Reading your Bible is the key to unlocking it's mysteries. If you haven't read the Bible for yourself, you will not be able to recognize false doctrines. The Bible is a gift from God. It is there to help us learn about Him and what he wants for our lives. Each child of God is capable of understanding God's Holy Word if he is truly seeking to do so. No organization or person is needed to tell you what it means.
Read it in context. There is nothing more dangerous than taking a verse or passage of scripture out of context. As with any writing, you can not always determine the meaning of the text from a few simple statements within that text. Pay attention to what the topic of the particular passage is about, note who the author is and in what context it was written in. When you come to a vague or confusing passage, don't stop there and try to determine it's meaning right away. Make note of it and continue reading on. Later, possibly in another book altogether the meaning of that passage will be revealed. No verse can contradict another, we must remember that.
Know who you are reading about. The Bible is not merely a story, nor is it simply historical. The Bible is a book that was written by several people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit so that we could learn about the God who created us. Everything that we as a people need to know about our spiritual needs is written in this book. It has all the knowledge that mankind needs to find out about his own condition, God's love, salvation, redemption, and Christian living. Simply stated, the Bible is God's love letter to us.
Let the Spirit teach you. Jesus promised us that the Spirit would guide us into all truth. As you read the word, be in prayer and ask the Spirit to teach you what it means. He is the only teacher that can reveal the truth of a passage to you. Never forget, it was the Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of this great Book, and He would never give you an interpretation that violates or ignores the words within it.
Be sure to know the author. The Bible tells us that spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned. The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who don't know Christ. Trying to understand the Bible apart from knowing and believing in Christ is futile. If you would like to know more about the author of the Bible and how to get to know Him, visit our salvation page.
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)