God's Word is an instruction manual for living, one that we must all learn to read and follow. The problem is that a lot of people—myself included—like to skip the instructions and just start pushing buttons until something happens. But for the Bible to have maximum impact on your life, you must understand how to read it properly.
In order to understand God's instruction manual rightly, we must read it prayerfully, carefully, and with ever-increasing understanding.
There are several common pitfalls in Bible reading that you must avoid. The first is proof-texting, which is taking the text out of its context. Another is reading a passage of Scripture literally when you should understand it figuratively, and vice versa. For example, when Jesus tells us, " If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away," He is using Hebraic hyperbole to make a point (Matthew 5:29). He is telling us that we must not allow anything to get in the way of our relationship with God.
Other pitfalls include ignoring the historical and cultural context of the Biblical passage, trying to understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit, and failing to practically apply the Scriptures to your life. There is no end to the damage we can do to ourselves and others if we are unaware of these pitfalls and fail to guard against them. In order to understand God's instruction manual rightly, we must read it prayerfully, carefully, and with ever-increasing understanding. Only then can we know the Truth that sets us free.
Prayer: God, help me to read Your Word with diligence and integrity. May I see more of who You are as I study, and may I be uplifted by Your wonder and beauty. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you" (Psalm 32:8).