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What is the Starting Point for Understanding the Bible?

Oct 18, 2018 | |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).

Conclusion

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.

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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.

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About the Author:

Max AndersDr. 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 MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.

Think About It:

In your experience, what a great place to start studying the Bible?

20 comments on “What is the Starting Point for Understanding the Bible?

  1. France's Boetcher says:

    I feel anxious to learn how to study, learn, understand and to love the word of God and the bible.

  2. Aquilla Lillard says:

    This sounds so doable

  3. Vivian says:

    I have been trying to understand the bible myself and don’t know where to start. Can gu out please help me out with this

    1. John.Andrade@harpercollins.com says:

      Hi. One place to start is with a study guide and time reading the Bible each day. The book 30 Days to Understanding the Bible could help you. Learn more at http://biblein30days.com.

  4. Claire Grossman says:

    Thank you! I will check out your website. I’m currently a caretaker for a 91 year old friend who’s family is of little help . I have chosen to step in this role at the cost of most of my personal and family time. I believe I’m on assignment from God but I need to understand His Word better to be sure I’m in His will and also help me understand the Bible in more depth and detai. I also had to let go of my Bible Study group to help her. Hoping your book will be helpful as I study on my own within a very limited space of free time . Looking forward to learning much from and purchasing your book.

  5. Mary Dompreh says:

    I love to learn the word of God

  6. Antony Buge says:

    Wants to learn and understand the Bible in detail

  7. Emma Caine says:

    Want to learn more about the Bible

  8. Scott Loras says:

    No one starts a book in the middle or 2/3 into it. We start at the beginning and read until the chronology ends. This means we start with the Torah and proceed through the history of Israel, then to the Prophets. (The Writings may be read later). After we have our foundation (at least in Torah), we can then begin to read the gospels, Acts, John’s and Peter’s letters, then and only then Paul’s letters, and Revelation.

    If we read Paul’s letters too soon, we will misunderstand them and contradict previous truths. This is THE mistake the Roman-based “church” makes. You CANNOT properly understand Paul without understanding Torah first. Period. Any effort to do so yields distorted results. (2 Peter 3:16)

    All this said, do not expect to fully understand all in Torah when you first read them. Some of it can only be understood with Paul’s explanation (and critically, the guidance of the Holy Spirit). Any understanding that is not consistent with an earlier truth is not properly understood.

    The concept of “old” and “new” testaments became popularized by Marcion, the heretic. There is no old and new, but one, whole Bible with a consistent message inspired by God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God was not “ mean and angry” in the “Old Testament,” then suddenly full of grace in the “New Testament.” This is a poor understanding of His character and protection of His Way and His people (that is the faithful which is not merely those of Hebrew genealogy, but has always also included gentile faithful. True Israel IS (consists of) the faithful followers of YHVH/Yeshua (Jesus). This is contrary to another false doctrine of the Roman-based “church,” which sees Israel and “the church.” Further support for this approach to the Bible is that while today we can view the gospels, Acts, the apostolic letters, and Revelation as “Scripture,” when the reference to “scripture” was used by the apostolic writers, they clearly, only meant the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. They did not yet see their writings as part of the inspired, inerrant Word of God. This is important because it helps us to properly understand their writings. They wrote nothing new, except for a better understanding of the Tanakh (the “Old Testament”). This became necessary because the rabbis had created their own teachings and traditions that were inconsistent with Scripture. Yeshua and the apostles wrote to correct these false doctrines and clarify their true meaning. The true meaning of Torah (which most call “The Law,” but which is better understood as Instruction) is ALWAYS carried out with “loving God” and “loving people” in mind. Any understanding contrary to this foundational principle is false. God (YHVH/Yeshua) never broke Torah, ever.

    Grace Faith Obedience (and atonement to be complete) has been the same formula from the beginning, in that order. This is evident throughout the entire Bible.

  9. Gerald Beckham says:

    I would be interested in learning more about this study.

  10. Rodger Bwalya says:

    I would like learn more about the bible using this plan

  11. Jerliine Williams says:

    I would like to have this book,

  12. Kimberly D Nichelson says:

    I would LOVE to be able to better understand the Bible. I’ve been trying to for many years now and I’m beginning to get rather frustrated with it. Please help!!!

  13. John says:

    I am interested in this book.

  14. Maria L. A. Pequeno says:

    My name is Maria L. A. Pequeño. I have visual problems, so it would be hard for me to read it in a book. I was wondering if you have it electronically? Thank you and God bless you.

    1. John.Andrade@harpercollins.com says:

      The book is available electronically. You can find this at most online retailers. The kindle edition is, of course, at Amazon.

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