How to Read the Bible by Chad Harrington

Are you lost when you read Scripture?

Are you afraid of inaccurately interpreting God’s Word? Do you want a richer understanding of the Bible?

Gain the most essential tools you need to better interpret Scripture. Many Christians find the Bible difficult to understand, but there’s proven methods and pathways available to equip you to grow your skills! Glean from teaching minister Chad Harrington. He will share from his experiences, study, and training background in this six-week class on how to read the Bible responsibly.

This Class Will

  • Give you the most vital methods of interpretation.
  • Provide you the necessary tools and resources for understanding the Bible.
  • Show you a framework for how to unpack the meaning of a particular text.
  • Help you avoid heresy!
  • Reveal deeper riches of Scripture than you knew possible.

Six Class Sessions (90 minutes each)

1. Translations, Tools, and Methods
2. How to Do a Book Study and Principles of Interpretation
3. Identifying the Main Theme in a Book Study
4. Section Studies and Exegetical Fallacies
5. Word Studies
6. Exegesis, Application, and Inspiration

Core Competencies

By the end of this class, you will be able to:

  1. Pick a suitable translation for yourself and those in your care.
  2. Conduct a book study.
  3. Execute on a segment study.
  4. Rightly complete a word group study.
  5. Understand and explain why proper interpretation methods matter.
  6. Comprehend and actively avoid fallacies of interpretation and of teaching.
  7. Explain the journey of interpretation in four parts.
  8. Use the relevant interpretation tools, both digital and physical.
  9. Make observations and questions as you read the text.
  10. Apply the central concepts of interpretation (like A.I.M. and Context is King).
  11. Recognize the importance of biblical genres when interpreting specific texts.
  12. Yield to the Holy Spirit when you’re reading.

Main Goal of the Class

To help you accurately interpret God’s Word to be useful for devotions, disciple-making, and teaching.

Class Text Book

Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays’s Grasping God’s Word, any edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001 [2005, 2012, 2020]). Note: Each edition follows a similar outline; the older ones are less expensive.

Recommended Memory Passages (NIV, 1984)

  • Psalm 1:1–3: “1 Blessed is the man // who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked // or stand in the way of sinners // or sit in the seat of mockers. // 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, // and on his law he meditates day and night. // 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, // which yields its fruit in season // and whose leaf does not wither. // Whatever he does prospers.”
  • Matthew 13:23: “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
  • Isaiah 66:2: “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16–17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God man be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  • 1 Peter 1:20–21: “20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Supplemental Book Recommendations

  • David R. Bauer and Robert Traina’s Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014 [2011]).
  • Andreas J. Köstenberger’s Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Kregel Academic, 2021 [2011]).
  • Gorden D. Fee and Douglas Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2014 [1981]).
  • A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1996).
  • T. Wright, New Testament and the People of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

1. Translations, Tools, and Methods

Download Class 1 notes here.

Read Chad’s blog on translations: “Which Bible Translation Is Best? 5 Best Translations for Everyday Christians

Recommended Digital Tools

  • Bible Gateway ( For various translations and for word studies. Lots of translations. Great for conducting word searches (easy interface), plus a good audio Bible too. Known for its desktop version.
  • YouVersion Bible App: For various translations, plans, and devotionals. Great for word searches, plus reading in community and discussing as you go through the app! Good audio Bible too. Known for it’s mobile app.
  • Blue Letter Bible ( For various translations, commentaries, and word studies linked to Greek and Hebrew from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. This is great for customized searches; solid and free commentaries; includes resources, like history tools, other online tools don’t have.

2. Book Studies and Principles of Interpretation

Download Class 2 notes here.

3. Identifying the Main Theme in a Book Study

Download notes for Class 3 here.

4. Section Studies and Exegetical Fallacies

The class notes for this session are listed below—only a handful this week—and in the “How to Do a Book Study” guide available at the top of this page.

The assumption is you picked 1-3 verses you’re interested in. Then, you’re ready for conducting a Word Study, due next week.

1. Take a word you’re interested in and look it up on in five different translations to see how each of them translate it.

2. Pick the most common translation of your word among those five.

3. Then do an English only word study using the steps in the guide, “How to Do a Book Study” (Step 4).

4. Apply your word study findings to your particular verse. Prioritize and weigh how the word is used (in this order): the author’s use, the corpus of the author, and the testament, Old or New (for OT words, ignore NT references).

5. Do a “concept study” just using your book (Jonah, Ephesians, Psalm 22). That is, take your word study findings, and decide on the concept. Then, read your document again looking not for that word but for that concept. Write your conclusions in a paragraph.

6. Exegesis, Application, and Inspiration

Download the notes for Class 6 here.

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