Comfort & Counsel

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Understanding the Bible

– for ordinary Christians

Jacob Ninan

Chapter 9


The Bible is a precious gift from God to us. He has revealed Himself to us through this book in a way that would have been impossible for man to discover by his own research or investigation. We know from the Bible about His love and His plan of salvation for sinners, how we can know Him, walk with Him and have fellowship with Him when He speaks to us in our hearts through His word and through the Holy Spirit.

Many godly people have come to recognise that the Bible is like no other book on earth. Even though they have read many other interesting books including those written by godly people, there is nothing they would like to spend time with as much as with the Bible.

Now the Bible is available in plenty, and in different forms (paper and electronic, written and audio) and styles of translation. But God is not the only one trying to speak to us through the Bible. Satan and his demons will also like to use words from the Bible to misguide us. Even though high intelligence or high education is not what qualifies us for understanding the Bible rightly, we have no excuse if we do not use our common sense in the process of interpretation, especially when we know that there is possibility of misinterpretation.

The Bible has been given to us primarily so that through it we can get to know God personally (Jn.5:39,40). In all our study of the Bible we must not forget this, and we must not allow ourselves to be bogged down with less important details.

We know that sometimes God works beyond these rules through His Spirit to speak to some of His children individually. This is exceptional and not to be expected as a regular experience. This does not mean that rules of interpretation are unnecessary or to be ignored. These rules tell us how interpretation is to be made in the normal case. But in particular cases God is sovereign in using whatever means He chooses to reach out to His children in ways they can receive.

This book is presented with a hope that it will cause many people to sit up and think seriously about how they read and interpret the Bible as they read it for themselves, read from books or listen to preachers. Those who are teachers in the church have a special responsibility to make such guidelines known to everyone so that many unnecessary errors can be avoided. May God’s word be lifted up over all the confusion that prevails these days.

About the author
Jacob Ninan (b. 1948), has master’s degrees in engineering, and counselling and psychotherapy. He retired in 2008 from the Indian Space Research Organisation as the Programme Director for international cooperation. He met with Jesus while studying in Bangalore in 1972, and from then onwards has been an ardent student of the Bible, reading hundreds of Christian books, listening to hundreds of messages, and being very active in the church in speaking, counselling, writing, editing, etc. He runs the ‘Comfort & Counsel’ web site ( where he has published a large number of articles on practical Christian life and counsel. With advanced training in Christian counselling, he has been counselling individuals and couples, and also facilitating in counselling training programmes for many years. Jacob Ninan joined the editorial board of the Christian magazine Light of Life in 2008, and is currently contributing as editor, writer and web master. Jacob Ninan has been married to Susan for 38 years. They stay in Bangalore, and they have five grown up children and seven grandchildren.
You may contact the author at

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