I really don't want to confuse anyone. This can be tricky in explaining. I don't want to get into a cyclical nightmare of a rant where at the end of the post I even say..."What am I talking about". With the advances of technology and the internet, learning to correctly read the Bible is easier to do now.
I'm not going to tell you how to understand the Bible, because everyone is different. But learning to read it correctly is where it all starts out.
We must first understand a few things before I continue. Each version of the Bible is biased to a certain degree pertaining to the Religion that interprets that version. I would say all versions of the translated Bibles are about 85-95% accurate. We also must realize that there are several words and phrases that simply can't be translated and what you do see translated are guesses at best. They are assumptions on trying to tell us what the interpreters think the authors are trying to say.
It is of my opinion, that the closest to correct translation comes from the Johova Witness Bible: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. Until I learn and master the NT Greek Language, these babies get you real close. Yes, there are biases in this Bible just like any of the others. But this one gets you to around 95% accuracy, and the KIT gives you word for word translation without context variances.
Okay, we've got that out of the way. How are we supposed to read the Bible? Well, the Bible as you see it now, was constructed by men to make it easy to read. They constructed it like a book. That's how we've learned since childhood. But there is a problem with this in regards to the Bible. The Bible isn't a book in the way we interpret "books". Yes, it has stories in it. Yes it has themes, climaxes and plots. However, the main purpose of the Bible, is to go over "subjects". As many subjects as possible that pertain to our human existence. All the things we as humans will encounter, the Bible gives us examples of how others have felt what we've felt and how they dealt with it.
But the main purpose of the Bible is to teach us the story of Jesus Christ and what he taught.
The Bible is one big cross reference, and it should be read as such. With the internet available to us now, this makes a huge impact in our learning of how to read the Bible. Verses are connected to one another throughout. One subject has tons a verses connected to it, and these verses are not in the same spot. They are spread out through different books. Yes, some stories are to be read in whole, but for the most part, you should read verses. Read it verse by verse. Connect the verses associated with one another. Hey, it wasn't my idea to construct the Bible the way it's constructed now. Like I said, each of us has to do the leg work.
It is assumed that the Authors were Godly inspired in their writings. Even though various scriptures were constructed in different era's doesn't mean they're not connected. They are connected. They were inspired, but of course this is my belief.
Understanding what you're reading comes from the Holy Spirit that is within each of us. Without Him, you cannot understand. Taking the Bible as literal all the way is a mistake. Taking the meanings of the verses as literal is correct. That's the difference.
Any questions, feel free to ask. I'll do my best.