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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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After I read part of the Bible, it seems like I canít always remember what Iíve read. And sometimes I donít understand everything I read. Iíve prayed to have deeper understanding. What should I do?


Steve Answers:

Donít read the Bible as if you have to do a book report or write some kind of summary of it. The purpose of reading the Bible is to be in contact with God.Itís actually possible to read the Bible and miss what itís all about. Thatís what happened with the religious leaders in Jesusí day. Jesus told them, ďYou search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal lifeĒ (John 5:39, 40, NLT).*Itís more important to keep going back to the Bible than just to memorize portions of it. (Yet I recommend memorizing Scripture. Psalm 119:11 says: ďI have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.Ē)

You can write out a verse on a 3" x 5" card and practice it until you have it memorized. Then add another card with another verse that youíve found meaningful. As you memorize more, it gets easier. And as you use the verses, theyíll stay fresh in your thinking.Another good practice is to underline and make marks in your own Bible. Then sometimes Iíll just skim over portions of my Bible, reading the parts that are underlined because they stood out to me before.I also add lots of notes and cross-references, sometimes during sermons and sometimes during my own personal devotions. The more marked-up my Bible is, the more useful it is to me.

As far as increasing your understanding of the Bible is concerned, youíve started in the right placeówith prayer! Here are some additional tips after you pray:

1. Check out the verses before and after your passage to get more background about what youíre studying (the literary context). Sometimes youíll need to look in a Bible commentary to find out what was happening when that book was written (the historical context).

2. Start a small study group. Sometimes just having somebody elseís input will give you new insights. And by discussing things, youíll find that your own understanding will take shape better than it would have by studying on your own.

3. Direct your questions to a respected student of the Bible, such as a pastor, parent, teacher, another teen with spiritual insight, or Insight magazine.

4. Make understanding a matter of more prayer. Pray through the passage, and listen for Godís impressions. Keep praying about it. Then recognize that you might be trying to remember everything youíve heard and read about the Bible when what you really need to do is keep returning there to make contact with Jesus. Keep coming back to Scripture in search of your Saviour. :

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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