Struggling to actually understand the Bible? Learn how to make the most of your study time and get to know Scripture and God's story.
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How to Really Understand the Bible

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Have you ever picked up your Bible, just to put it back down again, more confused than you were before? I completely understand that feeling! I haven’t always been a Christian, so I had a lot of catching up to do to read and understand the Bible. That’s a big reason I decided to read the Bible in a year! But just reading the words on the page won’t help you actually understand the Bible. Keep reading for the best tips to really understand the Bible!

Take Your Time

Slow down! Especially if you’re on a Bible reading plan, it can be a rush to get through those chapters in the little time you have. But don’t rush through! Slow down and take the time to re-read the parts you don’t understand, and the sentences around them for context. If you find yourself rushing through your Bible often, there’s a good chance you’ll forget what you’ve read.

Use Outside Resources

I’m not against using other books and commentaries to help you understand the Bible! In fact, I purchased an NIV Study Bible for exactly this reason. I love the verse-by-verse notes and historical context. If there’s a single verse you’re stuck on, there’s no problem with Googling it and seeing what commentaries come up! Another of my favorite ways to understand the Bible is to look at the same verse in different Bible translations. Something that doesn’t make sense to you in your NIV might suddenly click when you read it in the NLT or the Message.

Struggling to actually understand the Bible? Learn how to make the most of your study time and get to know Scripture and God's story.

Pray for Understanding

Ask God to give you a helping hand! It’s amazing how a simple prayer can open up understanding Scripture to us in new ways. In fact, I always recommend starting out your Bible time with a prayer for understanding, patience, focus, and discernment.

Sometimes our hearts are closed to a specific verse or passage. Maybe you’re really struggling with Jesus’ command about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35). Take some time to pray through why you might be struggling with that specific verse, and make sure you’re open to hearing what God thinks about it!

Something similar recently happened to me. I was having a really hard time focusing on some grisly Old Testament battle scenes. So I prayed and asked why I couldn’t love this part of God’s story as much as any other. Long story short, I hadn’t let it sink into my bones that God loves me enough to fight for me just as fiercely! But I didn’t let myself feel it, because I didn’t accept that I’m worthy to be fought for as God’s adopted child. Amazing breakthroughs!

Talk to Your Godly Friends

Our friends are great sources of information about the Bible! I find that when I’m struggling with a passage, someone I know has recently gone through the same thing with the same verse. Even if you don’t end up interpreting the verse the same way, talking about Scripture with your friends can help you understand the Bible even more.

Ask Your Bible Study Leader or Pastor

A Bible study leader is a perfect person to ask about a tricky Bible passage, or for tips on reading the Bible consistently. You can safely assume that someone who becomes a Bible study leader loves the Bible and helping people understand it! Even if your small group leader doesn’t know more than you about the Bible, or maybe hasn’t even been a Christian for as long as you, he or she can help you work through the passage, and often has access to church resources to help you understand the Bible.

If you don’t have a small group, feel free to ask your pastor to help you understand! Maybe you feel like your question will be silly, or your pastor is too busy. Well, I have some news for you: Helping people understand the Bible is your pastor’s job! Use every resource you have, including your pastor, and you’ll understand the Bible better than before and maybe learn to love it!

Are you struggling to understand the Bible? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you!

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Struggling to actually understand the Bible? Learn how to make the most of your study time and get to know Scripture and God's story.

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