For people to see the Lord—that’s my passion. Our most pressing need is to see and understand God.
When we know what God is like and why he is good, that’s when we’ll have:
- Changed hearts
- Greater faith
- True obedience
How do we see what God is like? We look to divinely inspired Scripture to see his words and deeds.
You’re reading part one in my series on seeing God’s goodness.
I’m so glad you’re here!
Over this series (about 10 weeks) we’ll look at questions such as how to better trust God, how to keep Jesus at the center of our lives, and how to be more thankful, faithful, and productive as followers of Jesus. The focus is Scripture—and seeing God’s character in Scripture.
To have lives of significance, we need be early to set our hearts on God now. In Joshua 1, the angel told Joshua how to do this: meditate on God’s word day and night. That’s how we can follow him, and that’s how we can prosper (Joshua 1:8). So get ready for a lot of Scripture over this series.
Our starting topic is “Understanding Scripture.”
The question is:
“How can I interpret the Bible more clearly and help others understand it?”
If you’ve been in Sunday School or talked about the Bible often with friends, you must have noticed the obvious problem: too few people have a mature understanding of Scripture. It’s partly a problem of knowledge. Many people are simply unfamiliar with the Bible. When reading one part, they take it to mean something incompatible with another part, because they simply don’t know (or don’t remember) the additional passages that clarify it.
From Joshua 1:8 we already know the main solution: we need to be in God’s word all the time. Scripture is a regimen of training. It’s exercise. As exercise, it can be work, but it can be fun at the same time. In the words of the angel we see the basic principle of Bible-reading: we need to read it—and talk about it—regularly.
We need more than a mere skimming.
The best advice I heard on Bible-reading was from Dr. Donald Whitney at Southern Seminary. In his class (and his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life) he explains that no matter how much time we have for reading the Bible, we can get more out of it by simply devoting some of the time to thinking. Even if you can only read the Bible for two minutes in a day, you can take one of those minutes to stop and think through what you’ve read.
The Bible only becomes interesting when we take the time to interact with it. Think about the times you got bored. Wasn’t it when you were in a hurry and tried to skim or scan it? But to meditate on Scripture you need to ask questions of it.
Here are some great starter questions to ask:
- What’s the main thing happening in this passage?
- Is there a main theme or point of focus?
- Why is this in the Bible (and what did the author want me to know)?
Then take it to the next level:
- What general conclusions can I form on the basis of what I’m reading?
- Does the passage give clues about what God is like? Does it give clues about how God wants me to live?
- Do any other passages touch on these same topics?
If possible, go even deeper:
- Do other passages say anything that would seem to limit the conclusions I could take from just this one passage, acting to refine my understanding?
- Do any passages seem to directly contradict this one? If so, what is the resolution?
- Does this passage relate to Jesus or the gospel in any way?
Okay, that’s all I have for today.
The next three posts will be about how to love God’s word more, how to understand it better, and what to do when people disagree about its meaning.
I want to say, it is awesome that I get to spend time reading through the Bible to find the most helpful passages to share with you! I’m fortunate to have the time to do this. I hope you’ll also be blessed as you make the time to prepare your own heart to seek the Lord.
Once this series is finished I might make it into a book. Please use the comment section below to add anything you would like to see in the book! Your interaction will help me make huge improvements.