The Bible reveals that in order for man to truly understand the Scriptures, we need divine illumination (1 Cor 2). It is the Holy Spirit who works in our minds to help us to grasp God’s truth. Since this is true, it is important that we approach the Bible prayerfully.
Robert Plummer in his very helpful book on Hermeneutics, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, includes a prayer for illumination that originated from the reformer Huldrych Zwingli.
This is a prayer we would all do well to offer to God before opening our Bibles:
help us to hear your holy Word with open hearts so that we may truly understand;
and, understanding, that we may believe;
and believing, that we may follow in all faithfulness and obedience,
Seeking your honor and glory in all that we do.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For a great book on the science of interpreting the Bible, check out Dr. Plummer’s 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, here.