Five Proven Ways to Understand Scripture

                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Matt Botsford on UnSplash

Lately, you may be finding yourself with a lot of time on your hands, especially with recommended social distancing and quarantine from the COVID-19 Virus.  One way to maneuver and survive during these days of uncertainty is to take the time to study God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  Here are five proven ways that I use personally to help me understand and unlock the Scriptures. 


Begin by reading the Bible systematically.  In other words, start by reading everyday, a select portion of scripture, either book by book, or use a concordance to find a topic and begin there.   The Gospel of Mark is a great place to start.  It has 16 chapters and gives a good overview of the life of Jesus.  There are many Bible Reading plans available to use, to help you keep track on where you are in your journey.  Great Bible Apps, such as YouVersion Bible (  and Bible Gateway ( are available as well, and they suggest certain Bible reading plans in their menu. Also, select a translation that will help you understand what you are reading as you begin, such as the New International Version, or the New Living Translation or maybe the English Standard Version. 


Take time to pray before you read a passage of Scripture.  Prayer is asking God to help you understand what you are reading.  He is the author, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who put the scriptures together (see 1 Peter 1:21).  So why not ask Him for His insight, guidance, direction and understanding.  A simple prayer I pray is, “Lord as I read your Word, help me understand it, show me what I need to know and how to apply it to my life, open up my heart, my mind, my ears to hear you speak, In Jesus Name, Amen.”   God will honor His Word and will speak to you as you take the time to seek Him. (See Jeremiah 29:13). 


As you read, notice any verses and/or words that “jump off” the page!  In other words, you may have read a passage before and missed something, but now as you read it - the words become fresh and alive and they speak to your heart!  Take note of them and write them down.  You can apply the “who, what, where, when, why and how” questions to them.  Who were these verses written to?  Why were they written and when?  Where was this taken place?  Then ask, what do these verses mean for me today?  How does this apply to my life?  For example:  If I was reading the 23rd Psalm and read verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” (KJV). What is this verse saying - it is talking about the Lord as one’s shepherd.  Why does the writer say “I shall not want - or I lack nothing…? Because the Shepherd provides for their flock, the sheep do not have to worry because the shepherd will take care of them.   Who wrote this? David, who was a shepherd.  Why? He compares shepherding with the Lord God as the shepherd over His people.  How does this apply today?  As we trust in the Good Shepherd, Jesus (see John 10), He will provide for us, his sheep (followers). 


Use other translations and Bible commentaries to gain understanding and insight.  Compare scripture with other passages of scripture.  How does the King James Version state this passage?  How does that compare with the New International Version?  the New Living Translation?  J.B. Phillips translation?  The Message?, the New American Standard Version? etc.? You can find these different versions on-line at  Just follow the menu and select the translation that you want to read.  Notice key words that are the same and different.   Another good tool is using a Bible commentary, such as “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” or Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, these are excellent and you can get these resources at 


Journal your thoughts regarding what you have just read.  As those verses “jump out” at you, write them down and then meditate, think about them, and write what you discover.   Make what you are discovering into a prayer that you could pray.  For example, “Thank you Lord that you are my Shepherd, that I can count on you for all my needs…” (Psalm 23:1)  In this way you are applying what you’ve read.  Scripture becomes personal and practical as you think about it throughout your day.  I always enjoy going back and reviewing my prayers - it amazes me what God has said to me through His Word. 


Give it a try and let me know what you think and discover!  Do you have any sure ways of studying and understanding God’s Word?  I always enjoy how others are learning from God’s Word.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. 

Growing together, 


2 Timothy 1:7