Knowing the Scriptures

How to Read and Understand the Bible


“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly,
and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

Nehemiah 8:8


Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.”

Matthew 22:29


Table of Contents



The Means of Understanding

What Is Reading? 

What Is Understanding?

What Is Interpretation?

Understanding the Bible – Examples

The Need for Understanding

Personal Qualifications for Understanding

Rule #1 – No Contradictions in the Bible

Rule #2 – Context Must Be Followed

Rule #3 – Compare Scripture with Scripture

Rule #4 – Rightly Divide Scripture

Rule #5 – Obey the Rules of Grammar

Rule #6 – Reason By Rules of Logic

Rule #7 – Distinguish Absolute and Relative Texts

Rule #8 – Learn Basic Figures of Speech

Rule #9 – The Argument from Silence Is Invalid

Rule #10 – Prophecy Uses Similitudes

Rule #11 – Use Parables and Proverbs Cautiously

Rule #12 – Observe the Emphasis of Scripture

Other Minor Rules

Obstacles to Understanding

Bible Study Tools



“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

Romans 11:33-36



“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

I Kings 3:7-9



“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

John 20:31



“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Isaiah 66:1-2



“Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”

Psalm 119:98-100



Secondary Dedication

These pages are dedicated to all young men who are and want to be strong, who have and want the Word of God abiding in them, and who have and want to overcome the wicked one, and who greatly desire to have the confidence and wisdom of Elihu in giving the sense of Holy Scripture.



Read I John 2:14.

  1. It is possible for young men to be strong, and to be recognized as such by an apostle (I Jo 2:13-14).
  2. It is possible for young men to have Scripture abiding in them with conquering strength (I Jo 2:14).
  3. It is possible for young men to overcome the wicked one, even the old devil himself (I Jo 2:14).


Read Job 32:1-22.

  1. Elihu the son of Barachel is a role model for all young men seeking to be spiritual conquerors.
  2. He had something to say when four of the wisest men on earth had spent themselves (Job 32:1).
  3. He had holy anger at Job for his self-righteousness and justification of himself over God (Job 32:2).
  4. He had holy anger at Job’s three friends for their ignorance of truth and false charges (Job 32:3).
  5. He showed holy decorum by patiently waiting while the older men traded foolishness (Job 32:4).
  6. He had holy anger at their ignorance, especially their inability to defend and justify God (Job 32:5).
  7. He explained he had waited and not jumped on their ignorance earlier due to their age (Job 32:6).
  8. He was not truly afraid of them, but he believed older men should be wiser than he (Job 32:6-7).
  9. He had confidence that God was able to give inspiration and wisdom above mere age (Job 32:8).
  10. He learned that the general rule of wisdom growing with age has many exceptions to it (Job 32:9).
  11. He told them to listen to him and he would give them his opinion from God on things (Job 32:10).
  12. He had waited respectfully for their answers, but none of them rightly honored God (Job 32:11-13).
  13. He said that he had listened well and waited to see if maybe they did have answers (Job 32:11-12).
  14. He denied their erroneous conclusion that God was independently judging Job for sin (Job 32:13).
  15. He knew he was an outsider to both sides of their exchange, but he had the answers (Job 32:14).
  16. These four wise men had nothing to say at the confidence of their young friend (Job 32:15-16).
  17. He told them that it was now his turn to give his part and his opinion on the situation (Job 32:17).
  18. He admitted that listening to their folly had filled him with great urgency to speak (Job 32:18-20).
  19. He told of his internal spiritual man forcing and compelling him to answer with truth (Job 32:18).
  20. He stated his courage that truth should be presented without regard of the hearers (Job 32:21-22).
  21. He stated his strong conviction that flattering titles were sinful and God hated them (Job 32:21-22).