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Building Blocks for Understanding a Bible Verse
Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to get so much out of a single verse of Scripture? How does that happen? Are these people just “super spiritual”? Or is there something else involved?
One of the keys to a deeper understanding of what the Bible says comes from the spiritual discipline of meditating on the Scriptures. If that conjures up images of monk-like mystics staring off into space—think again. For the Christian trying to grasp the truth of the Bible it’s more like “chewing” on a passage over and over—or thinking about that passage from different angles and perspectives. Here are a few building blocks that can help you meditate more effectively on the Word of God.
Ask questions. What is the context of this verse? What was being described in the verses surrounding this one? Are there words that need to be defined? Do the words have the same meaning now as they did when they were written? (For instance, the word “charity” is often translated as “love” in some translations.)
Emphasize each word in the verse. Read the verse out loud and place emphasis on a different word each time. The results can be surprising!
In your own words. Restate the verse, putting it in your own words. It will help you to think about what the verse really means—and what it means for you.
Other verses. Can you find other verses that speak about the same topic? How do they complement or supplement what the original verse says?
Use it. There’s a great quote that’s been attributed to D.L. Moody that says, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.” Think about how you can apply this verse to your own life. You may even want to memorize the verse and ask God to show you how to live it out.