There is a whole field of study called Hermeneutics that deals with the study and interpretation of Scripture. However, studying your Bible doesn’t need to be complicated. I believe God has provided us His word in such a way that any generation from any culture should be able to have it, read it, and understand its meaning (to some degree).
In this study, I want to give a basic overview of how we can study the Bible and get the most out of it.
1. Commit to a systematic Bible reading plan
Simply put, God’s people should be taking in God’s word, and the best way to take it in is simply to read it! (Acts 17:11,
1 Timothy 5:13-16). We don’t have to understand bread in order to eat it, or water in order to drink it. We just know we are thirsty!
I recommend a reading plan where the focus is on regularly reading the Bible through without stopping to study what you are reading (any further study should be additional). As with anything, it is best to have a systematic plan and to stick with it. Remember; commitment leads to discipline, which leads to habit, which leads to growth (Psalm 37:4-6).
2. Compare cross references and parallel passages
There is a saying I learned long ago that goes, “Scripture interprets Scripture.” How true I have found this to be. It is no wonder that God has given us so much of the Bible in redundancy (two tellings of the Creation story, two tellings of the Law, Kings and Chronicles, prophets, four gospels, to tellings of the judgments in Revelation...).
By simply comparing these, we often find the explanation in the text. Often, words will be defined by other words in the text (synonyms). This is a good way to do word studies. There are plenty of resources out there that will simply show you every time certain words are used in the KJV. Copy and past all of those verses and then begin comparing them to each other. You will most likely figure out what the word means without even turning to Greek and Hebrew lexicons or Bible dictionaries.
3. Consider the Context
This is where we have to do some detective work. Research history and archeology to find out the manners and cultures of the days surrounding the text you are studying (taking with a grain of salt, of course, as no one living today was there).
It is very important to admit to the “unknown.” It is okay if you spend your whole life considering God's words and have still not got the answers you are looking for (Isaiah 55:8-11). This is part of having faith! God will reveal things to us, through the Holy Spirit, in time (1 Corinthians 14:8-12).