We need to read our Bibles better. It appears in our day that everybody knows something about the Bible, yet do not themselves actually read the Bible. Those who do read the Bible are often left confused as to the actual meaning of the Scriptures compared to the popular usage of the various texts.
How then can even the most newly converted Christian interpret the Bible correctly? The answer is simpler than one might guess, and although it requires a little more work during our quiet times, the effort is well rewarded and wonderfully freeing.
In your reading of the Bible today, differentiate between two simple things. The first is “What does the text say?” and the second is “What does this text require of me?”. The first is about the meaning, or interpretation, of the words inspired by God long ago. The second is about the application to you today. Every text has only one interpretation, but the applications are numerous.
Use this guide to help you be a little more careful in your reading of God’s Word.
Basic interpretational questions to ask while studying Scripture
- Who is writing and to whom?
- When did he write?
- What words did he write?
- Why did he write what he wrote?
- How did he write down his message?
Simply put: “What did this text originally mean?”
Basic applicational question to ask while studying Scripture
- Is there a Truth to believe?
- Is there a Command to obey?
- Is there a Promise to hope in?
- Is there an Example to follow?
- Is there a Sin to avoid and/or repent from?
Simply put: “What does this text require of me?”