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Step 1: Read the verse/chapter.
Step 2: Google key names, terms, measurements, geographical and social histories, etc.
Step 3: Read verse/chapter again with more understanding.
Step 4: Repeat.
The above instructions are how I’ve come to be able to get any bible reading done at all. Let’s face it, we’re all busy people and interest can be very hard to maintain. We have bills, work, school, church activities, obligations to our various relationships, trial and crosses in our way, and the list goes on. For some reason, there seems to be a huge expectation that if one is to effectively read the bible at all, it must be done every day, consistently, no matter what. Is this a bad thing? No.
But – is the reader learning anything?
Interpretations and translations matter. The King James Version may not be as clear to you as the Common English Version, or it’s possible you prefer the New International Version. Whatever you choose, you still have to cross check. Names of people and places will differ; verse arrangement and structure will appear in various ways across the number of versions in existence.
Wikipedia has a way of compiling information from various angles and sources on topics of antiquity, so you will most likely have two or more accounts regarding the story/person/event you’re researching. Other sources also exist. The aim here is that you would be actively looking into what you’re reading, and not simply take the verse or chapter at surface level after one read.
If you’ve managed to even click on this link AND read this far, then I consider you to be someone who seeks to be well-rounded in knowledge and the application of it. Therefore, you will likewise understand the importance of concepts such as your convictions, and what your reasoning ability leads you to believe. We can quote scripture all we like, but if we don’t understand what it meant or possibly could mean, then what’s the point? It’s got to make logical sense.
…before you do make up your mind about the truth or lack thereof, bear in mind that this Book does describe a God whose ways are not that of human beings. To believe in the scriptures is to take word for word all that was said, and at least be able to understand and have respect for the cultures and traditions passed down (the wholesome ones, that is). The children of Israel went through many, many stages of development and are as flawed as people come; the writers (authentic and assumed) all wrote from the angles that suited and inspired them best, and with these perceptions we are then left to make our own judgement. People have misused the chapters and lessons therein for selfish and destructive reasons, and the power of the Church can hardly be ignored.
Even if history records other gods who were able to die for the sins of people, it is the love that I get from this particular story of salvation that has convicted me. I hardly see this love recorded anywhere else, in any other place, by any other god or man. If you know anywhere else I can find that kind of love, where someone wants to die for me, please let me know.
Blessings in abundance!