One of the biggest mistakes we have made with the Bible is leaving the impression that only scholars can correctly interpret it. Everything is made so layered, nuanced, and complex that many folks instantly feel they lack the “training” and “horsepower” to make it through all the mazes.
So, they either stop trying or they become passive and wait for the “experts” to tell them what’s “right.” But the fact is, the Bible is intended to be understandable! The original languages do contain levels of insight, but their essential meanings are accessible to us all.
Here is a way to make it so in your personal reading and in your conversations with others. Take a passage, read it, and ask: (1) What is the big idea? (2) Why is it important? (3) Where does it presently connect with my life–or–why is it not a part of me? (4) Should it be part of me? If so, how can I continue (or begin) to put it into practice?
Most Bible passages will “bear fruit” when these questions are applied to them, either in private or in a group. And when you add to your own inductive study the additional resources of concordances, dictionaries, maps, and commentaries, you will find the messages of scripture influencing your life day after day.