Even though we all know we should read our Bible, it can be intimidating to know where to start when we sit down for our quiet time. If you settle for just skimming the surface, you could miss out on transforming truths that can help you grow as a follower of Jesus!  Asking the right questions can help you have a more fruitful time in the Word – so here are five critical questions you should ask the next time you read your Bible. 

1. What is the genre of this Scripture? 

You wouldn’t read a legal textbook in the same way you’d read the autobiography of a famous person – and the Bible is no different! Genre is a way to categorize different books and writings in the Bible, and it influences how we approach the text, understand the intent, and know the purpose of what was written. Without knowing the genre, you could misapply what God is actually saying in the text. The Bible contains seven different genres:

  • Law
  • History
  • Wisdom
  • Poetry
  • Narrative
  • Epistles
  • Prophecy/apocalyptic literature

1. What is the genre of this Scripture? 

You wouldn’t read a legal textbook in the same way you’d read the autobiography of a famous person – and the Bible is no different! Genre is a way to categorize different books and writings in the Bible, and it influences how we approach the text, understand the intent, and know the purpose of what was written. Without knowing the genre, you could misapply what God is actually saying in the text. The Bible contains seven different genres:

  • Law
  • History
  • Wisdom
  • Poetry
  • Narrative
  • Epistles
  • Prophecy/apocalyptic literature

2. What’s the Context? 

When it comes to studying the Bible, it’s critical to understand who the original audience was and what they were experiencing when the text was written. A lack of context can lead you to twist God’s Word to say something it was never intended to say. Here are a few things to consider when observing the context of a passage:

  • Historical context – who is the author and original audience? 
  • Cultural context – what circumstances were happening when this book was written?
  • Literary context – where does this passage fit into the big-picture story of the Bible?

3. What does this passage say about God?

The Bible is full of revelations about who God is – after all, He is the main character! While it may be tempting to skip over this step and move straight to application, what we think about God influences how we interact with him. Watch out for how God works in three persons as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as what the Scriptures say about his attributes and divine qualities.

4. What does this passage tell us about man? 

Humans are created in the image of God, and the Bible has lots to say about our identity as image bearers – and the way sin causes us to fall short. Identify the sinful nature of man in the Bible passage you read, as well as how the text calls believers to act once they’ve been redeemed by Jesus.

5. What does God want me to do? 

God’s Word has the power to change your heart and mind. Some passages contain direct commands from God on how we are to live or interact with others. Others are more subtle, and require reflection, prayer, and guidance from God’s Spirit before we take action

God’s Word is powerful and active. Don’t let the pressure of perfection get in the way of you spending time with Him! All He wants from you is a heart that’s willing to listen – so why not start today?

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