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Young Life Leader Version - How to Read the Bible

by Nik and Garrett | 6-10-2024
Whats the point? To grow with God in His living word. To show the size beauty of the Bible.
⭐Reading God’s word correctly and sincerely are the 2 ways to truly grow with our creator.


Reliability of Scripture
Kinds of language/sections in the Bible
Why Context Matters
Overview of the Bible
Bible translations
How to read the Bible
Breakout Group


[Allude to importance of this topic]
Say something about about how each individual is on their own sperate path on their journey with Christ, and that some of you may see this as basic, but its always good to have a reminder
Tell them where we are gonna go, the outline of the talk, how to look and interrupt it.
get people engage by asking questions
Say something about what it means when people say its the

Reliability of Scripture (5 Mins) - Garrett

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:16-21

Bible Translations (5 Mins)

Easier to read translations - just because they are easier to read, doesn't make them any less valuable to read.
New King James (NKJV)
The New International Version (NIV)
The English Standard Version (ESV) - The translation that this church uses.
The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Harder to Read
King James Version (KJV) - the most common, the one you would find in the a drawer in a hotel.

Why are there different translations of the Bible?

Languages change over time, and they have to translate it for all people to be able to read and understand. The Bible is the most translated book in the history of the world and has been translated into thousands of different languages and dialects making it one of the most accessible books in the world.

How can I trust the Bible if its been translated so many times?

The New Testament portion of the Bible has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work of literature.
5800 Greek Manuscripts
10,000 Latin Manuscripts
9300 Other Languages
...and that's not even mentioning the Old Testament Manuscripts. There is a reason why scholars and religious believers trust the Bible’s textual integrity.

Kinds of language/sections in the Bible (5 Mins)

Poetry (Psalms)
History (Acts)
Prophecy (Isaiah)
Wisdom Literature (Proverbs)
Eye Witness Accounts of Jesus (John)
Apocalyptic Descriptions of Past, Present & Future (Revelation)
Ask Question: “Does anyone know a book of the Bible that contains poetic language?”
Its important to note that the Bible contains both figurative and literal language.
Figurative language involves the use of words or phrases in a non-literal way to create a particular effect or imagery.
Literal language is straightforward and represents words or phrases exactly as they are typically understood.
Often at times it can be hard to tell which is which. If you ever have questions about understanding text come ask any of us Young Life leaders.
Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn't literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison

Why Context Matters (5 Mins)

“I can do all things with a verse taken out of context” — helps ties in the purpose of the overview

Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Out of Context: Often used to suggest that Christians can achieve any personal goal, such as winning a game or achieving a personal dream.
In Context: Paul is talking about enduring all circumstances, including hardship and suffering, with the strength that comes from Christ.

1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils."
Out of Context: Misquoted as "Money is the root of all evil," suggesting that money itself is evil.
In Context: Paul is warning against the love of money and greed, which can lead to various sins and destructive behaviors.

Proverbs 21:9: "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife."
Out of Context: This could humorously suggest that living on the roof is a viable solution to domestic disputes.
In Context: This proverb highlights the challenges of living with someone who is argumentative and the peace that comes with avoiding constant conflict.

Proverbs 17:22: "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." - This verse extols the benefits of joy and laughter, but out of context, it might sound like a medical diagnosis about bone health.

⭐ It’s important to understand before you start reading what the context, setting, audience, etc. is so that you can correctly interpret the meaning behind the passage.
In other cases, sometimes you may need to read and understand the contents of the Bible as a whole to fully grasp the meanings.
Example: Revelations contains tons of imagery and metaphors that really only make sense when you make connections to other parts of the Bible.
Segue: So in order to help you guys understand what you are reading the in Bible, I think it would be a great exercise just to go through how the Bible is structured.

Overview of the Bible (10 Mins)

The Bible isn't just a book, but its a collection of books, 66 in total. The Bible is divided up into 2 main sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Old Testament contains 39 books (Everything that happened before Jesus came to earth)
Torah or Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) The section names given for the first 5 books of the Bible. These talk about the origins of mankind, God’s people, and Gods law.
History of Israel (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings, 1,2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester) These talk about the history of Israel as a nation. These are narrative or stories with a setting, characters and plot.
Poetry and Wisdom (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
Major Prophets (Isiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel) These talk about people who God chose to be His messengers.
Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi) These address specific historical, social and religious contexts, with messages that very in content and style. They are not referred to as minor in the sense that they are less significant than the major prophets, but rather because they are shorter in length.
Between Testaments there were 400 years of silence where God didn't talk to his people through any prophets or any special revelations
New Testament contains 27 books (Everything that happened during and after Jesus came to earth)
Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) These are eye witness accounts of Jesus and his teachings. They all have a lot of similarities as they are all what you could say as a different perspective of the same story. These contain metaphors and poetic language about wisdom, life, suffering and love.
History/Acts (Acts) Its about the history of how the church began and grew.
Paul's Letters aka the Epistles of Paul (Romans-Philemon) These letters Paul wrote to the churches to encourage them. Specifically, written to address various theological, ethical, and practical issues faced by the early church.
General Epistles (Hebrews-Jude) The letters generally believed to be written by other authors that isn't Paul. Addresses additional guidance and encouragement to the early church.
Revelation (Revelation) Its in its own category. It is the final prophecy given to us by God. It speaks on what will happen at the end of the world and describes Jesus’s second coming.
Talk about size difference between NT & OT
Epistle: a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle.

How do I read the Bible? (10 Mins)

On your own -garrett
Find a quiet place and try to clear your mind - It is often helpful to find a place that is clear of distractions so that you might full place your focus on the word.
Start off with a prayer to God - Pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes and your heart so that you might hear and understand His word.
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5
Community - nik
While its important to take time to study the Bible on your own, the Bible also calls us to have fellowship with others. This is a great time to share ideas you've picked up on your own and ask for others opinions on them. It’s important to emphasize that we may not always interpret scriptures the same way as the person sitting next to you. There is nothing wrong with the Bible, but there is an issue with the way people interpret the Bible, when you read its important to understand the context of the scriptures. I cant tell you the amount of times ill get some kind of concept in my head about how something is, and then run it by a friend and them point out other scriptures and help me further understand the context of whats being talked about. That's why its always a good practice to be involved in a Christian community that can help shepherd and guide you along during your Christian journey.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Where should I start?

Where do I start? The OT, the NT? What book? What chapter? What verse? What order do I read them in? And what happens if you dont understand a verse? Its common to be overwhelmed when trying to find where to start. A good bible commentary or study bible. Why? Because your gonna have questions.
When you read the bible you need to think of the big picture. God is a constant, and he doesn't change. When you read, always look for Jesus in the scriptures.
The Bible speaks truth about the word. It was true at the beginning of time and it will be true and the end of time.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
1️⃣ Set a goal
Why you should start in the New Testament. Because having the understanding of context of the New Testament will help you understand the Old Testament. If you start with the Old Testament there will be a lot of stuff you just wont understand.
For a new believer, I recommend the gospel of John. (Psalms and Proverbs are also good)
For an experienced believer, I recommend Romans.
If you are interested in why I recommended those books, come ask me after Young Life.
2️⃣ Get a Bible commentary - to help you read deeply, not just quickly
3️⃣ Read with others
4️⃣ Active reading (Marking up the text/taking notes) - It will help scripture pop out.
Humility: a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.
Reverence: deep respect for someone or something.
Diligence: careful and persistent work or effort.

Individual/Group Time (15 mins)

Exercise 1: Read the following passages on how we should approach the Bible/God and mark up anything that stands out to you (with either a pencil, pen, or highlighter).
With Humility:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you," 1 Peter 5:6
"if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
With Reverence:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105
"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28-29
"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few." Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
With Diligence:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8
With the Holy Spirits Guidance:
"Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:6-14
Exercise 2: Pick one thing from your marked up passages above and write down why it stood out to you.

Exercise 3: Pick one of the following passages and identify what section of the Bible it is in.
Genesis 1:1
Revelation 22:16
Add more verses
Old Testament Sections
Torah or Pentateuch (Creation, God’s Law)
History of Israel
Poetry and Wisdom
Major Prophets
Minor Prophets
New Testament Sections
Paul’s Letters or Paul’s Epistles
General Epistles

Exercise 4: Do you think this language is figurative or literal? Is it poetic, historical or prophetic? And why?

Closer: A reminder from James

As you embark on your journey of reading the Bible, remember that being a hearer of the word, isn't enough, but you also need to be a doer. In order to be a doer of Gods word, it will be by only the grace of God that he can change all of our hearts. And often at times that doesn't happen overnight, it takes patience and diligence.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:22-25

A moment of encouragement...

But James tell us that if we spend time in the living word of Jesus Christ, and we pray that God will save us and cleanse our harden hearts, he will draw closer to us.
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5

Call to Action...

Try to set a goal for yourself, it could be long term goal like trying to read the whole Bible in a year
If you wanted to read the whole Bible in 1 year, you'd have to read about 6-7 pages a day.
Or it could be a small goal, like trying to read the Bible once a week. For this is one of the surefire ways to grow your relationship with Jesus.

If you any of you guys are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information tonight, keep in mind that the Bible can be read simply. And if God calls you and you have an inquisitive mind, there is plenty of deep diving you can do.

One of our goals here at Young Life is for all of you to spend time in the word. This right here [Gesture Bible] is our foundation. This summer lets try to get some groups together to study the Bible together. And on your own time, if you dont know where to start, grab a leader and ask them for guidance and where to start.

What does it mean when people call it the “Living Word of God” (cut due to lack of time)

Inspired by God: The Bible is believed to be divinely inspired, meaning that its words and teachings come directly from God. As stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV), "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
Active and Dynamic: The term "living" suggests that the Bible is not just a historical document but an active and dynamic force. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." This indicates that the Bible has the power to impact and transform lives today.
Relevant Across Time: The Bible's teachings are seen as timeless and eternally relevant. Despite being written thousands of years ago, its principles and messages continue to apply to contemporary situations and challenges.
Personal Interaction with God: Reading the Bible is often seen as a way to encounter and interact with God personally. Through Scripture, believers can hear God's voice, receive guidance, comfort, and conviction, and grow in their relationship with Him.
Life-Giving: The Bible is considered a source of spiritual nourishment and life. Jesus refers to His words as "spirit and life" in John 6:63 (ESV): "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
Continuous Revelation: The idea of the Bible as the living Word of God also encompasses the belief that God continues to speak through Scripture today. As believers read and meditate on the Bible, they receive fresh insights and revelations that are relevant to their current life situations.

Why Do I recommend John for New Believers (Reference material)

Clear Presentation of Jesus' Divinity and Mission:
The Gospel of John explicitly focuses on the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as the Son of God. Verses like John 1:1 ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God") and John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life") provide a clear and direct understanding of who Jesus is and why he came to earth.
Emphasis on Belief and Salvation:
John's Gospel is often seen as evangelistic in nature. It emphasizes belief in Jesus as the path to eternal life, making it a foundational text for understanding the core message of Christianity. John 20:31 says, "But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Accessible and Theologically Rich:
The language and stories in John are straightforward yet theologically profound. It includes well-known accounts such as the conversation with Nicodemus (John 3), the woman at the well (John 4), and the raising of Lazarus (John 11), which are compelling and illustrative of Jesus' ministry and teachings.
Focus on Personal Relationship with Jesus:
John highlights the personal and relational aspects of faith. Passages like John 15:5 ("I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing") emphasize the importance of a personal connection with Jesus.
Unique Perspective Among the Gospels:
Unlike the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), John provides a unique perspective with a distinct structure and style. It complements the Synoptic Gospels by offering additional insights and events not covered in the other accounts.
Encouragement for New Believers:
For new believers or those curious about Christianity, John provides an encouraging and comprehensive introduction to Jesus' life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection. It helps readers grasp the essence of the Christian faith early on.

Why Do I Recommend Romans for Experienced Believers (Reference material)

Reason: Romans offers a deep theological exploration of salvation, grace, faith, and righteousness. It systematically presents the core doctrines of Christianity and provides a comprehensive understanding of the gospel.

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