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Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Bible study. You can better understand the Biblical passages and discover their meaning for today!  Explore!

The Bible was written a long time ago in a particular historical and cultural setting. It should come as no surprise that many people find it difficult to understand the passages from the Bible, let alone recognise their significance. 

How do we better understand the Biblical passages and discover their meaning for us today?

 You need to consider three things: 

  • Firstly, the historical context of the passage. We must investigate the conditions under which the passages were produced. 
  • Secondly, the cultural context of the passage. The Bible was written by specific people at a specific time and within a specific culture. And therefore, by reading the Bible in its cultural context, we can better understand the Biblical passages.
  • Thirdly, the literary context of the passage. We need to know how each passage fits into the bigger stories that surround it.  

Let us briefly look at these three in detail:


The different books of the Bible are products of a particular historical time and place. Therefore, understanding certain details in biblical passages can be quite challenging. 

Reading the Bible can be more relevant and worthwhile if one is aware of the historical context.

Biblical passages need to be read taking into account their historical context/s. A simple way to read the Bible in its historical contexts is to use 5WH questions – who, when, where, what, why and how? This way of reading helps you get more out of the material and understand it better.

To really understand Bible passages, we need to look at who wrote it, when was it written, who are its original readers and why was it written.


Every book of the Bible was written within a cultural context. Cultural context reveals the belief systems and worldviews held by both the original writer and the reader. 

Every biblical passage should be read in its original cultural context to discover the meaning of the text. This includes customs, traditions, and various other socio-cultural factors.


Biblical writers wrote their content in a variety of literary forms or styles. The three main types of writing employed by Bible authors are discourse, narrative, and poetry. 

To understand the Bible correctly in its literary context, one must take into account the author’s writing style. Each type and style of writing would have to be read and understood in a certain way.

We need to understand the literary flow of the passage. It is important that we follow the argument in relation to the main idea. If a single verse or part of a verse is read in a different way, its original meaning could be changed.

Additionally, we must look at how the passage relates to the broader context of the book and the entire Scripture. Understanding the literary context will help us interpret the passage in light of the literary structure and style.


The context of the passages/books is important to reading the Bible and understanding it. If you try to understand the Bible out of context, it can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and conflicts. It is important that we take into account the historical, cultural, and literary contexts of the Biblical passages.

Photo by Barnabas Today
Biju Mathew is a contributive writer and is based in Bangalore.