Keys to Understanding the Bible

The most important keys to understanding the Bible is attitude! Isaiah 66:2 (also cf. Isaiah 57:15) explains that God works with those of a humble, repentant spirit. We must be teachable, stand in awe of God, and desire to be corrected by Him. Proverbs 9:10 shows us that the fear of God (which literally means “awe”,” deep reverence and respect for God) is the starting point for wisdom.

A second key is obedience to God. Psalm 111:10 explains that it is those who keep the commandments who have good understanding. We grow in spiritual maturity as we seek to apply the principles of God’s law in our daily decisions and choices (Hebrews 5:12-14).

A vital third key to understanding the Bible is to understand specific verses in the context of the rest of the Bible. The Apostle Peter explains in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that no scripture is of a “private” interpretation. God inspired the whole book and one verse on a subject must be understood in light of other verses on the same subject. Just as in most subjects, knowledge of the Bible is cumulative and must be built by adding “line upon line” and “precept upon precept” (Isaiah 28:10).

A fourth key is that we must start with the plain, clear verses on any subject. We should be guided in our understanding of obscure or “difficult” scriptures by those that are clear. For instance, Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:15-16 that Paul wrote some things that were a little difficult to understand and which were often twisted out of context. When in doubt, read a verse in more than one translation and use a dictionary to look up words so as to understand clearly meanings and usage.

Congratulations to you as you undertake one of life’s most profitable and exciting journeys. It is a journey that will take you to a deeper understanding of God’s revelation and to a fuller appreciation of His great plan and purpose for all mankind-and for you personally.