You don’t have to be a seminary-trained biblical scholar in order to read Scripture in a responsible way. Relevant Magazine published a really good article on “9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible”. These easy-to-understand practical suggestions will go a long way toward making the most of your Bible study time. Here is a taste:
6. Realize That Prophecy is More Often FORTH-Telling Than FORE-Telling.
So often, our focus in approaching prophecy is to ask “what did they say about the future?” However, often the prophets weren’t talking about the future (foretelling), they were explaining and interpreting Israel’s history and current predicaments in light of their covenantal behavior (forth-telling), and had little to do with the future. Israel may have painfully aware that they had just suffered military defeat at the hands of the Babylonians, but it took the prophet’s words to explain from God’s perspective why this had happened and what lessons they were to learn from their experience. Poor old Jeremiah.
Take a few minutes to read the article; it is not long, and I think you will be blessed by doing so.