Ever been involved in a "Bible Study" like this? You gather together, open to a passage of Scripture and say, "What do you think?" Honestly, that's a terrible way to study the Bible. If you've ever been in a study like this with someone who knows the Bible very little but has a lot of opinions you know why it's terrible. Who determines what the text actually means? When everyone just says what it means to them, it's really hard to correct an off-the-wall or even slightly wrong interpretation.
The best place to start is by asking these questions:
- What did the author mean when he wrote this text?
- How would the original audience understand the text?
- Why did God include this in the Scriptures for us?
So this all leads to a final question: How do you find out what the original setting was? And for that we need resources. See the next entry, "Bible Study Resources."