to Give You a Desire for His Word
I have a young friend, who shared idea with me, how she knew reading her Bible was important, but when it came down to it, she didn’t do it. She started asking the Lord early on in her college days for a desire for the Bible and He has given it to her. If it worked for her, it will work for us. Simply ask God to give you the desire. That’s the starting point! But you also have a part to play, you must make it a point to start reading it. Yes, this takes time and commitment. But the more you do it the more your desire for it will grow.
#2—Ask The Lord to Give You Understanding
In talking with many people this is one of the roadblocks to reading the Bible, because we don’t always understand what we are reading and so we feel inadequate. Here’s the good news, we can find the solution in the book of James, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). God will enable you to understand what you are reading, all we need to do is ask because he promises to give wisdom generously. #Amazing!
#3—Quantity is Not Quality
This one’s important; Quantity is not quality, more is not always better. Don’t just read huge passages to check it off your list. Engage with it, which means less is probably better, at least for me it is. Last year, I got stuck for 2 weeks on Romans 4:25. I couldn’t move past it, I dwelled there and thought about it all the time, I was fascinated with it! This verse came alive on the inside of me. The Lord was flooding my heart with the ins and outs of what that meant. Those few weeks blessed me and what I learned during that time will continue to bless me for the rest of my life—Go for quality.
#4—Commit to it as a lifestyle
Now is where the things we’ve heard most of our lives about Bible reading come into play. Most of the time this means turning off noise and distractions, reducing other things so importance can be place on ingesting the Word of God. This is how I do this. This might sound overly simple, but this is what works for me.
First, I read it. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about what I’m reading. Sometimes I read a chapter, or sometimes I spend all my time in one verse and dwell there like I mentioned. But I make room for it because I’ve realize it’s importance to life. The primary way in which God speaks to us in through His Word. I make myself quiet and still so I can hear him. For me, this means getting up very early in the morning before anyone is awake, but maybe for you it means staying up late to fellowship with God. The point is, I’ve made it a priority and when it’s a priority it’s easy to find the time for it.
Secondly, I memorize so I can meditate. Memorization for me helps me meditate because it enables me to remember what I’ve read when my Bible is not readily available. What I’ve found is when understanding come, is not when I’m reading or memorizing scripture—it’s when I’m driving, running, washing dishes or doing something mindless. That is when the Lord speaks to me and reveals things to me from His Word. So memorization is the means to put it in there so He has something to work with.
Next, I listen to it. Everyone can do this one! It is probably the easiest way to add God’s Word to your day. I have an audio Bible in my car or sometimes I stream it through my phone and I make it a point to listened on my way to work. For the twenty minute drive it takes, I quiet myself, listen and focus on what is being said. And you know what, I always pick up something different when listening to it than when reading it. Listening to it adds another avenue for understanding. Try it for one week and notice all the things you pick up merely by listening to someone read the Bible to you! (Romans 10:17).
#5—Share it with Your Friends!
The last thing that has made a huge difference in understanding and applying the word of God is I take the time to talk about it with friends. Being in a group that is dedicated to studying the Word of God is like the oxygen for the fire inside, it fans it into a flame. My closest friends are ones that I’ve studied the Bible with. It is a safe place to bounce ideas and ask questions and learn and grow together. A lot of time this is where the connection and ah-ha moments come into play because there is a flux of ideas and viewpoints and God is present. Sharing and discussion helps bring understanding and understanding brings transformation (Romans 12:2).
These are my tips; they really work! There is nothing new or earth shattering in what I’ve mentioned, rather they are tried and true methods of of learning to hear God through the scriptures.
What ways have you found helpful to make the Word of God an integral part of your life?