How to Read the Bible and Understand it Better

Since becoming a Christian as a teen, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the Bible and talking with others who read (or want to read) it as well, and I have found that, though it is of such great value to mankind and is widely owned and talked about, the Bible is not widely read or understood – not even among Christians. People often tell me how they try to read the Bible, but they don’t understand it, or they loose interest in reading it. It isn’t that they don’t want to read it, but that they feel defeated by their lack of understanding and eventually just quit.

In 1949 Rev Peter Marshall, in a prayer offered at the opening of the Senate session, stated, “Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” But how will a Christian know what to stand for, if he cannot read and understand God’s Word? I’m certain that the lack of Bible reading is the reason that so many are falling prey to “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Best Bible Study Tool

chronological-bibleI own all sorts of Bible study aids, but the best tool I’ve come across for helping me read and understand God’s Word is a chronological Bible. This type of Bible arranges the verses in historical order so that you are reading the events in the order in which they actually happened. The events can be placed in proper order because much of the Bible is dated. However, some texts are not dated, and in those instances the arrangers use an educated guess in placing them on the time line. Because of this educated guesswork, there will always be some debate over the accuracy of the time lines. I use The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order by F. LaGard Smith, and it has GREATLY increased my understanding of the Bible. It just makes more sense when I read it in order. I’m no historian, and I can’t debate the accuracy of Bro. Smith’s time line, but this I do know – not only do I understand the Bible better after reading it this way, I enjoy reading it more, and I think you will too.

Start With the New Testament

Reading the Old Testament first might not be the best idea. While the Old Testament is a storehouse of wisdom that definitely should not be overlooked, the New Testament is more familiar to us, thus easier to read and understand. I strongly suggest that you read through the New Testament first. It’s smaller, and when you’ve reached that goal, you’ll be much better prepared to tackle the Old Testament. In fact, divide the goal of reading through the whole Bible into several smaller goals. This will give you a continuing sense of accomplishment as you meet each goal. The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order, for example, divides the New Testament into two sections – the life of Christ first, then the church and the apostles. Completing these two sections first will greatly improve your understanding of the Bible and give you the encouragement you need in order to complete the much longer Old Testament readings.

Easy-to-Understand Translation

My daughter and I started reading through the Bible together last year. It is our goal to read through the entire Bible together at least once before she graduates. Discussing what we’ve read has been a wonderful learning experience for both of us. She knows much more than I expected, but she has also had several questions that I wouldn’t have thought to discuss with her, if we weren’t reading together like this. A couple of those questions really made me dig for answers. I absolutely LOVE that she and I are growing together like this. I like the fact that this Bible uses the New International Version, because I wanted to get the most out of our time together, and trying to understand the KJV slows us down. I know there is MUCH debate over this topic, so I suggest you talk with the Lord about which translation you should use. But I can say that this translation has accomplished exactly what I had hoped it would for our reading time together.

May God richly bless your Bible reading and give you a greater understanding of who He is and what He desires of you.

7 Comments

7 Responses to “How to Read the Bible and Understand it Better”

  1. […] wrote a post last year titled How to Read the Bible and Understand it Better. In that post, I tell about the best tool I’ve come across for helping me read and understand […]

  2. […] you struggle with your Bible study, you might be interested in an article I wrote last year about How to Read the Bible and Understand it Better. In the next few days, I hope to write a couple more articles about Bible study tools that have […]

  3. […] and understand God’s Word is this chronological Bible. I wrote more about it in a post titled How to Read the Bible and Understand it Better. This type of Bible arranges the verses in historical order so that you are reading the events in […]

  4. Bernie says:

    Hi,

    Pls. spell out how to read the old testament like the way you have for the new testament.(This will give you a continuing sense of accomplishment as you meet each goal. The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order, for example, divides the New Testament into two sections – the life of Christ first, then the church and the apostles.)

  5. Adesanya olusegun says:

    May d lord bless u. Pls dis my Address 14, Water Works Road Isale Oko, Sagamu, Ogun State.

  6. Alan Fernett says:

    I found by praying to GOD THE FATHER THRU LORD JESUS CHRIST just before I start reading the bible to give be the wisdom and knowledge I would need to understand it. In the name of my PERSONAL LORD AND SAVOR WHO I CONFESS OF THE FLESH. I have been reading the bible since March 14, 1983 just about every day. It always helps me I still have so much to learn with the help of GOD ALMIGHTY THRU LORD JESUS CHRIST I will keep learning. GOD WILLING.
    I learn that and many other things showing me the way to LORD JESUS CHRIST from Herbert W. Armstrong. He passed away in 1986 he was 94 years old, he found the World Wide Church of GOD. After his death the people he left it to, destroy it, there are other Churches that form I found one that I believe follow Herbert W. Armstrong teachings. GOD BLESS Alan Fernett

  7. samuel says:

    I want the bible tips to help me read the bible and understand it better.

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