How Can I Understand the Bible?

Pastor Hammond 

Christians frequently report difficulty understanding the word of God.  To be fair, the Bible is sometimes difficult to understand.  Even Peter observed that Paul's writings are sometimes "hard to be understood."  (2 Peter 3:16).  So, how can we grow our understanding?  

Consider these points:

First, be certain that you genuinely know the author!  Unless you have repented and placed your faith in Christ alone for salvation, you cannot progress in your understanding of God's words.  In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul wrote,  "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  The Bible plainly states that is possible to know if you have eternal life.  In 1 John 5:13, John wrote, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."  If you're uncertain about your salvation, learn more here.

Second, recognize that believers don't have to lean on their own faculties alone to understand God's words.  Recall that in John 14:26, Jesus said, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."  If you know Christ as your savior, you've been indwelt by the Holy Spirit -- the same Spirit who inspired the words that we seek to understand!   He is the one who aids our understanding.    Pray and ask the LORD to guide your understanding of His words.

Third, understand that the Lord does not intend for us to read Scripture as we read other materials.    Rather, He intends for us to wrestle with His words and to meditate upon them.  In Psalm 119:148, the psalmist wrote, "Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word." We're called to give time to the words of God.   

Fourth, recognize the importance of your local church in building your understanding of God's words.  The LORD calls Christians to be baptized into a local church where we can be taught by those who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to teach.  What a privilege it is to be under the teaching of one who is gifted by the LORD to aide our understanding of His words.  Never forget that Bible teaches that your local church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).  If you want to understand God's words, you'll need to spend time in God's place of study.

Fifth, recognize the critical importance of a proper approach to personal Bible study.  Believers should rely on careful, Spirit-led study of God’s words to guide their understanding.  Commentaries, study Bibles and other tools are often helpful.  However, the bulk of our study time should be spent with the actual Bible text.  Personal study will be greatly aided by an understanding of several basic principals.  We rely on the so-called Grammatical-Historical Method to interpreting Scripture.  Essentially, this method seeks guide us to an accurate understanding of what scripture actually says – rather than interpretations that aren’t directly supported by the grammar and historical context of the text.  We seek to uncover the original intent of the inspired Biblical writers.  Take time to learn some basic principals of Bible interpretation (hermeneutics).

Please read this short article that provides an overview of several principals for interpreting God's words.  Read now

And don't forget:  If you want to understand the words of God, you must spend time in the words of God!