1. Ask the Right Questions: If we want to know what a passage means, we have to ask ourselves:
1What question was the original audience asking (or what problem were they having)?
2How was that being addressed by the inspired writer?
3How can I apply the truth of that passage to my life today?
2. Stop Focusing on Peripheral Details: Some people miss the point of a passage because they spend all of their time thinking about the incidental details of a story, rather than focusing on the main point(s). As an example, my whole life I’ve heard people talk about whether it was a “fish” or a “whale” that swallowed Jonah. If we are ever going to be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds (Romans 12:2), we must stop getting lost in the weeds. We have got to stop focusing on the peripheral details.
3. Consider the Big Picture of Scripture: Another reason many people miss the point when they study Scripture is because they read passages as if the passage stood entirely alone, isolated from the rest of Scripture. You cannot possibly come to right conclusions when you read Scripture this way. You must see every passage in the context of the book in which it is found and within the context of the entire Bible.
The psalmist said, “The sum of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Meaning, when you put it all together, you have the “truth.” The Bible is not an encyclopedia or a dictionary, where you can simply look up a verse and say, “Ok, so this is what the Bible says about this.” You have to understand that verse in light of the big picture of Scripture.