“We want you to get into the Word until the Word gets into you.”  I love that quote. Do you want the Scriptures to soak deeply into your life and be the overflow of your mouth and ministry? I do. I believe how we get into the Word effects how the Word gets into us.
John 5:39–40 says, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (NIV). Something about how these Jews got into the text impacted what they saw and the conclusions they made. They were looking for the Messiah, so why did they miss Him? Although they searched Scripture diligently, they did not come to Christ for eternal life. Did they get sidetracked looking for an answer to an argument or support for the latest theological debate? Did they put themselves at the center of the story, looking only for solutions to their own problems? Reading a passage through the lens of our personal experience or current circumstance can cause us to miss the point. How we approach Scripture matters.
“Ultimately, Scripture is about God — what He did, what He is doing, and what He will do — not about you. You’ll never appreciate God’s story if your story — solving your problems — is what you focus on when you study.” 
I’m grateful the Charis Fellowship provides a clear and robust statement to guide our approach to Scripture. In the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity at Access Conference to speak to a room of women eager to explore their hermeneutic, the way they interpret Scripture and “get into the Word.”
As part of our discussion, we explored a position statement on biblical truth from the Charis Commitment to Common Identity and how to apply it to our study of the Scriptures. The statement reads, “We seek to understand the intent of each biblical writer by using grammatical, historical, and contextual principles of interpretation, focused on Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, and oriented by grace.”
How we approach Scripture matters.
Here are seven things to keep in mind when studying the Scriptures:
- We aren’t the original audience. God chose certain men to record things for a reason. We should let the original authors speak to their original audiences first.
- Brush up on grammar because words matter. Word choice, usage, and arrangement in the original language have a purpose.
- History means real people and real places in a real time. Ancient cultures and customs are very different from today, but the everlasting truths of Scripture will remain forever.
- Context is king! We have the whole counsel of God’s Word.
- Focus on Christ. We don’t want John 5:40 to be true about us.
- Let the Holy Spirit be our guide. No matter how well we focus on the first five points, we have nothing apart from the illumination of the very Spirit who breathed out the Scriptures.
- We need God’s grace. Fueling up on ammo for our next social media debate or looking for a quick fix to our problems won’t orient us toward grace.
The Charis Fellowship is full of women passionate about God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s mission. As we get into the Word, the Word gets into us, and God uses the Word to flow out of us and into those we love and serve.
 Preaching for the Rest of Us: Essentials for Text-Driven Preaching, Smith, Steven W. & Gallaty, Robby.
 The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms. Heiser, Michael S.
Written by Jenn Avey. Jenn is a church planter, Bible student, and the executive director of Charis Women. If you’d like additional resources for approaching Scripture, check out revealedbiblestudy.com. This article was originally published in the 2021–2022 Year in Review.