Before I say another word, let me remind you that I am not a Bible scholar. I am a teen girl who occasionally (a lot less than I’d like) reads her Bible and about 50% off the time understands what she reads. Now that you know my extreme lack of qualifications, let’s dive in.
Despite my lack of knowledge, I love truly studying a verse in the Bible to understand what it means. Studying a single verse can help you gain a really deep appreciation for what it says! It also helps you go deeper during your personal devo time (as well as allowing you to understand verses that confuse you!). Today, I’ll be sharing some really simple but great ways to decode difficult verses and do a bit of deeper study on a passage!
1. Look Up Words
Yep, that word that you pretend you understand but can’t actually define..look it up and figure out what it means! This can really help you understand what a passage is saying. You can also try ‘rewriting’ the verse with the word’s definition in place of the word.
2. Use A Commentary
While it might not help you understand the intricacies of a particular phrase, a Bible commentary is a great resource that can offer additional context about a passage (eg, explain Biblical customs, the significance of an event, etc). You can use a paper commentary or find one online!
3. Try Different Translations
Still don’t understand a verse? Try reading it in different translations. Sometimes passages that I don’t understand in NIV make sense to me in KJV, or the NLT version adds meaning to another translation. It’s fine to have favorite translations (don’t we all?) but it’s also great to read several for a well-rounded interpretation of a verse.
4. Diagram It
Sorry for sounding like your 6th grade English teacher! But that is, essentially, what I mean. Write out the verse you are studying and diagram it. Circle verbs, highlight God’s name, and essentially look at the grammar, words and structure. The sentence itself, not the words, is often the most confusing part of a verse. Studying the grammar, playing with it and even restructuring the sentence might help!
Pray for God’s insight into a passage. The author always knows their own work better than anyone, especially when the author is God!
Have fun studying Bible verses. I hope these tips make scripture come alive in new ways for you!