Step 1: Pray for God’s help in your study of the Bible. Bible study is both a rational process and a spiritual process.
Since God has sought to communicate to man through a rational communication—the Bible, we must approach biblical interpretation rationally. Yet, since we are attempting to understand the infinite mind of an infinite God, we need divine help in our understanding. Paul told the Corinthians that man couldn’t know God’s redemptive truth by scientific exploration or physical observation [e.g., “eye” or “ear”] or by philosophical activity [i.e., “the mind of man”] (1 Cor. 2:7-9). Man cannot know the mind of God, anymore than we know the minds of other people—except by his revelation. Just as only the spirits in people know their minds, only the Spirit of God knows the mind of God. So God’s mind had to be revealed by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:7-13). The Bible presents to us the mind of God as revealed through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Even though the truth of God has been revealed and recorded in the Bible, the natural man has difficulty in understanding this Revelation—the Bible. Paul indicates that we need the aid of the Holy Spirit in understanding this revelation (1 Cor. 2:14-16). It also stands to reason that the Spirit that dwells in us will help us to understand the Bible. Communication of God’s truth has been a primary work of the Spirit. Since He dwells in the Christian, it would seem absurd for Him to not help us understand the Bible. Why would He not help us understand that which He has so diligently sought to communicate to us?
Four things should be obvious. First, God will not “reveal” one meaning to one person, another meaning to someone else, and yet another meaning to someone else. The Spirit is not confused and does not contradict himself. Second, He will not “reveal” a meaning for a text that is not supported by the details in the text. Third, He will not “reveal” a meaning that contradicts the details in the text. The historical setting of the text and the facts within the text present and support meaning. Fourth, He will not “reveal” an interpretation that contradicts other plain passages.