“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
During the pandemic, I took advantage of enrolling in two classes through the American Baptist Churches’ Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries, one on how to discern the Bible and another a survey of the New Testament. The topics covered run deep, but there is one important starting point … read the Bible, and read it regularly.
Make Time for the Bible
We hear many claims today about Christianity and what the Bible says. Do we understand the Word of God for ourselves, or how to respond? We are called to understand and, as in 2 Timothy above, “rightly explain the word of truth.” Make time daily for reading the Bible, and make it a priority. Setting aside time each day is a great practice.
Today’s technology increases the ways we can read the Bible. You can open an app like BibleGateway.com or Bible Hub on your smartphone and read whenever you have a few minutes. You can download a version of the Bible right to your phone, tablet or computer, allowing you to read even if there is no Wi-Fi signal. Of course, you can always grab a Bible and read.
Use a Study Bible
A good study Bible will help in understanding scriptures. BibleGateway listed above includes notes from many study Bibles (some resources require membership and a fee while some are free; use your own judgment). I use the Quest Study Bible, which includes introductions to each book of the Bible, notes and short commentaries throughout. There are many study Bibles to choose from; a Google search will get you started.
Read More Than a Few Verses
Bible books were meant to be read in their entirety. Read through the Bible in longer sections, not just a verse or two. If you can read a book in one or two settings, you will better understand patterns and themes. Reading through the entire Bible in a year or two will help you understand how it all fits together.
As you read, look for context and meaning.
• Who is the author of the book?
• When was it written?
• Who was it written for?
Answers to these questions will give an understanding of both the author’s meaning and what it means for us today. Again, a good study Bible will help. A big idea from my study of hermeneutics, or biblical interpretation: the Bible cannot mean today what it did not mean when it was written. To start, we need to understand what the author meant.
These are a few suggestions to enhance your own personal Bible study. Keep reading and exploring God’s Word. Reading the Bible will help us get to know Jesus better, and what more could we want?