How to Understand the Scripture
When you become a Christian, you are embarking on a profound journey toward understanding the very heart of God. As a new member of the Christian family, you must diligently seek to unravel the depths of divine wisdom contained in the Bible, the very Word of God. Fellow believers, seasoned in their faith, can guide you on this pilgrimage, offering insights into the profound mysteries of God and His ways. However, a crucial aspect of your spiritual growth demands a personal engagement with the scriptures.
The scriptures, the divinely inspired revelation of God, beckon you to delve into their profound truths, for they hold the key to understanding the very nature of God and His divine purpose. Some may shy away from this sacred responsibility, fearing the potential for error or misunderstanding. It is true that humans, in their fallen nature, may stumble in their interpretation. Yet, the earnest seeker, armed with the right approach, can navigate the scriptures with clarity and understanding.
Here are a set of principles, a roadmap, to guide you through the sacred journey of reading and understanding the scriptures:
1. Supplication for Illumination: Seek God’s Guidance
Understand this first and foremost: the depths of God’s revelation are not accessible without divine help. As you approach the scriptures, fervently pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only through His divine illumination can the words on the page transform into a living encounter with the living God. Pray that the Spirit will help you see the truths in the text, cultivating a desire to know, please, and honor God more deeply.
2. Discern the Human Penman: Uncover the Author’s Intent
Recognize that each book of the Bible bears the mark of a human author, a divinely appointed penman conveying a specific message to a particular audience. Approach the scriptures with an inquisitive mind, pondering the historical and cultural context. Consider the intentions of the human author – who they were addressing and what truths they sought to communicate.
3. Historical and Cultural Exegesis: Grasp the Temporal and Spatial Context
Delve into the historical and cultural landscape in which each book was written. Understand the customs, political climate, and societal milieu of the times. A comprehensive grasp of these factors will help you see the nuances of the scripture, unveiling the richness of its intended meaning.
4. Harmonizing the Symphony: Contextualize within the Grand Narrative
Comprehend that the Bible is not a disjointed collection of disparate stories but a harmonious symphony of God’s redemptive plan. Recognize the grand narrative that unfolds from Genesis to Revelation, appreciating how each book contributes to the overarching story of God’s love, grace, and redemption.
5. Clarity Amidst Complexity: Allow Clear Passages to Illuminate the Obscure
Acknowledge that certain passages may pose challenges to comprehension. In such instances, let the clarity of explicit scripture shed light on the more intricate portions. The entirety of scripture coheres, with clear passages providing a lens through which to understand those that may appear opaque.
6. Application to Today: Discerning the Relevance of Eternal Truths
Finally, grasp the timeless relevance of the eternal truths in scripture. Though written in a different time and cultural context, the principles contained within are living and active, resonating with applicability to contemporary life. Apply these truths to your present circumstances, allowing them to shape your conduct, attitudes, and relationship with God.
Approach the scriptures with reverence, humility, and an unwavering commitment to seeking God’s truth. In this sacred endeavor, may you be blessed with profound insights, drawing ever closer to the heart of the Almighty.
(NOTE: Sometimes, it’s fun to use a larger vocabulary 🙂)