Where Not To Start
I have actually had non-believers ask me this more than new Christians and this is a great question. The Bible is not strictly written in chronological order. For example the book of Job belongs in the time frame of the book of Genesis. Some have tried to start at Genesis and begin through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, then Deuteronomy, but when they get to certain sections of the Old Testament they can get bogged down in the lengthy genealogies. A good example is found in I Chronicles 9:11-12: Azariah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the official in charge of the house of God Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah and Maasai son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer. You get the idea.
The Bible Gives Us Hope For Eternal Life With Jesus
The Bible is full of encouraging promises about our eternal life with Jesus.
In my Fathers house are many rooms if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
The Bible Is Outdated
The Bible spans all of human history from the creation of the world to eternity. Some are rules God gave to a specific group of people during a specific time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial to know.
When you read in the New Testament that “Jesus sets us free” you may ask, “Free from what?” If you read the whole thing, you will know with clarity.
Some of the stories are universal they are meant for all people in all times, but they contain cultural nuances from when they were written. The better we understand the setting, the better we can appreciate the story.
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Journal And Take Notes On What Youre Learning
Its one thing to simply read the words on the page. But if you want to truly enjoy reading the Bible, youll want to actually interact with the words, reflect on what youre reading and learning, and find ways to apply the lessons youre learning to real life.
And one great way to do this is through Bible journaling.
Dont worry you dont have to be creative or have great artistic skills to start Bible journaling. While doodling in the margins of your Bible is one great way to interact with the Word, thats actually not what Im talking about here.
Personally, Id create a Bible Study basket to keep nearby. I also recommend making a Bible Journaling notebook, where you can:
- Make a note of verses you want to remember
- Keep a prayer list
- Jot down things you learn during sermons or while reading blog articles
- Keep track of things you sense God is teaching you
- Take notes on difficult passages
- Write out your prayers to God
- Record any spiritual progress or milestones
- Wrestle through tough concepts on paper
- Color or doodle to your hearts content, if youd like
Yes, the end result can look kind and random and unorganized , but keeping a Bible Journaling notebook is a fantastic way to really dive in to the Word, soak it in personally, and learn how to apply it to your own life.
AND they are REALLY awesome to look back on after youve done it a while, because then you can see how far you have come in your faith.
Read The Bible: It Contains Gods Will For Our Lives
What is Gods will for my life? There is no Bible verse that explicitly tells us what profession to pursue, where to live or whom to marry. But, nonetheless, the Bibles exhortations, guidelines, commandments and encouragement give us very concrete and infallible insight into Gods will for us in every aspect of life.
Paul writes that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God 2 Timothy 3:16. In some translations it even says that Scripture is God-breathed.
Have you ever thought about this? The Bible is inspired by God Himself! It is His Word, containing His wisdom, His goodness, His intentions, His judgements, His heart. Have you been so interested in understanding Gods will that you spend time with His very own Word?
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Mistake #1 Reading The Bible Without Gods Interpretation
Problem: Ive seen Christians make this mistake as well as unbelievers.
Theyll read the Bible and theyll interpret the verses that they read on their own.
May I please say that the Bible was never meant to be read this way!
Solution: There is only one best way to read your Bible, and then there is a second-best way.
Let me explain .
The Bible contains things from the Spirit of God, and so it must be interpreted spiritually.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.1 Corinthians 2:14
That means that anyone that is not born-again cant receive the things of God because theyre going to appear as if theyre foolishness.
Furthermore, he cant know them because you need discernment from God to be able to understand what the Bible means.
So whats the solution? Here are 2 solutions I can think of:
Solution #1 Ask God through prayer to help you understand the Bible passage that youre about to read. God is always listening to your sincere prayers whether youre a believer or an unbeliever.
Solution #2 If youre an unbeliever who wants to read the Bible correctly, then the best option is option #1. But if you dont want to pray to God because you dont believe in God, then you can rely on an orthodox Bible commentary that will help you understand.
So with that in mind, heres a generally accepted list of orthodox Bible commentaries that are free.
There Are Websites Like Biblegateway That Make Looking At Different Translations Very Easy
How to read and understand the bible better. The kind of attentiveness that asks questions and seeks to answer them from the immediate and wider concentric circles of context. Read the psalms, the old testament book of worship, to enrich your devotion to god. Focus on applying the bible to your life
Read proverbs to gain wisdom and strengthen your relationship with others. Save this prayer and keep it somewhere to use as a reference or to pray each time you read your bible. Do not ignore specific verses simply because they dont fit into what you believe.
Read the entire bible sequentially You need healthy amounts of both to grow in christ, but you also need them together. Take everything back to jesus
Its an acronym for a powerful way to apply the bible to your life: When reading the old testament, we have to keep in mind that it is primarily about god and his people. you will never read a better book, but you can learn to read the book better. piper characterizes active bible reading as aggressive attentiveness to words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.
Read mark. read matthew. read john. Read a commentary and listen to a sermon on the passage. It is, literally, a lesson in how to.
How to read the bible: In this age of information, there is no excuse for ignorance. Here are 4 ways to get more out of your reading:
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Ways Daily Bible Reading Will Change Your Life
Delving into God’s Word regularly will give you a brand new perspective.
by Neal SamudrePosted in Positive Thinking
In todays busy world, it can be difficult to prioritize daily Bible reading. Many of us are dashing about as soon as we wake up, and dont stop moving until we go to bed at night. Even if the desire is there, life often takes precedence over reading the Bible consistently.
Yet, on the days when I dont read Gods word because I havent stopped moving, I notice somethingIm in a bad mood.
This is not a coincidence. We were created to operate within a godly rhythm of work and worship. When all we do is work, were stretching our body to operate without the essential praise experience we need to replenish ourselves.
If we are to live the lives God designed for us, we must get back to whats essential for us to thrive. We must move against the grain that tries to quicken our pace, slow down and pick up our Bibles. As a result, well begin to see the world in a new lens, one colored with the hope and optimism we need to face the day.
As I made it a priority to read my Bible in the morning each day, I found my outlook on life was changing for the better.
Here are the four ways reading the Bible each day can change your life:
1) You’ll gain a new insight on your problems.
Whatever you’re struggling with, let the powerful stories of the Bible better clarify what youre going through.
2) You’ll see God in a new light.
4. You’ll make better choices.
These Are Gods Very Words
You may have heard the Bible referred to as The Word of God. This idea comes from within the Bible itself. The authors of the Old Testament referred to the words they recorded as the Word of God. And in the New Testament, Jesus himself referred to the words recorded in the Old Testament as being the very words of God.
This means that these very words carry Gods authority and speak the truth about Gods character, his actions and his plans for the world.
The Bible reveals that God is a God who speaks with authority. Much of the Bible is a recording of Gods instructions, corrections and blessings that he spoke both audibly and through his Spirit in visions and dreams to his people. It is difficult to pick just one example from the Bible that illustrates this idea because there are so many!
The Bible clearly contains the understanding that Gods spoken word is true and authoritative in creation and the lives of His people. Over and over the words, God said, or The Word of God, or The voice of the Lord, occurs in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, the author of the book of Hebrews explains it like this:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
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Make The Scriptures Live
Get involved in what you read. You could use this approach:
Select a Bible account that you would like to study. You could pick a Bible event or a passage from a Gospel, or you could choose an account from the collection of dramatic Bible readings available on jw.org.
Read the account. You could read it by yourself, or you could read it aloud with friends or family members. One person could read the narration while others take on character parts.
Try one or more of the following suggestions:
Draw pictures to illustrate the account. Or draw a storyboarda series of simple pictures that illustrate a sequence of events. Use captions to describe what is happening in each scene.
Draw diagrams. For example, as you read about a faithful character, connect that persons qualities and actions with the blessings he or she received.
Turn the account into a news story. Report the event from several perspectives, and include interviews with the main characters and eyewitnesses.
If one of the characters in the account made an unwise decision, imagine a different ending. For example, consider Peters denial of Jesus. How could Peter have responded better to the pressure?
If you are feeling especially creative, take on the challenge of writing your own drama based on a Bible account. Include lessons that can be learned from the account.Romans 15:4.
You can make the Bible come to life!
Simple Tips For Developing A Life
Unfortunately, being in Gods Word is difficult. Especially, in the digital age. The Bible is a complex and profoundly deep book. Not only was it written thousands of years ago, it was written in another language. It takes patience and hard work to read and understand it.
That doesnt bode well for those of us who were born since the birth of the Internet. Our attention spans are small, our imaginative ability depleted. And it takes time, attention, and imagination to understand the Bible.
We find it challenging to glean anything from the Bible not because its a meaningless discipline, but because we live in an age where we arent stretched to think abstractly.
I am grateful my parents taught me how to study and memorize Scripture. My own misunderstanding of the role of Scripture wasnt their fault, and their faithful obedience to the Word of God is an inheritance beyond anything else I could ever want.
But how do we read and study the Bible without lifting it up to a pedestal God never intended for it?
Let me close by suggesting five tips I have discovered for developing a life-giving habit of hearing and listening to God through the Bible.
What if I told you that discipline wont solve your problem with lust?
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As You Develop The Habit Expect God To Speak
There is beauty in coming to Gods word expecting to experience Him. It is not a book of rules. Its His living words. No matter how many times youve read a verse, you can read it again today and see it with fresh eyes.
As you read, invite God to speak to your heart. If there is sin, expect Him to convict. If there is guilt, expect forgiveness. If there is weariness, expect strength. If there is fear, expect courage. If there is sorrow, expect comfort. If there is confusion, expect direction. If there is thirst, expect to be satisfied. If there is hunger, expect to be filled.
Gods Word is not meant to be read like a novel or easy reading. His word is deeper, richer, fuller, and more than we could ever imagine. Go to it and soak it up. No matter how long its been…begin today.
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Looking For Insight Rather Than Personal Application
The Bible is a fascinating book, theres no question about it. Even if youre coming at it from a completely atheistic perspective, theres enough historical and cultural significance, as well as action-packed sequences, to keep you occupied for days.
However, for believers, simply reading the Bible for information is not enough if we want it to have an impact on our lives.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like .
Just about every verse you read contains some kind of direction from God on how we can change our lives for the better and open up to His transformation in our lives. The Bible is applicable to situations we go through on a day to day basis , from dealing with stress to loving those around us.
Its a huge temptation to only read the Bible with the purpose of gaining more knowledge. And while theres nothing inherently wrong with that, youre missing the whole point of the Scriptures if you never once sit down and read it with the intent to let it guide you to change something in your life.
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No You Dont Have To Read The Bible
*Authors note: When I first published this post, it caused a bit of confusion and received mixed feedback. To bring clarity on what I believe about the Bible, I wrote a follow-up post you can read here.
Do you have to read the Bible to know God?
In a culture that worships science and information, relational dynamics will always be left out of the pursuit of Truth. If you cant explain something in streamlined, logical ways, it must not be true. And relationships arent streamlined. They arent always logical. So, when it comes to faith, we prefer the chartable, black and white approach.
The only problem is true spirituality and faith in God are relational. Not intellectual.
Somewhere along the line, Christianity turned into doctrines, morals, a set of beliefs. Getting to Heaven was a matter of getting your belief system aligned with the right ideas.
Growing up, I was taught to read the Bible, know how many books it has and what their names were. As a part of our schooling, we memorized Scripture: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousnessFor the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword
With holy ambition and youthful ignorance, I dutifully set out to become the man of God everyone admired. And what do men of God do?
They read their Bibles, of course.
Especially, disappointment with God.
And I had a thirst that wasnt being quenched.