Written by Hope Brakenhoff. Media by Taylor Harpster.
It is not a simple task to read the Bible, and it is an even more difficult task to understand what you are reading. Scholars spend their whole lives trying to interpret the Bible and what it means. It is created in such a way that one verse can be interpreted in countless ways and every verse means something different to every person. Reading the Bible is personal. It can be scary to read because it can be difficult to understand. Here are a few ways to help you get started or to help you understand it more clearly:
1. Highlight what sticks out in a passage.
Highlighting phrases or words that stick out when you are reading makes your mind meditate on those phrases. It also helps you when you are specifically looking for what the passage is about. Any keywords or phrases could be the summary of what was being said in that specific passage. Highlighting keeps your mind focused as well.
2. Compare different versions of the passage.
There are many different versions of the Bible that are available. When you get stuck with the meaning of a verse or passage, try looking at another version, whether that is the New King James Version or the New International Version or the countless others. One of the other versions could use different wording that might make something click for you.
3. Use a study Bible.
Study Bibles can be great tools to understand scripture. Study Bibles have references at the bottom of every page that will tell you about the passages. Sometimes they give you more context about the passage, and other times they will explain the verse more clearly. Study Bibles were created to help people understand the Bible more clearly.
4. Re-read the passage that seemed strange to you or the passage that really intrigued you.
Typically, the passages that cause you the most trouble are important. If a passage or verse is sticking out to you and seems strange, a good way to focus on it and try to understand its meaning is to re-read it. Read it twice, and then read it out loud. Every time you read, take your time. Focus on every word. The wording used in the Bible is important.
5. Write down key words or phrases.
While this is similar to highlighting, sometimes writing down the words or phrases can make you think more carefully about the passage or verse. Writing things down forces your brain to focus on it. Taking notes on what you are reading is also a great tool for you to look back on in the future. When you write things down, it is easier for you to remember them. It should also apply when you are reading the Bible. If you write it down, you are more likely to remember the passage or verse and you are more likely to start to understand it.
Reading the Bible can be hard, but if you have some tips to help you understand what you are reading, it becomes less of a task and more of something you want to carve out specific time for in your day. The Bible shows love and it is unexplainably enjoyable to read once you figure out what helps you understand it. Give these tips a try. One of them could be the tip you need to understand what God might be trying to tell you.