Bible Basics
to Make Living the Bible Easier

Are you intimidated by the Bible?  Don’t know where to start?  Start with the Bible basics.

The Bible can be a difficult book to read.  Have you ever tried to read the Bible and put it down in confusion?  “What does that mean?”  If you cannot understand, you will not be able to put it to use in your life.  

There are some things in the Bible that are easy to understand and some things that are hard to understand.  If you add to the mix the different ways that people interpret the Bible, how can we know what the Bible actually says, and how can we use it to live a better life?  

The Bible itself tells us that there are some things that are difficult to grasp.  In 2 Peter 3.16, we find a passage describing the writings of one of the Bible authors.  We are told that in his books “are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

There are also some things that are easy to understand.  Just like in anything, you start with the Bible basics, and slowly grow into the more advanced concepts. 

In Hebrews 5, the writer criticizes individuals who had learned the Bible basics, but never attempted to go beyond it.  In fact, they had even forgotten the things they learned at the beginning. 

He tells them in Hebrews 5:12, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”

To understand the Bible and learn how to live your life by the guidance of Scripture, there are some Bible Basics that can help.  

Bible Basics #1:  Who Wrote the Bible?

There are more than forty different contributing writers of the Bible.  These authors would include Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and many others.  

Yet these individuals were not writing their own thoughts and ideas.  They were writing the very words that God gave them to write.  The true author of the Bible is God.  

We are told in 2 Timothy 3.16 that “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God.”  

God wrote the Bible through the process of inspiration.  That’s the Bible’s way of saying that God gave the words to individuals to write, and they wrote it down.  The Bible is a collection of those God-inspired writings.  

This process is best described by Jesus Himself.  Listen to what Jesus promised in reference to the God-inspired Bible.

John 14:26:  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Later the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3.3-5 that “by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets”

Then consider what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:21:  “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

While the Bible was written by more than forty authors, it was actually written by God who sent the Holy Spirit to these individuals and told them what to write.  There is not forty authors but One.

Bible Basics #2:  What is the Bible About?

We are told in Hebrews 9:27 that “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

There is going to be a day when every individual who has ever lived will have their lives examined.  Everything they did, said, and even their very thoughts will be weighed against God’s law. 

If we have lived a life without violating God’s law, then we will be invited to live eternally in heaven.  If we have violated the laws of God, then we will be send away to eternal punishment.  What a frightening thought! 

Add to it the fact that everyone who has ever lived has violated God’s laws.  We learn from Romans 3.23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Bible Basics Tip:  It is true that all of humanity has broken God's laws and sinned.  However, there is one exception:  Jesus.  We learn from Hebrews 4.15 that Jesus "was tempted in all points, yet without sin."  

The Bible in essence tells us what God did to erase our mistakes, so that on the day of judgment, there will be nothing in our lives that will keep us from being invited into heaven.  

Throughout the Bible, you will find common themes of forgiveness, grace, redemption, righteousness and God’s love for humanity that compelled Him to go to unthinkable lengths to give us an opportunity to be saved from the future judgment.  

It is also a book that shows us the kind of life that God expects us to live today.  The laws of God are not arbitrary but were written with our best interest in mind.  By guiding our lives by the Bible, we become the best version of ourselves.  And humanity because the best it can be.  

  • It is a book that teaches us the difference between right and wrong as defined by God rather than the opinions of our culture.  (Heb. 5.14)
  • The Bible shows us how to treat those around us.  (Luke 6.27-38)
  • It shows us how to overcome hardship.  (1 Pet. 1.6,7)
  • It helps lift us up during times of depression and anxiety reminding us that God “will never leave you nor forsake you”  (Heb. 13.5).  
  • It helps us make better decisions when we don’t know what to do.
  • It shows us how to not only have the forgiveness of God from the mistakes of our past, but also how to show that same forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
  • It has examples of what not to do.  (1 Cor. 10)
  • It has examples of what we are to do.  (1 Cor. 11.1; 1 Pet. 2.21)

What is the Bible about?  It is about helping us be the best version of ourselves in this life, and how to be assured that we will live forever in the life that is to come.        

Bible Basics #3:  How is the Bible Comprised?

The Bible is divided into two major sections.  There is the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

The Old Testament begins with the creation of humanity and how humanity broke the laws of God plummeting humanity into spiritual hopelessness. 

As the Old Testament develops, we read about God implementing His plan to erase all the mistakes that humanity has made so that they can live with Him for all eternity.  

Spoiler alert:  That plan was sending Jesus whose blood is the cleansing agent to wash away all of our sins (i.e. violations of God’s law; 1 John 3.4).  

The Old Testament is comprised of thirty-nine books which document God developing His plan to bring the Messiah into the world through the nation of Israel.  These books include…

  • Books of history.  These books document the development of the nation of Israel, their interactions with other nations, and key characters that God used to fulfill His plan.
  • Books of Law.  These books contain the law given specifically to the nation of Israel to follow.  These laws include both civil law and religious law.
  • Books of Prophecy:  These books were part of the law which God revealed through certain chosen individuals known as prophets.  They also contain predictions of things that were to come.  Many of these predictions involved the coming of Jesus.
  • Books of Poetry:  These were books that contain various wisdom, psalms, and musing about life.

The New Testament is the realization of God’s plan to save humanity.  In the New Testament you read about Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection.  You then read about this offer of being cleansed extended to the whole world (Col. 1.6).

The New Testament is comprised on twenty-seven books. These books include…

  • The gospel:  The life and teachings of Jesus that prove that He was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.
  • A book of History:  The book of Acts documents the historical account of certain individuals taking the message of salvation to the world and establishing the church (a collection of those who have been saved).
  • Books of Instruction:  Books such as Roman, 1 Corinthians, and the like provide instructions to both individuals and to the church as a whole about how to live the kind of life God desires.
  • A Book of Prophecy:  The book of Revelation uses symbolic language to show us final day of Judgment.

Bible Basics #4:  How do you Read the Bible?

Why are there so many different churches all teaching different and contradictory things?  Why are there so many people who read the Bible and walk away with a completely opposite understanding of what they read?  

Remember what Peter wrote about the writings of Paul?  He write in 2 Peter. 3.16 that “in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

There are some things that are hard to understand, and people will read those things and twist and turn it into meaning something it does not mean.  

How can we read and understand the Bible to get the meaning that God intended?  Consider these suggestions.

1.  Read the verse in context.

Much of the misunderstanding of the Bible comes from taking verses about to context.  Ask yourself where you are in the Bible. 

  • Old Testament or New Testament?
  • Historical account or poetry?  

Take whatever Bible verse you are reading and look at the verses before it and the verses after it. 

If you have a Bible that is in paragraph form, go all the way back to the beginning of the paragraph.  Read all the way through to the end of the paragraph. 

By doing so, you get a sense of what the verse is actually saying.

2.  Look up the definition of words.

Many Bible verses are misunderstood because they have not properly defined the words in the verse. 

Get a good Bible dictionary such as Vine’s or Mounce and use it to look up the words to learn what they actually meant when they were written.

 3.  Pay attention to verb tenses.

Don’t think that something is talking about the future when the past tense is being used.  Understanding the tense of the verbs can help significantly to understand the passage.  

4.  Be aware of connecting terms

Words like “therefore, “for” and “but” at the beginning of a passage tells you that what you are reading is an idea that is continuing from the previous verses. 

To understand what you are about to read, you have to go back to learn what written before it.  

As with anything, if you put in the practice of reading the Bible with the intention of internalizing it and understanding it, it will become easier and easier as you go.  

This is God’s book.  This is God’s guide on how to live a happy, joyful, and peaceable life with the knowledge that one day you will enjoy a home in heaven.  It is worth spending time reading.

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