Different types of reading material need to be treated differently. Phone books are read one line at a time, and most of it is ignored. Non-fiction books, especially if you are using them to acquire a new skill are read with more attention to details, and may even require a notebook and a pen by your side. Fiction is read casually, and any passages that are relevant to your life are placed there in a way that we don’t always know that we are learning. The Bible has certain reading rules too.
One rule that I can’t stress enough is that the Bible wasn’t designed to read one verse at a time. Verse numbers were added much later. At very least when you read it at home you should read one chapter at a time. Context is very important to every Bible passage. For example, I recently had someone tell me that Jesus tossed the tables at the temple, and claimed that only rotten people would do that. If he had just read one more line he would have realized that the merchants were thieves!
Matthew 21:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Verse 13 turns what looks bad to many, into a very understandable reaction. If this happened today the police would have taken everything, and thrown the shady merchants in jail! Jesus wasn’t being mean, he was being kind by preventing these merchants from cheating anyone else that day.
The Bible is filled with verses that if read in isolation mean something totally different if read in context. That is how cults get away with abuses. They keep you verse hopping so fast that you never get to see that the surrounding verses are very relevant! Knowledge of the entire Bible, or at very least the entire New Testament will prevent verse jumpers from deceiving you into believing something that Jesus never intended that you believe, and could prevent a lot of bickering that happens between churches.
One book that can help with your understanding of the Bible is
Halley’s Bible Handbook
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