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Below you will find some simple tips to help you properly study and understand the Bible.

Note:  This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in any specific order.  This list is intended to spur thoughtfulness and consideration while reading the Scriptures.
God desires that we understand Him and His Word and has promised to help us learn more about Him.

Simple Tips For Bible Study

Description and Details
Pray Before Studying
Pray in agreement with the Word of God before you study.  Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into God's Truths!
John 16:13
Exegetical Approach
This is a big theological word, but it has a fairly straight forward meaning.
DO - Exegesis - Take out of the Bible what it says as truth
DON'T - Eisgesis - Read into the Bible what you want it to say
Psalm 119:33
Context! Context! CONTEXT!
You must read the Scriptures IN CONTEXT!  Reading a single verse (or part of a verse) can lead to many false understandings.
John 5:39
The 20/20 Rule
Part of the CONTEXT theme.  Read 20 verses before and 20 verses after the verse you are attempting to understand.
John 5:39
Preconceived Ideas
Attempt to separate what you THINK the passage means and try and read it as though it were the first time.  Our preconceived ideas are very powerful and can wrongly influence our understanding of the Bible.
Isaiah 55:8-9
Consider God's Character
God is perfect and does NOT change; therefore, any passage that appears to contradict the Holy nature of God should be carefully studied.
Hebrews 13:8
Scripture Interprets Scripture
We must NEVER attempt to understand the Bible using our logic and intellect apart from other passages.  The Scriptures themselves must interpret other verses.  Cross-referencing is very helpful.
Acts 17:10-11
The Original Audience and Purpose
Understanding the author's intended audience and purpose for writing is vital in applying spiritual truths in our own lives.
1 Peter 1:1
Rule of First Mention
This Bible study guideline recommends going back to the first time a doctrine is mentioned in the Bible and studying that reference.  Often the first mention sets the tone of the doctrine throughout the Scriptures.
Mark 10:6
Interpret Parts of the Bible in Light of the Whole
Understand a sentence in the light of the verse, in the light of the paragraph, in the light of the chapter, in the light of the book, in the light of the Testament, in the light of the entire Bible.
2 Peter 1:19

More Simple Tips For Bible Study

Description and Details
Get an Original Language Dictionary
When we read a word in our own language that we don't understand, we look it up in a dictionary.  It is very helpful when reading the Bible to have Hebrew and Greek dictionaries and look up the original words God chose.
Many are FREE online
Resort to Commentaries Last
Avoid using other people's opinions (commentaries, etc.) first.  Read the passage many times, and after applying solid Bible study, then read commentaries to confirm your conclusion.
Acts 17:10-11
The Bible is Verbally Inspired!
Every word in the Bible is TRUTH and is in agreement with the rest of the Scriptures.  Each and every word is inspired by God!
2 Timothy 3:16
Be Aware of Personal Bias
First be aware of our own bias, i.e. denominations, schools of thought, etc. Try and avoid letting your bias influence your Bible study.
Isaiah 55:8-9
Get the Big Picture
Remember to understand the big picture. Never isolate a single verse to prove a point.
Romans 11:22
Repeated Themes
Look for similar themes in multiple places. Repeated themes can add insight from different Biblical perspectives.
Many NT Quotes of the OT
Read the Bible "Literally in Context"
The Bible is to be understood "literally in context".  This is important!  For example, if you are reading a proverb, do NOT understand it as a promise.  A prophecy is NOT a historical commentary.
Proverbs compared to Acts
Put Yourself in the Author's Shoes
Attempt to try and understand where the author is coming from.  Remember always that the writer's words must be taken from the writer's position.
Ignore Chapter and Verse Numbers
Chapter and verse numbers are very helpful.  However, they can create artificial separations which did not exist in the original writings.  Sometimes we may stop at the end of a chapter and miss important context.
Human Authors were Moved by the Holy Spirit
Yes, the Bible was written by human authors.  However, they did not write of their own accord, they were moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:19-21

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