How do you study the Bible? It doesn’t matter whether you are a new Christian, a seeker, an academic historian or a Pope – that is a question that has to be answered if you want to do more than skim read the Bible.
Why? Surely you just pick the Bible up and read it from cover to cover,like a novel. Well you can do that but as you read through you will run into a number of difficulties. For example:
- The Bible is actually 66 books split into two halves (old and new testaments).
- The books in the Bible are not in chronological (time) order. The oldest book appears part way through the Bible and the newest / most recent one is not at the end of the Bible. (See NT Chronology Here)
- There are different types of literature in the Bible including historical records, poetry, apocalyptic literature, wisdom literature, parables, letters and even a love song. If you read poetry or apocalyptic literature as literal then you can end up with some weird ideas about what the Bible says.
- There is a cultural divide – the world 2 -3000 years ago was vastly different than what it is today. Figuring out what something meant back then (exegesis) and what message it imparts now (hermeneutics) requires more than just a casual read
…the messages God wants to give to us will be as easily accessible to a child as it is for a scholar…
Now – that may sound daunting – but it’s not. If the Bible really is God’s message to us, a hand book for life, then you can be sure it will mean something today and what is more important, the messages God wants to give to us will be as easily accessible to a child as it is for a scholar with 50 years of study behind them.
So – this site is not here to tell you what the Bible means but to give you a way to get more out of it. It has tools, references and suggestions. If you are a new reader of the Bible it might be worth seeing our 12 step over view of the Bible. The tools and suggestions are designed for the average Joe or Josephine to be able to pick up and use.
The quick start table below has a list of links for people who want to read the Bible for different reasons. Otherwise try seeing the tools, references and suggestions pages.
I Want To
|See The Big Picture||I'm interested in a summary of what the Bible is about and what is says|
|Meditate on scriptures||I want to spend time thinking about a small part of the Bible and what it means to me|
|Study words and concepts||I'm looking for tools that help me track ideas or words across different parts of the Bible|
|Exegesis - Understanding the historical contexts||I want to know what the Bible meant when it was written, who was involved, where things happened|
|Reference materials||I want to find books and resources that help me study and evaluate what they do|
|Bible translation and history||I want to know where the Bible comes from, why there are different translations and how decisions are made about words|
|Bible's history||Who wrote the Bible, why were books chosen and others excluded. How do we know these books are true|
So feel free to jump on it, have a look and see what you can find.