7 Tips to Better Understand the Bible

From the April 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

1 Surrender to God and the authority of His Word

Forsake your ways, your thoughts and those of the society in this world. Then do as God says and begin to study the Bible.

2 Study to find truth and to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15)

Ask God for guidance and to reveal the true meaning. Then believe God. Believe His Word. Accept its plain and simple meaning just as you would accept any other book in which you had confidence. Be careful to prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Be cautious. Avoid jumping to hasty conclusions or taking things carelessly for granted. And above all, do not try to interpret the Bible. The Bible interprets itself.

3 Be open-minded and teachable

Read without prejudice. But be careful to prove all things. Search the Scriptures to see whether those things you read are so. Briefly about the actual method of Bible study: The right spirit, the right attitude, being willing to be corrected and reproved—that is the main thing.

4 Try studying the Bible on your knees

Pray as you study. Pray for guidance and for understanding. You’ll be surprised at the results. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5).

5 Be sure to get the context of what you read

Realize that the verses as we find them divided in the most-used translations are merely for convenience. Some verses are only part of a single sentence. Be sure you get the whole thought.

It is often necessary to read the whole chapter, or even the whole book, to rightly understand any one verse in its proper setting. Be sure you get the meaning intended in that chapter and book.

6 Study a subject at a time

Find every passage in the Bible relating to that subject. To do so, use a good concordance and the marginal references in your Bible. All the truth on any subject does not necessarily appear in one place or one text. But you’ll get it here a little and there a little as Isaiah said (Isaiah 28:9-10).

7 Treat the Bible as God’s instruction manual to man

Remember that the Bible provides the proper approach toward the acquisition of all knowledge that is discoverable by man. No one can be properly educated except by and through it. Be sure to do what the Bible instructs you to do (James 1:22).

—From “How to Understand the Bible” By Herbert W. Armstrong