“5 Things You Need to Know About the Bible”Categories: Christian Living, Joshuah Ellis, Theology
It should come as no surprise that Christians ought to read their Bibles. After all, this is how we are able to educate ourselves about God, and truly understand His will for our lives. However, there are some bad habits that can very easily arise if we are not careful.
The Bible has fallen under a lot of scrutiny over the years. Misinterpretations and misunderstandings have influenced a lot of folks to make some very poor decisions and all in the name of following (or at least trying to follow) what the Bible says. In order to avoid this, I have put together a little list of things we all ought to consider when reading our Bibles.
1. It was NOT written in English. This should be obvious, but it isn’t always. There are a lot of people who seem to think that Paul and the other apostles wrote their letters in King James English, and this is just not true. The New Testament was actually written in Greek. One might wonder why that matters. It matters because the English language is made up of approximately 1 million words whereas the Greek language is made up of over 5 million words. That is a BIG difference. Original text and word meanings can alter how we might understand a passage.
2. It wasn’t written to you. Well, I suppose in a way, one could argue that this is not true. But, if you are considering original context, then it is obvious that while I may benefit from the scriptures (again, considering the New Testament in particular), I am not the original intended audience. This matters when you go to study God’s Word. Hebrews was written to a group of Christians who were formerly practicing Jews. The message of that book is in direct response to their background and the challenges that arose as a result. Elements like this are very important in reaching a deeper understanding of the Bible.
3. It wasn’t written by verse. We love to be able to cite book, chapter and verse for a passage. This makes it easy for us to navigate the scriptures and direct others through the text. However, those little verse numbers and even the big chapter numbers were not in the original texts. This means that isolating a verse like Jeremiah 29:11, framing it on a tile, and hanging it in your kitchen as if it were your personal mantra from God might not always be wise. The verse is true absolutely, but it was directed at a suffering prophet who was feeling down about his ministry. Remember the 3 main rules of Bible study: context, Context, and CONTEXT!
4. It is not to be supplemental in nature. God’s word is perfect and sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There is no other source by which we can learn anything about the nature of God, His will for our lives, and the means by which we can carry it out. God’s word is final! Be very careful when you study. You might not always find yourself in easy acceptance to what is written and it can be very easy to dismiss God’s Word on the basis of tradition, culture, and time. God’s words do not change and His will for us doesn’t either.
5. You can make it worthless. Sure God’s words never really waver in power or value. But, YOU can make the inspired Word of God worthless in your own life. How? Either by neglecting to read it or by reading it and not applying it. If your Bible is sitting on a shelf or a coffee table collecting dust, then it is worthless, at least to you. We are to receive Gods word (James 1:21), and then apply it to our lives. Otherwise, we are truly rendering God powerless in our lives when it comes to our salvation and spiritual growth.
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