The questions come in various forms, but the theme is the same. Some feel that Bible study is only for the professional clergy and professors who can delve into the original languages and determine the meaning of the Bible.
When God inspired, or breathed through men the Bible, He had them right in the language of the people. The New Testament was written in Koine’ Greek, not the classical Greek of the intellectual. It was in the common language of the people. He wanted everyone to understand what was being said. Therefore, He wants His people to be able to discern His message from His Book, the Bible.
I have found certain principles that help me in my Bible study. I would like to share them with you.
First, understand that the Bible is one Book, but it is made up of 66 different books, not chapters. There is history, poetry, revelation, illumination, parables, principles, etc. It is important to determine what the form is at the place where we are studying.
Second, the Bible contains what God is saying, what man is saying, and what the devil is saying. It is important to determine who is doing the speaking in the passage under study. If God says it, it is always true and right. God never lies. If it is man doing the speaking, it may or may not be true. For example, Solomon shares a lot of his experience in the book of Ecclesiastes, but it is the wisdom of “man under the sun.” It is wrong, therefore to build a doctrine on what man is saying. Some would teach that life is over when a man dies, for there is no knowledge in the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:10). However, that is the observation of man, not God.
Third, it is important to know to whom the message is being delivered, and in what circumstances. If you were reading a novel, you would have in mind the setting and the characters involved. Studying the Bible is even more important and we must keep our mind focused on the surroundings in the message. God told Israel to utterly slay all of the Amalakites, but that is not a universal message to all of His people in every age.
Fourth, we must keep the message in its context. For example, I could show you from the Bible that you should hang yourself. Here are the verses: Matthew 27:3-5 “Judas…hanged himself”, Deuteronomy 15:17b “thou shalt do likewise,” and John 13:27 “That thou doest, do quickly. “Now before you do not that, consider that I have taken verses or parts of verses out of context and made them say something they were not intended to say. Keep in mind that the Bible must be studied carefully to get the message from the Lord that is intended.
We also need to realize that some passages are a little more difficult to understand than are others. In that instance, we should interpret the obscure in the light of the clear.
Finally, it is important to decide what is being taught in this passage, and how does that apply to me? In every part of the Bible, there is something that is important for us to learn. To do so, we must determine what message God is revealing to us, what truth is presented, and how we must react to that truth.
For more about this topic see: The Bible