Take Notes As You Go Along
1. Do not just skip over words, phrases, or passages thatmay be unclear instead, note these for your bible study sessions
2. As you read, ask questions: Is this something that Godsexpects of me? Can this help me to understand more about who God is his laws, thepast, present or future? Always end withthis main question Is there more I would like to know about this? Does anymore questions come to mind?. Write these down as well, for your next biblestudy session.
Why Read The Bible
Through reading of the Word of God, and especially through meditation on the Word of God, the believer becomes more and more acquainted with the nature and character of God.
Thus you will see more and morebesides his holiness and justicewhat a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful Being he is.
And therefore, in poverty, affliction of body, bereavement in your family, difficulty in your service, want of a situation or employment, you will rest upon the ability of God to help you.
You will learn from his Word that he is of almighty power and infinite wisdom. And you will see instance upon instance in the Bible in which his almighty power and infinite wisdom have been actually exercised in helping and delivering his people.
So you will rest upon the willingness of God to help you, because you have learned from the Bible what a kind, good, merciful, gracious, and faithful being God is, but also because you have seen in the Word of God how, in a great variety of instances, he has proved himself to be so.
And if God has made himself known to us through prayer and the thoughtful consideration of his own Word, this will lead us to a measure of confidence to rely upon him.
Thus the reading of the Word of God, together with meditation on it, will strengthen our faith.
This content is an adapted from George Mullers book, Answers to Prayer, which is found in the Public Domain.
Look Down At The Close Context
When we look down at the page, we seek to understand the words in their immediate context. The close context takes into account the divine inspiration and human character of the words written . This general kind of context includes the chosen words, communicated ideas, and the specific book were reading, understood within its historical setting. Its everything we see when we read the page in front of us, both the divine and human aspects of the book.
Scripture as a divine book means it is unified, from one Author, coherent, sufficient, perfect, and urgent. These truths carry several implications for how we read the Bible:
- We should read it with creaturely humility because these words are from our Creator and Lord
- We are to read with expectation
- We should also read with caution, recognizing that we are inclined to misunderstand what God has written
- We should read the Bible patiently to accurately discern what God has said
- We dont stand over Scripture we stand under it in submission to God
Since the Bible is also a human book, we need to pay attention to its human aspects. We must not focus on the Bibles divine character to the extent we neglect its human ones. Hunter and Wellum remind us that God speaks to us through what the authors wrote, which demands hard work from us to discern what the authors intended to say. Reading a given text in its close context means reading it in its literary and historical context .
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You Only Read The Bible For Information And Facts
If I were to tell you I know about Michael Jordan you probably wouldnt be that impressed. A lot of people know about himhes the greatest basketball player of all time. However, if I were to tell you that I know Michael Jordan, your reaction might be a little different. Saying I know him would imply a relationship.
Its only one word, but theres a big difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. The primary reason were given Gods Word is so we might know Jesus, not just know about Him.
Theres nothing wrong with expanding your knowledge and learning interesting facts about the Bible, but if thats the only reason youre reading it, then youre reading it wrong.
You can know a lot about Jesus, but not truly know Him. And I say that from experience .
How To Start Reading The Bible In 10 Steps
I meet tens of thousands of people a year at different events. Most of them are Catholic Christians who want to start reading the Bible but dont know where to start.
So if youve ever wanted to go deeper into Gods Word but havent known how to approach it, allow me to suggest a few tips .
Like anything else, if you want to build something in this case, your knowledge and love for the Scriptures you dont just grab a hammer and some nails and start pounding. To ensure that you dont just jump in and then quit out of frustration or confusion, there are certain things you can do to be more successful.
Well attack this on three levels the tools, the blueprint, and the construction. By the end, youll have ten total steps to help you build a biblical fortress able to resist anything the devil can throw at you.
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Need A Way To Keep Track Of Your Bible Reading Plan For Beginners
When I was learning how to read the Bible for the first time, I loved checking off each book and chapter as I read them, so I could easily see my progress.
My NIV study Bible came with a built-in reading plan checklist right in the front. If yours doesnt, youre welcome to print off this Bible Reading Checklist to keep track of your progress.
It comes straight out of my Fall in Love with Gods Word WORKBOOK, but youre welcome to have it for free.
Print it out and stick it in your Bible, or hang it on your fridge where youll see it often as you work your way through your Bible reading plan for beginners.
Where To Start Reading The Bible For Beginners
New Christians or people seeking to learn more about Christianity should start in the New Testament.
The New Testament covers the life of Jesus, the history of the early church, and ethical and moral guidelines for Christians.
To get an excellent overview of this information, I recommend the following reading order:
The Gospel of John Having a firm understanding of who Jesus is and why he came is important to your faith as a Christian. The book of John does a marvelous job of explaining who Jesus is and what his ministry is about. The other Gospels detail Jesus ministry, but they focus more on the things Jesus did.
Acts- The book of Acts was written by Luke, who also wrote the Gospel Luke, and records the history of the early church. Starting with Jesus ascension and commission of the disciples, the persecution of the early church, and the spread of the Gospel throughout the known world.
Romans- Every Christian should read the book of Romans. If you want to build your faith and gain a clearer understanding of the Good news of Jesus Christ, this is the best place to start once youve read the two books.
Once youve read through these first three books you should have a firm understanding of who Jesus is, the history of the early church, and a better understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
After youve read these books, you can dive into the Old Testament and read:
Is The Bible Meant To Be Read In Order
The books of the bible are arranged according to the type of book and are not meant to be read in order. In fact, most people who try to read from cover-to-cover in order tend to get stuck after a few books. Its better to go for the overview first and then come back to fill in the details.
The books of the Old Testament are categorized into groups: the Law, History, Poetry, Prophetic. The books of the New Testament can get categorized into these groups: Gospels, History, Epistles, Prophetic. The order of 15 books recommended above includes at least one book from each category so you can get an idea of every genre.
There is also some repetition in the Bible. For example, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles cover much of the same history from slightly different perspectives. The same is true of the 4 Gospel accounts of Jesus. It is better to leave the nuances of the differences until after you get an overview of the Bible.
Also, if you read just 1 of the Gospels first, you can get a good sense of the life of Jesus. I recommend Luke in the list of 15 books above because he gives a thorough and orderly account of Jesus life and ministry. It also fits in well with the book of Acts, as Luke wrote that book too.
Reading for an overview of the Bible first is a good way to not get bogged down in difficult passages or a list of names and numbers that dont make sense. Those can all be read later. Go for the main flow of the Scripture first.
Applying The Rules To Philippians : 13
Lets look at an example:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me .
This verse makes for a great motivational poster. I used to quote this to try and pass tests I didnt want to study for. But it doesnt really mean what I thought it means. After all, if I went to the gym and loaded 500lbs onto the bench, then quoted this verse, would I suddenly be able to lift 500lbs? No! That weight is going to come crashing down on me, hard. But why? Shouldnt lifting 500lbs fall under the umbrella of all things?
Did I not have enough faith? Did Jesus fail me? . . . or perhaps, did I misunderstand the text?
If we apply our two rules and go back to read the verses leading up to Philippians 4:13, the picture gets a little clearer.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me .
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Why Christians Need To Read The Bible
In the 90s, there was a popular acronym for the BIBLE, which stood for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
And thats what the Bible is. Its our roadmap to how were supposed to live life on this earth as a representative of God and his son Jesus Christ.
The Bible has information on:
In short, the Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.
- The nature and character of God.
- The history of our faith.
- Who Jesus is and why he died for our sins.
- How we should interact with God and other people.
- Proper conduct and behavior for Christians.
The Apostel Pauls sums it up perfectly in his letter to Timothy, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. .
Now that weve covered what the Bible is and why its important to read it, lets talk about the best way to read the Bible.
The Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.
Bible Reading Tips 3 Great Prayers To Pray When Reading The Bible
When you read the Bible, it is always a good idea to pray, before, during and after opening the Word of God. The Bible is a supernatural book and you will need supernatural help to read and apply it.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to how to pray biblically while reading the Bible. Specifically, why should you pray? To answer that question, we turn to Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible and the passage of Scripture most devoted to Scripture, since almost every one of its 176 verses is about the Bible.
The psalmist includes many prayers in Psalm 119. Here are 3 great prayers to pray while reading the Bible. They are short and simple, but dont be fooled by their brevity, they are powerful and effective.
1 thank you
Some of the best sentences you can make are the shortest. There are only two words in this sentence, but isnt this a great way to start your conversation with God?
Of course, you should always let God know what you are thanking him for, and that is what the psalmist does in Psalm 119: 62: At midnight I rise to thank you for your righteous laws.
He is thanking God for his Word. Why not make this prayer a daily habit, because each day is a Thanksgiving day for the Christian? We have so much to be thankful for, and shouldnt the Bible be at or near the top of that list?
2. Teach me.
Heres another two word sentence. And its the most common prayer in Psalm 119, because it appears 10 times in this chapter! Isnt that amazing?
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How To Read The Bible In Context
- Jeremy Bouma
The Bible is not just any book. It is Gods Word to us, given using a number of literary genres, through the stories of a cast of rotating characters, and over the span of a few thousand years.
So how do we read such a book?
This question is important when picking up any document, from paperback to newspaper. You wouldnt read a historical novel on WWII the same way you would a nonfiction historical account of the same time. And we read the newspaper’s front page differently than the opinion-editorials .
How, then, should we read the Bible? It starts with context.
In Christ from Beginning to End, authors Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum outline six different contextsthree specific, three generalto help you read the Bible well. For Hunter and Wellum, understanding these 6 contexts is like reading the directions before playing a board game:
If you know the rules, the game will make sense and you might even enjoy it. But learning the rules can be a bit tedious and frustrating until you start to see how they fit into the larger game.
The same is true for the Bible. Grasping these rules will help you read the Bible in context and therefore help you better study the Bible.
Meditate For The Bible To Master You
Many people know passages of Scripture, but have not spent enough time meditating on them enough for the truth of the passages to penetrate deeply into their mind and heart.
In the book Change Your Heart, Change Your Life, Gary Smalley makes a compelling case for meditating on Scripture. He states that what we think about all day long, over long periods, eventually seeps into our heart as controlling beliefs. When we learn the right thoughts and mentally chew on them over and over, day after day, they lodge in our hearts as beliefs, and these beliefs become the controlling influences of our lives. If we do not think about Scripture enough, the truth of Scripture may be in our heads as knowledge but not in our hearts as deep, controlling beliefs.
Smalley challenges us to meditate, think about, ponder, and recite Scripture until the Scripture becomes a path in our minds and hearts . . . then ponder it some more until the Scripture becomes a road in our minds and hearts . . . then ponder it some more until it becomes a four-lane freeway. Then, and only then, will the Scripture migrate from information in our heads to deep, controlling beliefs in our hearts.
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Assuming Everything You Read Was Written To You
Everything in the Bible was written for you, but not everything in the Bible was written to you. Make sense? You were not the immediate audience for Scripture. Different parts of the Bible were written to different people: The Israelites, different kings, specific followers of God, certain groups of believers, Gentile nations, churches, and more. These original audiences were the first recipients of what God was writing. The Bible was written to them.
However, everything in the Bible is for us. It is for us to learn from and for us to know God through. Its for us to come to understand mankind and ourselves and for us to examples of how to live and how not to. Even though we werent there when Moses was giving the Law to Israel in the wilderness, there is a ton we can learn from those passages. Although we werent members of the churches of Ephesus, Philippi, or Colassae, we can still glean a huge amount of wisdom from the epistles. God didnt originally write the Gospels to us, but He did mean for us to be changed and taught by them.
How To Interpret Your Bible Correctly
Article ID: DI501-2 | By: Thomas A. Howe
This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 26, number 1 . For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to:
Hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation. In this two-part series, we are examining the principles that lead an interpreter to the correct meaning of the biblical text. In part one, we looked at the grammatical-historical approach to interpretation and stated the first three of five factors that should be considered while interpreting the Bible: the original languages of the Bible, the historical/cultural settings of the Bible, and the kinds of literature of the Bible. In part two, we will focus on the last two factors: the preunderstanding and presuppositions of the interpreter and the universal and particular principles of communication and understanding. We usually do not think about these last two factors when we study the Bible, but they always affect our interpretation. While discussing these factors, it will be necessary to use a few technical-sounding words, but I will explain them as clearly as I can.
THE PREUNDERSTANDING AND PRESUPPOSITIONS OF THE INTERPRETER
People from another culture, however, may not have the same understanding of the world as we have or hold the same values as we hold. Some aspects of their preunderstanding may be different from ours, which also affects how they interpret the Bible.
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