Kathleen Nielsen, director for women’s initiatives at The Gospel Coalition, offers some counsel in a brief interview.
What is your approach to reading the text and interpreting, or how would you encourage women who aren’t scholars to study the Bible?
This is such an important question, and one I get asked a lot. First, I usually give full disclosure that I’ve never been to seminary or formally studied Greek or Hebrew. Those activities are wonderful as God enables them, but God’s Word is not just for Greek scholars; it’s for everyone. It’s how God speaks to us, in living and active words. Scholars help us, yes, but God calls each one of us to listen and to “tremble at his Word.” We have so many longings and empty spots inside us—we forget somehow that we were made to commune with God, to hear and respond to his words to us. His Word fills us, by the Spirit. This is not a purely academic subject; it’s an intensely and infinitely personal one.
The “reading and interpreting” part of this question demands a longer answer—but the answer starts with taking time to read! We’re used to fast food and sometimes think we can “drive by” the Scriptures and pick up a few tasty truths wrapped up and ready to go. If I had to summarize the study process, I’d start with reading and re-reading, then asking questions of the text to find out what it’s saying, and then applying it. This is a great process to learn in a group or one-on-one.
You can read the whole interview here.