Reading the Bible is how we learn who God is, who we are, what He wants, what He’s done, and how to experience His goodness and love.
The Bible is a record of God’s dealing with humanity through history. It is filled with prophecies that have come true. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit through the hands of many different authors.
The Old Testament contains historical books as well as wisdom books. It predicts and leads up to the coming of Jesus in the New Testament.
The New Testament contains historical records of Jesus’ life and works, as well as the beginning of the church. It also contains several letters written from the apostles to encourage and explain the life of faith for the believer. It ends with the book of Revelation, a prophetic display of the judgment to come and the heavenly glory that appears afterword.
- Get a GOOD translation. Good ones are: NKJV (my preference), KJV, NASB, ESV
- Have a PURPOSE. Don’t read just because it is a good thing to do, or a Christian duty. Read to get FED. Read to grow closer to God. Read to find truths that will equip you for life.
- PRAY and ask God for revelation and understanding before you read. When you get stuck on difficult passages, just move on until you get to something you understand. You can learn more of the difficult passages later as you grow.
- Don’t read it like OTHER books. You can read a novel quickly, but the WORD of GOD needs to be read slowly and thoughtfully. You are mining for spiritual gold.
- Read things in CONTEXT. Don’t pick random passages each day. Have a PLAN. Read through each book. For example, if you read Ephesians, today read part or all of chapter 1. Tomorrow pick up where you left off, and so on until you finish. Always stay in the New Testament. You could read a chapter in the Old Testament and the New Testament each day. It would not take much longer than reading a couple of columns in the newspaper.
- For beginners: Make sure you read Genesis and Exodus (both in the Old Testament) at least. They are foundational. After Exodus there are difficult things. You can come back to those later. But stay in the New Testament! And try to read the Psalms (Old Testament) from time to time to learn how to pray and worship the Lord.
- ASK QUESTIONS as you read: What does this reveal about God? What does this reveal about me? PUT YOURSELF in the passages. How would I have felt? What would I have thought? What other passages in the Bible are related to this? How might this apply today?
- MEDITATE (think, chew on) what you’ve read throughout the day. Sometimes great revelations will come. You will GROW!