I love reading the Bible. It’s a desire I received from my grandparents. I’d often see them digging around in the scriptures. Unfortunately, I can’t really read my grandmother’s handwriting, so I don’t know many of the notes she wrote, but both of them taught me how to get into the Bible and dig around. I remember calling my grandfather about some verses in Genesis a few weeks before he passed away. They were my go-to people for digging around in the Bible.
In essence, they were Biblical hackers. Grandpa understood scriptures and could maneuver between verses, chapters, and books to drive home his point. Grandma could make sense of verses in her daily reading, and proved it in the notes she wrote for herself in the margin.
There are people in this world who’s life calling seems to be digging around computer systems, tinkering around with them to make things work the way they want it to. These folks are hackers, and while the media tried several years ago to turn the word into a negative, true hacking is as pure as the code the individual works on.
Hacking is most commonly found in the Linux operating system, but is also found in app development for Android and iOS. These hackers can break down code in ways I could only dream of, all in the name of tinkering to make things work better. Facebook made this mainstream with their publicized “hack-a-thons.”
Yet for whatever reason, this sort of digging into the scriptures, to better understand the “code” of God’s word, to make our lives work better, is shunned by more people. They would rather be fed from the pulpit and maybe get a devotional that they can follow. In neither case does the believer actually learn how to handle God’s word. They do not become hackers. They are simply operators. They can sit with a Bible, but they cannot make it work in their lives.
Choose today, dear believer, to become a hacker of God’s word. Do whatever it takes to learn how to dig through the Bible with a goal to learn who God is for yourself.
It’s not difficult, but I would offer the following piece of advice: Get a good commentary to help you out. Even once you become proficient at scriptural study, you’ll need the learned writings to delve deeper into the native languages of the Bible. I value Matthew Henry’s commentary as well as the NIV Application commentary series. John MacArthur’s commentaries are a good place to start as well. My first assistance in the Bible came from the notes in my Scoffield Reference Bible. He’s fallen very far out of favor now days as dispensationalism has moved forward, but it helped me a great deal.
Another recommendation is to have more than one version of the Bible available. This is as easy as clicking a few buttons on your tablet or smartphone now days, thanks to modern technology. I use ESV for most daily work, but quickly switch from that to NIV, KJV, and HCSB to see how different scholars see a word or phrase.
Start with these two tools (a commentary and several versions of the Bible) and get started in hacking today!