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How to Read & Study the Bible

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Christine, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. I'm posting this here because I think there are some of us, including myself, that forget how to read and study the Bible. I am noticing on other threads that the Bible is being taken very literal instead of keeping in mind the times when the Bible was created. For example: "That was then, this is how it applies to me today...".

    This article was made by my friend, MC. Hope this will become useful to others as it has for me.

    How to Read and Study the Bible

    What Does the Bible Have to Do with Me?
    The Bible was written by many authors representing many time periods, all of them long ago. The culture of each of those time periods was different from our own in so many ways. But the God who inspired the original authors inspires us as we read them. Sometimes when you pick up the bible, you’ll want to study and learn – you’ll want to read for you head. Sometimes you’ll be hungry to grow closer to God and experience God’s presence in your life- you’ll want to read for your heart. Whether you read for your head or your heart, God will bless you!

    The PRIMA Process
    Prima is Latin for “first.” Use this process when you read the Bible to Keep God first in your life.
    Pray before you start reading
    Read, trusting that God will help you learn and grow.
    Imagine what was going on when the passage was first written. (See the “Consider the Context” section.)
    Meditate on what you have read and on God’s message for you.
    Apply what you have read to your life. Live it!

    Consider the Context
    In interpreting the meaning of any particular Scripture passage, it is important to understand it in light of the larger context in which it was written and within the living Tradition of the Church. The process of interpreting a passage is called exegesis. You’re going to need help with this. We suggest that you find an edition of the Bible with good notes and chapter introductions, like The Youth Catholic Bible.

    The following are things to consider when reading Scriptures:

    • The Historical and Cultural Context: In order to understand the author’s or editor’s intention in a specific Scripture passage, it is important to know the historical situation and cultural biases during the time the author or editor wrote.
    • The literary form or device used: Was a certain passage intended to be history, poetry, prophecy, a letter, a Gospel, or another literary form? Did the passage use metaphors, parables, symbols, or other literary devices? How were these forms and devices used during the time the author or editor wrote?
    • The Unity of the whole Bible: It may be tempting to look at a single verse of Scripture passage and presume that we know everything there is to know on the subject without reading further. But it is important to read the Scriptures within the context of the whole chapter of book. In fact, the old saying “use the Bible to interpret the Bible: calls us to see specific Scripture passages within the larger context of God’s message throughout the whole Bible.
    • The Sacred Tradition of the Church: In order to understand God’s word, we must read it within the living Tradition of the Church. We interpret the Bible in light of what we know to be true about our faith and in light of God’s whole plan of salvation. In the Catholic Church, bishops have been given the ultimate responsibility for properly interpreting the Bible, although Scripture scholars and others share in this responsibility. When in doubt, ask a priest, minister, parish leader, teacher, or parent for help. They are God’s gift to you.

    Making Sense of the Scriptures
    The Church teaches that there are two main senses to interpret Scripture (see The Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 115 – 117):
    • The literal sense: This is the meaning conveyed in scripture directly by the words on the page.
    • The spiritual sense: Besides the texts, events reported in the Scriptures also convey meaning. The Catechism lists three senses: (1) allegorical – events are understood “by recognizing their significance in Christ” (e.g., the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea is a sign of Baptism and Christ’s victory over death), (2) moral – events are interpreted by how they “lead us to act justly,” and (3) anagogical – events are viewed in light of “their eternal significance” (e.g. the Church is a sign of God’s heavenly Kingdom).
    ~MC, http://stpyouth.sasktelwebsite.net/credo.html#misc
    Banarenth, fil3232003 and aha says Amen and like this.
  2. Nothing personal Christine, but when I hear things like this, I roll my eyes. I completely disagree with teaching people to memorise points like this when it comes to bible study / application. Perhaps if we were studying history or law, yes. If the bible is like a history textbook then one has taken the wrong subject.

    I teach the importance of discerning the different dispensations on how God interacted with man. The importance of knowing which portion of the bible applies to us today. Example, Paul received the revelation after Christ's resurrection on how to live by faith in Christ and in an unseen God. The OT must be looked at 'through' the finished work of the cross (all the ordinances against us were nailed to Jesus on the cross).

    The simplest teaching I have heard, which makes alot of sense to me is: If you dont love the author, you will need to force yourself to study and learn the bible. You will find many contradictions. BUT if you love the author, you won't be able to put the bible down until you have studied it inside out, you will have The Holy Spirit giving you spiritual revelation direct from God your spiritual love. The bible will seem like a compilation of love letters. Hence, read the love letters from God to you first (Paul's teaching). There is no harm in reading the love letters from God to others, example the OT to the jews, but understand that those were love letters for them, not directed at you.

    Here is where your and my beliefs clash:). Paul says all who are saved are a royal priesthood able to enter the presence of The most Holy. We no longer require 'royal priests' as the jews did, to go behind the veil. We have a direct line to God. God has sent The Holy Spirit to teach us. Gods 'gift' to us is The Holy Spirit. We have need that nobody teach us because of The Holy Spirit. A priest, minister, parish leader, teacher, parent can all be from the devil.

    Conclusion: Get saved and filled with the Holy Spirit before you study the bible.

  3. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, also I did not ask anyone to memorize anything. I posted this for anyone who wants to take a look at it or read it to its depth and get closer to God. Clearly you don't agree with this and that is fine, so it's not for you. Thanks for taking a look anyway.

    That is fine, as I have said before, you don't need to agree with me, this is not made to be a debate. The reason for the priests is a means to humble ourselves. Anyone can go to God directly and not be nearly as humbled. So the point is to become humbled, for the world is full of distractions.

    Are you saying, King J, that I am not saved?
  4. No, perhaps I should have used 'one' must be saved and not 'you'.

    I don't want you to view my post as 'my' opinion and in conflict to yours, you said alot of things I do agree with ;) and thanks for the effort you (and friend) went to, it is a helpful OP.
  5. It sounded like in your post that I do not love God. That upset me because I do love Him and desire to be very close to Him and the very reason I posted. I want everyone to desire to be close to Him and not just for myself.
    Also, if you did agree with anything I posted I did not read it in your post. :(

  6. Don't you mean the importance of reading the Bible through the lens of Dispensational theology?

    I think all the Bible applies to us. Why would we need accept Christ's death as paying for our sins, if the Old Testament death penalty for breaking the law didn't apply to us?

    I agree if you "love the author" you'll study the Bible "inside out." But, I can hardly believe that someone has read very much of the Bible if they think the Bible is like a compilation of "love letters."

    Yes, this is why Protestants don't call their leaders "priests."

    And, so can that little voice on our shoulder.
  7. Yes, but not critcically limited to 7.

    I assumed I said it quite clearly "The OT must be looked at 'through' the finished work of the cross (all the ordinances against us were nailed to Jesus on the cross).''

    I disagree :) Is God not warning us out of ''love'' when He gives us stories of His wrath?

    And exactly why nobody should to avoid the obvious confusion and parallel with the jewish priesthood.

    And hence I assumed I clearly stated "God has sent The Holy Spirit to teach us''

    Arius, do you have anything to add to the thread title? You post solely to critisize mine? :rolleyes:
  8. Don't be sad Christine, just adding to your post. Where I had nothing to comment on, I agreed ;).
  9. Don't be sad Christine... I found your article helpful. I didn't know so much went into studying the word. I just open the book and read lol but ill pray from now in. =)
  10. :p Thanks guys!
  11. Or post your question in a forum like this : )

    Sophomore is the second year in high school or college.

    Its root word can mean wise, clever, foolish or dull...contradictory words?… yes and no.

    The reason our teacher told us when I was a college sophomore is:

    On the 1st year or freshman year: we acknowledge that we do not know much… we are humble with what we know.

    But only after learning few things in a year: we become “very wise” within ourselves…. wiser than the juniors, seniors or even the teachers : )

    Same with newly Christians, after our eyes were opened with the good news of God’s grace in Jesus…we become very wise, wiser than teacher, priests or pastors! : )

    I think this is clearly seen in Chapter 1, 2 and 3 of 1st Corinthians….on how the newly Christians in Corinthians treated Paul, their own very teacher!

    Amusing ha... Sophomores … I should know : )
    fil3232003 and Christine say Amen and like this.
  12. This is what read in the HOLY BIBLE:

    Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

    Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

    And, only to the "babes or suckling" is "divine knowledge and wisdom" endowed!

    Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

    Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

    The "babes and suckling" in the Old Testament and New Testament:

    * Jeremiah, and other prophets chosen of God
    * Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew, Mary Magdalene, and other Apostles/Disciples

    How about TODAY?

    (Something to think about)

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