How to Read – Chapter 3 (1st Period)



13 Replies to “How to Read – Chapter 3 (1st Period)”

  1. Question: Why is it so hard to understand sometimes how the Bible was meant to be read and what the verses are trying to portray?
    Answer: What must be understood when trying to decipher certain passages, is that they was first written out of context of the author to the context of the original recipients. Although every verse in the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, you have to keep in mind that these verses were written in context of a cultural that we sometimes do not understand. If we really desire to have the life Christ offers us, we must make reading Scripture in context, with space to breathe, a priority of our lives. In order to have the relationship with Scripture that we sincerely desire, we must take a leap of faith and carve out time to breathe it in, to allow God’s Word to speak to us. When we take this step, God will invariably show up. (

    Question: Why do you think the writing of the Bible ended when it did? Is there not still circumstances today that could be written about that would help guide people thousands of years down the road from?

  2. Q—To what do some scholars speculate 1 Corinthians 15:29 is referring?

    A—In 1 Corinthians 15:29, Paul makes a reference to people “being baptized on behalf of the dead”. The interpretation of this verse is problematic for several reasons. For one, there are no parallel passages to it in Scripture and two, there is no reference for this practice in the early church. Despite the lack of evidence, there a several theories to what this passage means. Some believe that it means new Christians were baptized to take the place of recently martyred Christians while some believe that it means that Christians were had already died were being baptized by proxy. However, when trying to understanding the meaning of this passage, it’s important to remember that Paul is only referencing baptism on behalf of the dead and the verse shouldn’t be turned into a doctrine.

    Q—Is there any harm in taking several days to read a book of the Bible vs. the one sitting that How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth recommends?

  3. Q: If the epistles are known as occasional documents, meaning they were written to a certain group of people for a specific reason during a specific time period, how do I know what applies to modern day Christians and what doesn’t?
    A: Paul may not have been writing specifically to us in his epistles, but he wrote in such a way that taught principles of Christianity to all who call themselves believers. As true Christians, our core truths and principles have not changed since that time so we can apply the “lessons” the recipients of Paul’s letters were learning to our lives as well. For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 Paul talks about the need for a common vision between all believers. He was not advocating that they should conform their thoughts. He was telling them the importance of a common purpose and vision in churches. Today, our culture values diversity. Diversity in purpose and vision within a church setting is not good. Our role as Christians is to do good work in unity and harmony with both believers and nonbelievers.
    Q: How are Paul’s opinions considered Scripture? Who decided they were supposed to be in the Bible?


  4. Question: Why is the occasional nature important for letters?
    Answer: It is important to know what the occasional nature of letters are because it’s important to know how to read the letter. describes this as a way to present a crisis and to give instruction to churches.
    Question: Why doesn’t John’s first letter follow the six-part form for letters?

  5. Question 1: Why did Paul write the letters to the Romans?

    Answer: Foremost among them was a simple explanation of the gospel of grace; but Paul also wanted to address growing tensions between Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians in the church.Much of Romans consists of what might be called a “Gospel presentation.” Setting a model that Christians continue to follow today, Paul outlines the basics of the Christian gospel, hitting all of the key points: God’s holiness, mankind’s sin, and the saving grace offered by Jesus Christ. He then moves on to talk about how believers, once they’ve been justified by faith, should respond to that gift of grace.


    Question 2: Why is opinion considered scripture?

  6. Q1: The letters in the New Testament usually had a specific audience and purpose. How is it that these same letters written almost 2000 years ago, can still apply to us today?

    A: First off, we must interpret a passage as the author mean’t it to be interpreted, not how we think it should be. Most of the epistles letters were directed to the church. This means they probably apply to us today more than any other passages. Although these letters were written in a different time and setting, they still have instruction for believers today. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” We can be assured that what God intended for his church way back then is still applicable to us today.

    Source: “Principles of Biblical Interpretation”

    Q2: Why aren’t more of Paul or the other apostles letters included in the Bible?

  7. Q: When Paul wrote to the Corinthians and other groups of people, he addressed specific problems that they had, how is that beneficial to us in 2017?

    A: Even though we do not have the exact same issues as back then, we can apply Paul’s advice and instruction. Paul’s letters set an example to follow and many of the problems Paul addresses are still around today, they just may not be in the same context.

    Q: Paul was in prison for spreading the Gospel, why would the people in charge of the prison let Paul write letters to continue the ministry? Wouldn’t they want to cut Paul off?

  8. Q: When Paul wrote to the Corinthians and other groups of people, he addressed specific problems that they had, how is that beneficial to us in 2017?

    A: Even though we do not have the exact same issues as back then, we can apply Paul’s advice and instruction. Paul’s letters set an example to follow and many of the problems Paul addresses are still around today, they just may not be in the same context.

    Q: Paul was in prison for spreading the Gospel, why would the people in charge of the prison let Paul write letters to continue the ministry? Wouldn’t they want to cut Paul’s communication off?

  9. Question: It says on page 57 that the “ease” of interpreting the Epistles can be quite deceptive. Why are they so hard to understand?

    Answer: In interpreting the epistles, we should try and understand the circumstances that the original readers were facing. In reading the Galatians, we see that Paul is responding to people trying to overturn the gospel. As readers of the Epistles today, we have a disadvantage that the first readers did not have. It’s like listening to half of a phone call. We don’t have all the details and we don’t know the exact situation that the writer addressed, which makes the Epistles hard to understand. Still we trust that God in his goodness has given us all we need to know in order to interpret the Epistles adequately and to apply them faithfully.

    Source: ESV Study Bible Pg. 2148

    Question for Webster: Why should we develop the habit of reading the whole Epistle through one sitting. Wouldn’t we attain more information if we studied in sections?

  10. Question: If it is hard to interpret the Epistles, how do we know if we are doing it correctly?
    Answer: “Interpretation must be based on the author’s intention of meaning and not the reader. This means we must get into the author’s context, historically, grammatically, culturally and the literary forms and conventions the author was working in. To be able to do this some good Bible study tools are needed since we are 2000 years or more removed from the biblical authors and their context is very different than ours. The first tool that any one should get is a good study Bible with notes that explain historical and cultural background information.” Basically, we need to have a strong understanding of the historical context in order to grasp what was going on during that time period. The culture was different and once we understand that then interpretation of the Epistles would be a lot easier.

    Question: Who decided what writings were considered Scripture and to be included in the Bible?

  11. Q: Since the epistles were written for specific people groups for certain reasons then how do we apply their messages to our current lives?
    A: Like 1 Corinthians in which Paul writes to them on behalf of the problems of division, trust, immorality, and divorce we can learn as well because those problems to no surprise still exist today. Thus, 1 Corinthians was written as a pastoral corrective to the news he had received to the many problems and disorders in the church there. The problems included divisions in the church (1:11), trust in man’s wisdom or that of the world rather than God’s (1:21-30), immorality (chap. 5; 6:9-20), and a number of questions regarding marriage and divorce, food, worship, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection. Undoubtedly, because of their religious and immoral background, aberrant beliefs and practices of an extraordinary variety characterized this church.

    Q: Which epistle should someone new to the epistles read first?

  12. Q: If the Epistles were letters written by Paul, what makes them scripture as opposed to any other letter written about God back in that time period? In other words what and who determines what is scripture and what isn’t?
    A: There are 5 tests used for the Canonization of Scripture:
    -Does the New Testament attest to its authority?
    -Do extrabiblical writers affirm them?
    -Is the book consistent with other revelation?
    -Was it written by a prophet or someone of divine authority?
    -Did Christ attest to its authority?
    (source: What are the tests of canonicity?

    Q: Are there possibly other letters by other prophets or disciples of Jesus that are important for us to know but could not withstand the test of time? If so, would God hold us accountable for possibly doing something that disobeyed God even though we can’t know about it since we don’t have the letter or book? (along the same line of those who have never been able to hear any of the Gospel?)

  13. Q — If Paul’s letters were written to specific people in the first century, how do we know that they still apply to us today?

    A — John Piper talked about several reasons why the epistles still apply to us today. One reason is that in many of his letters, Paul stated that the letter was intended not only for one person or one church, but was to be read in other areas and to many churches. Another reason is that Paul knew that his words were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Even in today’s time, the Holy Spirit helps believers to understand those words. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 is an example of this. A third reason is that the words of Paul and the apostles was seen as the foundation of the universal Church, not just one particular church (Ephesians 2:19-20). Teachings about salvation, the nature of God, and the nature of man make up much of Paul’s letters; they do not just address specific issues at the time. The take away is that Paul’s letters were intended to be read in other times and in other parts of the world, the Holy Spirit inspired his words and helps us understand them today, and the truths presented in the epistles are universal and foundational to Christians everywhere.
    Source —

    Q — The book presented a very long, time consuming process for studying the epistles that included reading it in one sitting, reading the book out loud, taking notes, and lots of re-reading. Is all of this really necessary to understand the true meaning of the text? Is there a more practical way to do this?

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