Easy Rules for Reading and Understanding the Bible

1. Read what it says.

Language is a system with inherent order and meaning. The purpose of language is communication. Communication happens only when meaning is clear between participants.
In order to achieve meaning in the message, the meaning of its individual elements, and the prescribed order, must be observed. (In other words, we can’t redefine the terms!)
Individual words, as well as ideas, have inherent meaning. When words or ideas are unrecognizable because of a failure to apply proper meaning, communication does not happen; language fails in its purpose.
This principle applies to all languages. The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, in adherence to the inherent structure and meaning of each language.

Remember: effective output requires adherence to structure and meaning. Accurate reception requires application of structure and meaning.

Translation occurs by applying the conventions applicable to each exit language, as well as those of the entrance language, with due consideration to idioms in the original.

The nature of translation science eliminates the need for knowledge of the original languages to achieve confident understanding from a reliable translation. Some details may alter due to difficulties related to figures of speech or obsolete terms, but these can be anticipated to be negligible. In other words, the most important part of the message is available to the capable reader of a reliable translation of a foreign work. (You don’t have to know the original languages in order to know and understand the Bible.)

The Bible is the word of God to man. He directed its content, and we do not need to consider the individual personalities or writing styles of the authors as much as to remember that they were telling us what God wants us to hear. He will have ensured that no individuality of the penman would cloud, alter, or eradicate His intended message.>

Each part of the Bible was written to specific people for specific reasons. The author, original audience and historical context are relevant to the intended meaning of that time. There may be further meaning than what the author or audience recognized, and there may be applicable issues or principles to others besides the original audience. It is important to understand both the historical relevance of what was written, as well as the current relevance.

So, read what it says. Let the Bible speak for itself. We must remember that it is God Who directed the work. God created language; He knows how to tell us what He wants us to know in a manner that ensures that we “get it”.

There are certain principles which will support understanding of Scripture:

–    experiential substantiation – ie: history, geology, natural laws, etc. support the plain meaning of Genesis 1 – 11 completely.

–    intra-textual interpretation (Rev, Dan, Jesus’ parables)

–    implied interpretation within text (Rev 5:6)

–    previously interpreted, related text(s)

Principles of English Grammar

Parts of Speech: (types of words)

Nouns: – names of persons, places, things

Pronouns – words that take the place of nouns (it, he, my, her, them, etc.)

Verbs – “action” or “being” words

Adjectives – words that describe nouns or pronouns

Adverbs – words that describe action

Prepositions – words that denote location or movement in time or space

Conjunctions – words that join two thoughts together>

Interjections – words that provide emphasis without content (“OH!”, “ummm” Well!)

Parts of a Sentence: (purpose of words)

Subject – nouns, pronouns – what the sentence is about

Predicate – the word or words expressing the information about the subject

Object – nouns, pronouns – whatever receives the action of the verb

Eg: She threw the ball.       She = subject     threw the ball = predicate    ball = object, answers “what did she throw?”

Phrase – a group of words that can’t stand alone

Clause – a group of words containing a subject and a predicate

        independent clause – can stand alone as a sentence

        dependent clause – can’t stand alone as a sentence  (ie: why she wants a doll…)

modifiers – adjectives, adverbs, and adjectival/adverbial phrases – they describe, qualify, limit, or specify certain parts of the sentence.

Common Errors:

Misplaced modifiers

Misplaced or misapplied pronouns

Subject/verb agreement

Misreading of prepositional phrases

Verb tense errors

Failure to follow punctuation, especially in long sentences


Types of Writing


Parable – an illustrative story with a specific meaning



Allegory : (ie Mahar Shallal Hashbaz Is 8:1-10; LoAmmi / Ruhamah Hosea 1:6-9)

Symbolism/visual imagery  – ie: woman and red dragon

Statement of fact

Parallel meaning