Keys to Reading the Bible Effectively

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Eph. 1:17).

Firstly, let us not take lightly any word in scripture, for the Spirit of God wrote through the authors of the bible. If you do not understand a thing, seek revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God in you will grant revelation of the deep mysteries and truths of God…but only to those who truly believe that God desires to reveal the depths of his word to them. 

Our brother Paul didn’t rely solely on clever techniques and exegetical literary methods to understand the Old Testament. Primarily, it was the Spirit of God who revealed to him the deep prophetical parallels of scripture (Eph 3:3)(Gal 1:12). The Spirit of God reveals truths through scripture, and at times, even apart from scripture (dreams, visions, ideas, etc). For example, we see that in the early church, believers would share revelation and prophecy with each other during their gatherings. The early church was open to this (1st Corinthians 14: 6,26,30)!  So what shall we say? Earnestly desire revelation and prophecy! Before reading scripture, pray that God’s Spirit gives you revelation, and BELIEVE. 

Let us see in how we should view the apostolic writings brothers and sisters... We know that our Father inspired all of the scripture. Nevertheless, we must understand that these scriptures are written through humans. 

The writings of Paul, the Gospels, and the other letters, are: documents written by people inspired of God to express the life and gospel of Jesus. Many non-believers in these last days try to point out incongruities or what they perceive to be contradictions within the scriptures.

However, we must remind them that The Gospels are written from the perspectives of different people. Therefore, even if there are variances between what one witnesses or what another person recalls, there is always unity in the Gospel message.  So then, if one Gospel articulates a particular account of Christ’s burial; yet the other differs, what is to be said? Well obviously, if you have three people telling you of an event, each account will vary in the details. Similarly, since many observations of the life of Christ, were perceived from various people, there will be differences in each account…as you would expect. Therefore, take no concern regarding trivial differences. For the objective is to read these works to see the life of Jesus, to gain understanding regarding his words, and to perceive the theology and practices of his earliest followers. It is through prayer, illumination, and revelation that God will reveal to you the deep truths through them.  

Furthermore, as we read the apostolic letters, our goal must regularly be to place ourselves in the position and perspective of the earliest believers

For example, if we imaginatively place ourselves in the days of Paul, we would have had available the scriptures written through the Old Testament prophets…and Paul himself would have been an apostle; a fellow believer with his own opinions. Yet, we would have seen that he had an anointed understanding of Christ. We would have regularly seen him operate in the gift of healing, prophecy, and more! Nevertheless, he would have still been a fellow believer as us within the early church. And his letters to us would have greatly informed our theology. 

Still though, at times Paul would express his personal opinions about matters through his letters. This is why even though his letters are Holy Spirit inspired; Paul would often let the reader know what is “his opinion”, verses that which is a “command from God”. So as you read his letters, position your perspective as one in the early church. And also, take note on the moments when he lets you know what is specifically a command from the Lord.

Moreover, during the time of the earliest believers, the "Gospels" would have consisted of sayings and writings passed down to spread the ministry of Christ. Therefore, keep this in mind as you study the word of God. Again, people inspired of the Holy Spirit wrote the scripture. Thus, any so-called “variances” in the Gospel accounts should merely illustrate the human element in their composition and the perspective of the individual.  With an accurate understanding of what the letters are, you will see things as they should be seen.

  • The Bible does just what it was supposed to do: Outline the history and future of mankind and show how through FAITH in Jesus one can receive eternal life. It reveals the word of God, which is not only written on tablets by men, but is also written on the heart through the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3).

Furthermore, when reading the Bible, be sure to appropriate the Circle of Context hermeneutic. This means, that if you are reading a verse, you must consider the context of the chapter, the entire book, and even further…how it relates to the entire biblical canon!  We know that the Spirit of God wrote and inspired all scripture. Therefore, each writing should be interpreted beyond just a certain chapter or author. Rather, the interpretation should encompass the entire biblical narrative written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

Thus, the context of the entire canon should be considered.  In this way, the "dots can properly be connected" and a meaningful interpretation will be made known. For example, this is how and why one can make better sense of Paul's eschatological writings from reading Zachariah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.., for they are truly all part of one narrative inspired by God!  For example, notice how Paul and the other NT writers would often pull passages from various OT scriptures and present a conclusion from them.  Even though the references might come from various OT books, they would still draw conclusions about a theme, because they knew the Spirit of God wrote the entire biblical canon. Remember, revelation from God is the primary instrument in biblical understanding. Our understanding of scripture is not in our inherent ability, but in the Spirit’s revelation, so that no one may boast.

Simply put, biblical understanding takes place when God gives us the ability to connect the dots until we get the full picture. The full picture is not in one paragraph or chapter, but it is found in connecting dots and parallels from Genesis through Revelation. Additionally, God knew that the understanding of his kingdom and prophecy would increase in these last days.[1] We have search tools and technology that can compare words and search for identical phrases in microseconds, along with Greek and Hebrew concordances to look up original words and find similarities and sometimes mistranslations. Martin Luther had no such tools. We can even see just how many times via split screen Jesus spoke of the kingdom, and how it relates to when the kingdom is mentioned throughout the entirety of scripture! If we truly believe the bible contains the word of God, we must understand that it is ALL a canonical narrative that flows together. Pray for wisdom and revelation as you seek to connect the dots of the word. There is so much depth, and it is quite an exciting journey!

Additionally, reading the Bible should bring about mental exercise! Yes, proper reading of scripture will make you sharper! As you read, connect the dots and think very critically and deeply. Ponder heavily and exercise your brain. Effective reading of scripture should almost give you the mental fatigue of working through a challenging math problem. We must not get in the habit of skimming and reading so fast that we fail to build and exercise our minds. There is no greater exercise for the mind than the dive into the depths of God’s word! Further, it is in those moments of deep and strenuous pondering, that The Holy Spirit introduces revelation to understand his word. 

We must also realize that scripture can only be understood with God guiding and leading us as we read it. Therefore, it is vital to approach the word of God with humility. Those who do not will trip on “stumbling blocks”. Stumbling blocks are that which allow the humble to perceive God’s word, but halt the prideful from understanding the deep things of God (see 1 Corinthians 1:21, 23; 1Co 3:19). There are stumbling blocks in scripture for those who try to deny Christ and for the Gentiles who try to disprove him through their wisdom.


1st Corinthians shows how even in Paul's day, the Gentiles in their "wisdom and "rationalism" made fun of the things of God. Nothing has changed. There are stumbling blocks that stump the wise of this world.


Now, once one follows Christ and genuinely seeks God to understand him more, THEN he reveals truths from his word. However, those "rationalists" seeking evidence, before trusting God, will fail to find it. God first demands an open mind and a heart of Faith.

Warning: A Wicked Generation

Friends, be not alarmed that increasingly, the world has grown in hostility towards Christ. Are these things not already mentioned as what is to happen in the last days? Certainly they are.  The scriptures clearly teach that in the last days two things will happen: 1) The Gospel will be preached to all nations. 2) That many scoffers will question why Jesus hasn’t returned (2 Peter 3:4), and they will criticize those who do believe in Christ. We are living in the fulfillment of prophecy! Nearly 2000 years ago, we were told that the world would belittle those who believe in Christ and call us foolish. Notice how you are called primitive, ignorant, or dumb for your faith. Therefore, rejoice in your persecutions, for the words of God are being fulfilled. However, understand that even more of his words will be fulfilled; these are those concerning his Kingdom and his return. One day, you will see the son of Man returning, and “all the nations of the earth will mourn” (Matt. 24:30).

Moreover, Jesus said a wicked generation demands a sign. Yet, they will see the sign of Jonah, when the Body of Christ is raised on the “third” day since his sacrifice. They will then see the "sign of the son of man" in the sky. We all will be raised and will appear with Christ in Glory! Therefore, understand that this is the primary ‘sign’ that will be given to this skeptical world.  Remember, even the false messiah will perform miracles and wonders in order to deceive.  Those appointed for eternal life will believe even in the absence of signs and 'evidence' (Act 13:48).

May our Heavenly Father bless you and continue to take you to new levels of wisdom and revelation in him through our Lord Jesus.

Your brother in Christ, Jerren

AoC Network Narrator

See our Exploring The Bible Documentary Series Here:

Exploring The Bible Series


[1] Daniel 12:4.

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