Vol.II No.VIII Pg.4
September 1965

Use Your Bible

Robert F. Turner

Is the Bible "hard to read"? Many people seem to think so. They open the book (actually, a library) and try a verse or two, wherever the eye chances to fall. Yes, it is very difficult. Makes no sense at all.

The normal difficulties of grasping the setting (2000 yrs. ago) and context, are complicated by 17th. century language styles in the K.J. version. Yet thousands of people do read and understand the Bible. (Their differences are from failure to accept the authority and sufficiency of the Bible, rather than from failure to understand.) Normal difficulties of interpretation are overcome by those who really want to know the message.

Previous articles on "How to Study" have emphasized the make-up of the Bible, and importance of "context." (Apr. and June issues) _If you really want to understand the Bible. but the "read a suggest:

(1) Increase your reading habits -- with Reader's Digest, or other wholesome secular material. In these T.V. days some have grown lazy. Their reading speed slows, and they cease to improve their vocabulary. All reading becomes "hard" under these conditions.

(2) Do your reading when you are most alert. For some this is early in the morning -- for others, later in the day when they are wide-awake. The Bible should not be used as a sedative -- to "put yourself to sleep."

(3) Use a Bible with large print-easily readable. The text is the important part of the Bible not the "helps" "maps" or binding. A large print, hard-back N.T. can be had for less than $1. from American Bible Society. Better to "wear out" three or four copies, than to buy a fancy little eye-burner that is more for show than for use. The money some pay for a clumsy "table book" (seldom used) would put a readable testament in every room of the house, and buy other reference books for family library. (4) The New Amer. Standard N.T. is an excellent version for reference or "up-dating" of the language. Charles B. Williams's translation of N.T. is also very helpful for those who find the King James language "strange." We believe many "reading difficulties" would vanish if one would make comparative readings in such books -- verse or chapter at the time. In fact, the study might become so interesting one would forget the Bible was "hard."

(5) Use "common sense" in selecting the order in which books of the N.T. are read. They are not arranged by chronology or ease of understanding; so we suggest: Mark, Matthew, John, and Luke -- in this order. Mark is short and full of action. Luke should be read just before Acts, for continuity of material by same writer. Do not jump into Revelation, Romans, Hebrews, etc., until a general background of knowledge has been gained.

(6) Try making notes on a scratchpad, kept handily beside your N.T. It is not a mortal sin to underline, and jot references in border of testament; for the truth you seek is the sacred thing-- not the paper and ink. Understanding follows study -- lots of it!