When we study God's word we ought to read it as though it was God teaching us how to live through stories and examples of others. Whenever we learn outside of the bible from a third party or another person's opinion we ought to compare it with the bible and check for accuracy. The more we read the bible to understand the meaning of what it says and why it is written, the better we will able to discern choices we need to make. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the journey for all of us. We learn from mistakes. The bible is full of stories of how others made mistakes, repented, and turned to God for healing and restoration.

Trial and error

As we read scripture and find instructions we ought to put those instructions into practice to gain new insight into its meaning. When the bible says the greatest commandment is to love God with our heart it is saying to do it. It's not just a slogan or a fancy saying. In order to understand the nature of this command we can begin with an honest and sincere attempt to live it out. With such an attempt we will see how difficult it is and better understand our limitations and weaknesses. With commitment and perseverance we may find some success and glimpse God's beauty. We will gain insight into God's word in our success and failure as we struggle to let God change us. We will gain a new understanding about evil desires of the flesh. We will see how God's word is living and active penetrating flesh. If we do not move into action we fail God's instruction and limit our understanding.

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Memorizing scripture verses does nothing if the meaning is not understood. We can read (for one example) about forgiveness and still not understand what it means to forgive or to be forgiven. To forgive our deepest resentment toward ourselves, God, or someone else and be at peace can bring understanding about God. Just reading about it is insufficient.

​John 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”