Interpreting the Bible

Interpreting the Bible

Five keys to doing biblical exegesis together
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  1. Listen to the Spirit Together. The Holy Spirit is alive and active today. He lives within God's people and speaks through the Word of God. When we read Scripture together, the Spirit speaks through the Word, revealing truths that we might not see when reading it alone. One of the most powerful questions to use in a Bible discussion is "What stood out to you when the passage was read?" I've asked this questions countless times, often using the same passage with the same group, and every time we see something new. As we talk about the passage, it's as if the words come to life within us. Through the power of the Spirit, the words work their way into our lives, and we are transformed. The result is far beyond an intellectual Bible study. Instead, we have unpacked the meaning of the text, letting it germinate inside us and become our own.

You can go much deeper on this topic. And if you have interest in it, I encourage you to do so. Start with the book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. Also, N.T. Wright's book Scripture and the Authority of God is helpful. Find a one-volume commentary or pick up a few copies of the For Everyone commentary series. These are simple, readable, and they lead you to do the most important thing: read the text.

Slow down. Read. Re-read. Ask questions. If you do this, you are far ahead of most. And the Spirit will speak to and through you as you study the Word.

—Scott Boren is the author of Missiorelate and Missional Small Groups: Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World; copyright 2011 by Christianity Today International.


  1. Does your group have any of the people mentioned in the first few paragraphs? How might you redirect or respond to their comments so all group members feel welcome to share?
  2. The author gives his brief summary of God's story. How would you summarize God's story? How might being familiar with the overarching story of the Bible help you interpret Scripture more faithfully?
  3. Which of the five keys do you struggle with? Which ones does your group struggle with?

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