Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible

The words in the Bible are spiritual, because God is a Spirit. Therefore, when you read the word of God, you can read it in two ways and interpret it in two ways. The first way is the way God intends it to be read, which is spiritually. The second way is carnally. You will never understand God or how to interpret the bible correctly if you are not reading it spiritually. Which is why it's important to have the Holy Spirit. Anyone can read the bible, but not everyone is able to understand it, and that is intentional!
Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given . . . . And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them' (Matthew 13:11,14,15).
God wants you to have a committed relationship with him so that you want to get to know him. He desires you to ask, and seek, him for spiritual gifts so that you can know him better. In order for anyone to read the word of God spiritually, they have to be committed to God. In order to be committed to God they have to practice righteousness. Please read the posts I wrote titled Committed Relationship & Righteousness. The reason why you have to be committed to God in order to read the word of God spiritually, is because the enemy will try to distract you (e.g. not enough time, this is boring, etc). Jesus describes this in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Which seed are you?

Theology is great but that alone will never help anyone understand God's words.
For the word of God is alive and active.Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Inside of the bible are the words of God, as well as stories of those living during biblical times. The authors were inspired to write these stories by the Holy Spirit. When reading the bible it's important for us to understand that there are some stories that are written to show us how to live as born again believers in the Kingdom of God, and there are other stories to show us how not to live in the Kingdom of God [2 Timothy 3:16]. The bible is different from any other book that we've read because after reading it, and allowing what we've read to grow in our heart [Matthew 13:1-23] we will be able to have exactly what we believe in our heart for, according to Mark 11:23-24. In order to understand the words in the Bible and understand how to apply the bible to our life, we will need the Holy Spirit. Theology without the Holy Spirit's revelation is useless and pointless. The Holy Spirit is our helper, he is sent to guide us into all truth, tell us the things to come, and bring us into remembrance of all that Jesus Christ has said [John 16:13].

We will discuss this further in Seed 13:22 Training

6 Tips to help us understand the word(s) of God (the bible)!

Tip 1. Chapters are not an indication of the end/beginning of the speaker's message.
Chapters in the bible give the impression that the end of a chapter means that it is the end of a conversation, and the beginning of the chapter is the beginning of a conversation. The chapter numbers are often inserted between the message, sermon, teaching. For example, in Matthew 5-7 happened in one setting, on the same day. Think of Matthew chapters 5-7 like a pastor preaching one sermon, on one day.

So if you want to read the Book of Matthew for example and understand it, I suggest reading Matthew in this order:
Suggestion for reading the bible as a new believer:
  • The Epistles (Acts - Jude)
  • Then the Gospels (Matthew - John)
  • The Old Testament (Genesis - Malachi ) after you are secure in understanding the Covenant of Grace, read the Old Testament. Reading the Old Testament is encouraged because it will give you understanding of why God sent his son Jesus into the world.
  • Last but not least, the book of Revelation
Tip 2. Meditate on what you are reading, at the moment you are reading it. 
Ask the Holy Spirit for understanding for anything that doesn't make sense to you. An example of meditating on the scripture means to read the word of God, and then ask questions. Meditate on how that applies to your life; think about what you would have done if you were in the person shoes.
  • Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
  • Psalm 119:148  My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
  • Psalm 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
  • Psalm 77:12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Tip 3. Law of Moses (600+commandments) vs The Law of the Spirit (1 Commandment to love)
There are two main covenants in the bible that pertains to eternal life. The first is the Law of Moses read Deuteronomy, and the other is the Law of the Spirit read the books of Roman and Hebrews. The 10 Commandments are under of the Law of Moses. In addition to the 10 Commandments, the Law of Moses also consist of sacrificial rituals which the Israelite's had to do to be cleanse from their sins. The 10 Commandments is summed up in one commandment under the Law of the Spirit; love, God first and love your neighbor as yourself [Matthew 22:36-40]. When we love God, we will love our neighbor. When we love our neighbor we will not murder them, lie to them, steal from them, etc. The Grace of God in the Law of the Spirit replaced the sacrificial rituals in the Law of Moses. Now under the Law of the Spirit, when we sin we have to repent from our heart. Under the Law of Moses, in order to be forgiven of sin they had to sacrifice an animal, and that animal would have the sins on them, and die in place of the person who sinned.

Tip 4. Why did the disciples follow the Law of Moses in the Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John]?
We read in Matthew 5:17-20 that until Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses, Prophets and Psalms [Luke 24:22] that that law would not be abolished. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses when he resurrected from the dead. At that point is when the Covenant of Grace was offered. So when you read the Gospels in New Testament, you have to understand that before Jesus's resurrection, the crowd and his disciples had to follow the Law of Moses, until Jesus fulfilled it through his death and resurrection. At the same time, Jesus started to introduce the Covenant of Grace as well. Read the Parable of the Wineskins in Luke 5:33-39.

Tip 5. When reading the bible be aware of these six things:
  1. Who the speaker is speaking to? (e.g. Is Jesus speak to his disciples [the righteous] or to the Pharisees [unrighteous]?)
  2. Was it before the Law of Moses (before Jesus resurrection) or after the Covenant of Grace (after Jesus's resurrection)?
  3. Who is speaking? 
  4. Is the speaker using analogies, similes, metaphors or parables to describe a noun (person, place, or thing)?
  5. Just because the bible said someone said something, or did something, doesn't mean God was okay with what they did or said. We know that Abraham was righteous because he had faith. However, we also know that in Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-18, Abraham lied. Just because the bible doesn't specifically mention that what Abraham did was bad, and that God did not approve of Abraham's lies, doesn't mean that God was okay with it. On the contrary we see that this becomes a generational curse (read more).
  6. When reading the Old Testament remember that the believers in the Old Testament were spiritually dead (without the Holy Spirit inside of them) unless they were a prophet, king etc [they were not eligible to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit] . In those days God would only allow his Holy Spirit to dwell on those anointed. The Holy Spirit also lived in the Temple of God but under the Covenant of Grace, our bodies are the Temple of God, so the Holy Spirit dwells in us. 
Tip 6. In the bible the spiritual explains the natural
By reading John 6:63, John 1:14, John 4:24 we know that God is a Spirit, Jesus Christ's words are spirit and truth, and that Jesus is the living word. So when we read the word of God with a natural perspective, we will misunderstand & misinterpret it. For example, when we read Exodus 20:1-20, Deuteronomy 5:5-21 we should ask our-self what were the spiritual ramifications of not adhering to these commandments under the Law of Moses? I think a lot of read this, as a checklist of what God said not to do and we lose the misunderstand scripture. This same principle applies with any other scripture in the word of God. If we read the bible to get a natural understanding before understanding the scripture spiritually, then:
  • We are in danger of be legalistic (rules instead of relationship, and relationships develop over time).
  • We are in danger of becoming religious (failed legalism due to lack of relationship)
  • We may also think God the father is mean, instead of realizing that the rules were for spiritual protection.