How to read the Bible
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). The Spirit inspired the Bible and helps us to understand the Bible.
Did you know the Bible tells us that there is no God? Psalm 14:1 and elsewhere. In writing that I have broken the first principle of reading the Bible – always check the context! The whole sentence says “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.”
Be careful not to just randomly open the Bible and read the first thing you see – you could end up with “Judas hung himself”, then thinking that’s not helpful, flick to “Go and do likewise”. Help, that can’t be what God wants me to do, so you flick and stumble on “So do whatever God has told you.”
Scripture is best read in chunks, not quick soundbites that in context may mean the opposite!
S.O.A.P. is a helpful acronym as you start your journey of reading the Bible.
Scripture – read a portion of Scripture, starting with the New Testament
Observe – what does it mean? Then and now?
Apply – is there anything I need to do or not do, a promise to remember, a principle to apply?
Pray: pray the reading through, talking to the Lord about it and using it as fuel for your prayers.
Recommended extra reading
How to read the Bible book by book (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart)
Reading the Bible need not be a haphazard journey through strange and bewildering territory. Like an experienced tour guide, How to Read the Bible Book by Book takes you by the hand and walks you through the Scriptures. For each book of the Bible, the authors start with a quick snapshot, then expand the view to help you better understand its key elements and how it fits into the grand narrative of the Bible.