Reading and understanding of Bible
The Bible is God’s word. As parents talk to their children in a language in which they could understand, God is speaking to His children through the written word. When we prayerfully read it,we can understand it. God is eager to teach us His word.
How much time do we dedicate to read and study the Bible? Each person need to answer this question.Out of 24 hours, how much time are we using for personal needs or for secular jobs? How much time are we willing to spend with God and His word?
Let us look at the metaphor of knowing a city:
1) We can fly over the city in a helicopter
2) Travel in a vehicle through the city
3) Walk through all the roads in the city
4) Stay in that city for a longer period to see the city.
Our knowledge about the city increases as we proceed from 1 to 4.
Similarly our understanding of the Bible increases depending on the time we spend reading and studying it.
A house has got 3 parts. Foundation, walls and roof. Each is important. A house without strong foundation can come down anytime.
Even a small house will have separate places for cooking, sleeping, toilet etc. If any of these is missing, that affects the usefulness of the house. We design rooms according to our needs.
A house without roof, however strong the foundation or expensive the rooms is of no use. It won’t protect us from rain, sun , cold etc.
Similarly in reading the Bible, observation, interpretation and application are very essential.
Observation-What does this verse or passage say? Asking some questions to the passage will help us in that. Who? what? when? where? why? to whom? ….For example, a book like Ephesians. Who wrote it? when? where? why? to whom? .. What is the main content? We can ask similar questions even to a verse / small passage.
What kind of passage? Historical, poetic, letter, prose, prophetic…
Look for main people , incidents, teachings..Main theme in a passage? Repeated words, verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, idioms, parables, … Anything special about the culture, religion, locality,…of the place or people.
Interpretation- What is the meaning of this verse or passage? What was in the mind of the original speaker / author? What did the original listeners or readers understand?
An understanding of the religious, political, socio- economic, cultural , geographical situation of the Biblical period will help us to understand it better.
Application- What does it mean to me? How am I going to apply this passage in my personal, family, social life? Something to believe / do / obey…? What am I doing about it today / this week / this month/….?
Proper observation will lead to proper interpretation.That help in proper application.
A qualified doctor will examine / observe a patient properly. He / she will examine all the needed reports. This helps in the proper diagnosis of the sickness. Proper diagnosis will help in the right treatment.
If any of these is missing, the patient won’t get the needed treatment.
May God help us in our reading and study of God’s word. This should transform us day by day. This transformation should be evident in our personal and public life. Through us, our church should be revived and society transformed.
We are responsible for understanding God’s word and should share with and teach others. Let us do this by sharing our new insights with others. Let us start sharing today.
May God help us in our reading and understanding of God’s word.