As you learn how to study the Bible, read the same passage multiple times. Sometimes I’ll do this in one sitting: I read the whole chapter, then go back and reread looking for key words or phrases that stick out to me. Or you can reread the same books over and over. God uses familiar passages to say new things. All. The. Time.
If you don’t understand something, ask. Ask God. Ask friends or leaders you trust to help you discern what a passage means. Google to find other passages of Scripture that speak to the same topic. Also read trusted commentaries from Bible scholars. Then ask God to help you discern how you should receive their interpretations.
Even considering all the steps above, this is one of the easiest ways to “break” the Bible. We must do what it says; otherwise, it’s a bigger mess than putting the wrong soap in the dishwasher. When we don’t apply God’s Word to our lives, we settle for pride and deception. If we know how to study the Bible but don’t put it to use, we miss out on the blessed infilling of God’s transforming love.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25, NIV).
Know this: God longs to speak with you through his Word. Seriously longs. Like more than I desire chocolate. So respond to him. He’s willing, ready and waiting.
This article about teaching teens how to study the Bible originally appeared here.