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How to Understand the Bible in Four Simple Steps

Posted by Jason Inman

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Read this: “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:14 NIV If you take this verse on its own, you might be likely to ask Jesus for all sorts of doozies. Dear Jesus, can You keep all of my family healthy, safe, and rich forever? In Your name, amen.

When our requests don’t make God’s to-do list, we’re left wondering if He’s really trustworthy. This phenomenon rises from the gaping difference between two fancy words: exegesis and eisogesis. You don’t have to remember these words, but you do need to remember what they’re about. Exegesis is about drawing His truth from Scripture, and eisogesis is about adding your wants into Scripture. Let’s learn how to do the first one. (We already know how to do the second.)

  • Understand the context. Remember the last time you were in a conversation where someone else listened in and took one of your phrases out of context? Sometimes we eavesdrop and misunderstand instead of entering fully into the conversation. Use a study tool like blueletterbible.org to find out who wrote the passage, to whom, and during what time so you can understand what’s really being said.
  • Interpret Scriptures with other Scriptures. Sometimes you need to re-read the same Scripture in another one of the 1,228 versions available for free in the Bible App. Also, read a good chunk of Scripture before and after the verse in question. The Bible itself invites us to meditate on its truth (Joshua 1:8). Finally, use a study Bible or cross-reference to find and compare other Scripture on the same topic.
  • Apply what you learn. The Bible is not just a book to be studied. In fact, it’s not just a book to be understood either. It’s God’s Word, breathed to guide our actions, inspire our faith, and restore our world (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When you gain new perspective, talk to someone else about it to test what you’ve learned. Bring the Scripture you’re wrestling with into your prayer time and talk to God about it too. Then, make the 18-inch journey from your head to your heart, and put what you’ve learned into action.
  • Read the Twisted Bible Plan. This Life.Church Bible Plan will give you a head start on seven of the verses people most often misuse. As you untwist Scripture with us, you’ll put into practice the three simple steps above and find new meaning in some of your favorite passages.

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