Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about Scripture. To put it simply…..studying God’s wisdom to us through Scripture is like a treasure hunt, around every corner a mystery is uncovered. Additionally, I believe that all of life’s questions are answered in this wisdom from God. Understanding God’s wisdom for us is second only to applying this wisdom to our lives.
I believe that the Bible is the Christian handbook for life. It contains God’s Word to us, His children, his instructions for living. Reading and studying the Bible is one of the most important essentials in the daily life and spiritual development of a Christian, a follower of Christ.
Here are a few standards I apply to my study of Scripture:
1. Context, context, context! It is important to view Scripture in the context of the story in which it is related, in it’s historical context as well as looking also at textual context, history, archeology, etc.
2. I never rely on one particular book, author, translation, etc. I always look at a cross section of works…..I look at a variety of commentaries, lexicons, and translations to get a good view of a meaning. In doing this, if a thought is “out there” or “off base” it will often rise to the surface as will the true meanings.
3. Focus and meditation: I never rush to judgement. I find it important to let things “marinate” for awhile so that I can see things clearly, especially in the case of tough to understand passages and thoughts. I find that as I read Scripture, pause, read again, and even again, that the words and thoughts start to come into focus.
4. Recognize that and English translation is just that….a translation from another language into English. It is important, especially in the case of tough topics or hard to understand Scriptures, to look at the original languages and the meanings/context of the original words.
5. As I read and study Scripture…..it is of supreme importance to understand what I am reading, not just read the words.
Below are a small selection of my favorite and most used books used to unlock these mysteries:
Bibles: Translations in English from the original languages of Greek and Hebrew.
Intralinears: These are Bibles that show the Greek or Hebrew on top with the English words below.
Reverse Interlinears: These are Bibles that show the English words on top with the Greek or Hebrew words below.
Lexicons & Word Study:Lexicons provide definitions and meaning of Biblical words found in the original New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew languages of the Holy Bible. This study resource helps in understanding the origins and root meaning of the ancient language. Additionaly, lexicons give the context and cultural meaning intended by the authors.
Commentaries: Written by well-known and popular theologians, Bible commentaries aid in the study of Scripture by providing explanation and interpretation of Biblical text. Whether you are just beginning to read Scripture or have been studying the Bible daily, commentaries offer greater understanding and context with background information on authorship, history, setting, and themes of Scripture.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias:
Bible dictionaries are one of the most practical and useful theological reference books available. The combination of definitions and proper names for Biblical words with online verse reference, allows users to define and analyze Scripture. Discover the meaning of words and study them in context to the theological concepts of that specific verse or passage. Many word searches also include the original Greek and Hebrew word with meaning.
Bible encyclopedias contain articles and definitions to thousands of words and terms used in Scripture. Entries include full historical references such as date, religious environment, family life, customs, language, and literature. All encyclopedia terms are cross-referenced and linked to the verses where they are found to help understand the full meaning of the word in context to its use in specific verses of the Bible. These articles, provided by well-known and respected Christian leaders, have been written to help those seeking a greater knowledge of Biblical characters, events and places.
Character and Location Studies:
Concordance: is an alphabetical listings of words and phrases found in the Holy Bible and shows where the terms occur throughout all books of Scripture. With cross-references for verses, concordances make it easy to understand the meaning of terms and the context in which those words are used. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is the most widely known and popular and includes Greek and Hebrew dictionaries for a better understanding of the original meaning.
Maps and Charts: