Here are some quick tips to increase your understanding of the Bible. Enjoy!
- Choose a translation you can understand. There are many good modern translations you can use without having to stumble over difficult terms or archaic language.
- Don’t try to see how fast you can read your Bible. Read at your normal rate or even slower. Don’t read just to see how fast you can turn the pages or finish a chapter. Read to have your life changed. Read for wisdom and encouragement. Read for greater understanding. Read so that tomorrow or maybe even a year from now, you’ll remember what you read today. Be a thoughtful reader, and not just a quick skimmer.
- Read with a pen or pencil in hand. Underline passages or words that stand out to you. If you don’t understand something, put a question mark beside it so you can research it later. Write an exclamation point in the margin for something that excites you, or a star next to verses you want to remember or read again. If you are nervous about marking your Bible, don’t be. It’s not the physical ink and paper that’s sacred, but God’s message itself. God wants you to understand your Bible, so go ahead and mark it! All your interaction with a pen or pencil will help you to better grasp God’s message to you.
- Always read Bible verses with the surrounding passages in mind. Keep asking, what happened in the section before the passage you are currently reading. If you have a study Bible, read the explanatory notes and comments. If the book of the Bible you are reading has an introduction, read what it says.
- Check a dictionary for words you don’t understand. Or use your cell phone or computer to check out the words you’re unsure of. This will build your vocabulary and help you better understand what you are reading.
- Stop at the end of each paragraph and pinpoint the main idea. It takes only a few seconds to ask yourself, “What was this paragraph about?” Then as you string the paragraphs together and determine what each one is about, you’ll get a better sense for the main message of the passage you are reading.
Good observation isn’t just about the simple mechanics of reading the words themselves. It’s about reading for understanding.