How to Start Understanding the Bible

October 18, 2018
By: Max Anders

Every Christian needs a good understanding of the Bible.  Our entire experience as a believer depends on it.  But if you wanted a good understanding of the Bible, where would you start?

The answer was not obvious or easy for me.

I became a Christian after my first year in college. I was a young adult who had had no serious Bible teaching. I attended church as a child, so I was familiar with some of the great stories of Scripture: Noah and the flood, Sampson and Delilah, and David and Goliath.

But as I began to try to gain a serious understanding of Scripture, I was soon overwhelmed. The interesting stories that I was familiar with seemed to be hidden in a maze of unfamiliar and impenetrable information.

Sound familiar?

Determination is Not Enough

One day, I determined that I was going to master the Bible. I was going to start with Genesis and read to Revelation, and I was not going to give up until I understood the whole thing.

I soon became hopelessly entangled in a jungle of fantastic stories, unpronounceable names, broken plots, unanswered questions, endless genealogies, and an avalanche of tedious verbiage that defied my comprehension.

I stubbed my toe on Leviticus, sprained my ankle on Job, hit my head on Ecclesiastes, and fell headlong into the mud in Habakkuk.

I was defeated. I threw my Bible down, concluding that the Bible was a series of unrelated stories put together in random order hidden away in incomprehensible clutter.

Any chance you have experienced something similar in your spiritual journey?

The Key to Beginning to Understand the Bible

However, one day I discovered a key. With this key, the fog that enshrouded my understanding of the Bible began to lift. Not that things came immediately into sharp focus, but at least I began to see shapes on the horizon.

The key was learning the structure of the Bible.

If you want to learn architecture, you must first learn how buildings are framed and held together. If you want to learn to write fiction, you must first learn how stories are constructed. And if you want to learn the Bible, you must first learn how the Bible is put together.

There is an Old and a New Testament. There are historical books that tell the story of the Bible and create a skeleton for everything else. But, there are also books of poetry and prophecy that contain no history. However, they can be placed in a timeline stretched out by the historical books.

This was a revelation! I had expected the story to flow evenly from one book to the next.  When I learned that it didn’t, and why, I was able start finding my way around in the Bible.  It no longer seemed hopeless.  I was on my way!

God Wants Us To Understand

Even so, mastering the Bible is not easy. It’s an enormous book filled with extremely complex information. But understanding the basics makes possible a lifetime of expanding knowledge, which everyone can experience.

God wants us to understand the Bible. His Word is inspired, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).

We also learn in 1 Corinthians 2:12 (NKJV) that “we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 NKJV).


The Bible can be understood if we approach it effectively.  We need teachers, and the Holy Spirit will help us.  But like any big subject, if we start with the basics and work ourselves up to the advanced, we can build a knowledge and understanding of God’s Word that will change us dramatically from the inside out.

A world of opportunity and potential lies at your fingertips in the pages of Scripture.  To master the Bible so well that the Bible masters you and sets you free to achieve your God-given potential.  Start your lifetime journey now.

If you’ve ever confused the ark of the covenant with the ark of Noah, or Jericho with Jeroboam, Max Anders’ classic book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, is for you. In just fifteen minutes a day, you’ll learn the Bible’s key people, events, and doctrines to get more out of God’s Word.

Max Anders

Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books included 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at to help people grow spiritually.

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