Theology Matters: How to Read the Bible

The Bible is a complex book! For one thing, it’s more of a library than a single book. It contains 66 books, of various styles, written by many different authors over thousands of years. No wonder we often struggle to know how to understand it!

These seminars explore how we can begin to think about reading the Bible:

Session 1: Beginning the Interpretive Journey

Why is the Bible such a difficult book to read? And how should we approach some of the challenges that it poses? This first session looks at the journey we go on when interpreting Scripture, and the tools that can help us navigate from the original context to applying it in our world.

Download the audio and the handouts

Session 2: Crossing the Bridge

It’s one thing to know what Scripture meant to the original hearers, but how can we work out what it might mean to us? In this session we will consider how we can bridge the gaps of time, geography, language and culture, to discover the relevance of God’s word in our world.

Download the audio and the handouts

Session 3: Reading the Old Testament

For many people, the Old Testament is particularly confusing, since the gap between the original events and our context is so vast. In this session we look at an extra step in the interpretive journey, and explore some principles for to interpret Old Testament Narratives. (Please note, due to a technical failure, part of this recording is missing, but hopefully the handouts will fill in some of the gaps).

Download the audio and the handouts

Session 4: From Principle to Application

We’ve considered how to understand the meaning of a text to its original hearers, and how to determine the principles that help connect it to our world, but until we work out how to apply the text in our world, the journey is incomplete. This final session looks at how to move from principle to application.

Download the audio and the handouts

Recommended Resources

General Resources

A lot of the material from these sessions has been adapted from two books, which I would highly recommend:


Choosing a good commentary can be tricky, but is a great place to look for reviews and recommendations. If you want to study a book in depth you may want to choose a selection of commentaries; some technical and some more devotional. But if you want to read in a devotional way, then a lighter, less technical commentary might be best. Here are some general recommendations:

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