You Don't Need a Degree to Read (and Understand) the Bible
By Matthew S. Harmon
”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Anyone Can Study the Bible
Sometimes I think we make studying the Bible more complicated than it has to be.
There's a place for in-depth study and using all these remarkable resources that are available to us. But, at the end of the day, the goal is to encounter the living God.
And so as we learn to ask some basic questions of any passage, you don't need to be a biblical scholar, you don't need to have had advanced coursework, you don't even need to have been a Christian for very long. All you need is to be able to ask questions: What do we learn about God? What do we learn about people? How should I relate to God? How should I relate to others?
As we ask some of those very basic, simple questions, I believe the text starts to open up. Sometimes it actually raises even more questions. But oftentimes it quickly reveals things about God and about ourselves.
We realize that we can really benefit from reading, and it doesn't take complicated methods or techniques. It simply requires asking the right kinds of questions to point us in the right direction to relate to God and to be transformed by who God is and what he's doing in the pages of Scripture—realizing that he wants to do similar, transformative things in our own lives.
Matthew S. Harmon (PhD, Wheaton College) is professor of New Testament studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He was previously on staff with Cru for eight years and is the author of several books. Matthew and his wife, Kate, live in Warsaw, Indiana, and have two sons.
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