4. Make use of Tools - Proverbs 2:2
Proverbs 2:2 - So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding (KJV)
Do you understand what you are reading in the Bible? No? Why not? We live in an unprecedented age of access to God's word. That may not always be the case but for now there are many tools available to help you learn and grow in God's word.
When I went to Bible College I was required to purchase a Bible dictionary, commentaries, lexicons, interlinears, maps, etc… Over the course of my years I probably spent thousands of dollars. Some of the books I now have where given to me by friends, family, and ministers who retired or passed on. I treasure the tools I have that help me understand the word better.
A Bible dictionary is a tool you can use to look up words or verses that you are struggling to understand. It gives a brief explanation, illustrations, and sometimes other references to help you find a quick answer.
A Bible handbook is another quick reference tool in which you can look up by verse to get a simple explanation of what the verse is saying. There are many available and relatively inexpensive.
Biblical maps can help you understand where the events are taking place. That can give you some insight and history to a place. For example, I have been studying John the baptist and I was curious about "the wilderness of Judea". It is interest to see that this area is the same area Caleb requested as an inheritance from Joshua.
If you want a deeper understanding you can always pull out a the commentaries. Depending on the commentary, you will get a historical and theological understanding of how others looked at and interpreted a passage. You will also get a lot of references to other sources and other verses in the Bible.
If you like to do word studies there are concordances, lexicons, interlinears, and more. I often use these to get a clearer meaning of a word. Like in Luke 2:7 where I did a word search on manger and inn to bring deeper meaning to Jesus' birth.
You might protest that you don't have money to purchase these things. Who really does? But we live in an electronic age. Many of the tools I spent money for are now available on line and are much easier to use in computer format. The great thing is that most of these tools are available online for free (www.biblehub.com is one of my favorite online tools).
I hope that you will learn to use some of these valuable tool. It will bring a deeper understanding and appreciation for what you are reading as you search and explore the Word of God. May God bless you today with a deep understand and wisdom from his holy word, the Bible.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, I thank you for your word and the wisdom in provides in how to live and serve you. Help me to read and understand it. Help me use the tools you have provided me for exploring your word, discovering your truth, and applying it to my life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!