How to Read the Bible
This last Sunday, we wrapped up Double Dare with a challenge that was for everyone. Now, I know that we said everyone should only pick one challenge to focus on; but this one is the exception. Regardless of whatever else God is calling you to focus on, every one of us also needs to increase our focus on God's word.
When I talk to people about getting into the Bible, there is, for the most part, a great desire to know God's word more. However, there is also a great intimidation factor. To put it bluntly, most people don't know where to start. The Bible is full of multiple genres of literature from multiple authors over hundreds of years. Frankly, it's a lot. So rather than telling you what to read or where to start, (start in the gospels!), I wanted instead to focus on how you can read the Bible to really get the most out of it.
First, read it reverently. By that I mean, understand what you have in your hands. This is God's Holy word, given to us. It is His love letter to you and to me. It is the story of the redemption of the world. It's the most important book in the universe. It is living and active. In the New Testament, God calls His son Jesus "the word" because He was literally the truth of God's love in the flesh. When you pick the Bible up, understand what it is you have in your hand, and treat it accordingly.
Second, read it thoughtfully. There are all kinds of resources that can teach you how to observe, interpret and apply scripture to your life. If you want, we can recommend different resources for that. But far too often, we define poorly what it means to go "deep" into God's word. Really, it comes down to two questions: 1) What truth did I discover in God's word today, and 2) What am I going to do about it? It's this second question that truly defines depth. You can KNOW all about Jesus, but obedience is where things really get deep. Reading God's word thoughtfully includes the question- What does that mean for me?
Third, read it slowly. One of the things I hate about Bible reading plans, specifically the "read the Bible in a year" type plans is the false pressure. Don't get me wrong, these are great resources. I often read through the Bible in a year, following these types of plans. What I don't love, however, is how guilty the enemy can make you feel for missing a day. There are times where reading large chunks of scripture is a good thing, but often these plans get us ploughing through chapters at a time without really comprehending what we are reading. We're just reading to finish rather than to be changed. Slow down. Release the pressure valve. Chew on God's word. Eat this book. (Not literally of course!) We want to get God's word in our bones, allowing it to change us forever. This doesn't happen quickly.
Finally, read it daily. Whatever approach you take to God's word, it has to be consistent. Set a time each day, and commit to getting in the word. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up. Just read it today. Every day, wake up and choose to read His word that day.
If you're interested in jumping into God's word, CLICK HERE to download the Bible App. It has tons of plans for new believers or first time scripture readers, and it even sends you reminder on your phone! Challenge yourself to see how long a streak you can get going. God's word will change your life, but not until you choose to make His word a part of it.