Friday, August 26, 2011

How to read the Bible?

The Bible is unlike any other book for it is the very word of God. It is thick and intimidating--especially if you grew up like me with no foundational knowledge about it. I remember being attracted to it, but not know where to start. On more than one occasion, I played "Bible roulette" on the Gideon's Bible in just about every hotel room. Nothing really came out of it.

Often I am asked, "How, or what, should I read (in) the Bible?" There are books and books on hermeneutics. I don't want to go there in this post. Let's keep it simple. We are about to start a new month and I would love to give you something tangible that is guaranteed to grow your relationship with God.

Okay, in the morning start with Proverbs. Read the chapter that corresponds with the day of the month we are on. Now September only has 30 days, so you will have to read two chapters on the last day. Proverbs is all about wisdom. It hits about every area in life. Starting your day with a chapter of Proverbs will help you have godly wisdom at the forefront of your mind as you take on the day. You will be blessed if you do this year round!

I normally tell people to start a deeper study with Ephesians. It is in the New Testament. It is short and packed with all sorts of important stuff. It is simple to read and understand, yet it contains deep theological truths that you can chew on for a long time. I don't know how you like to study, but I would take on Ephesians later in the day...say sometime between lunch and bedtime. Read Ephesians everyday for the month of September. Don't freak out, it is only six chapters and you can read it in about 15 minutes. Reading it everyday you will notice that you almost memorize the book--you can think through it and it will be with you throughout the day even when you are not near your Bible.

Okay, now we know what we are going to read in September, let's check out the "how to" portion.

How should we read the Bible? Let me give you some quick tips:

1. Pray. Ask God to help you understand, to guide you, to soften your heart as you read His word. The Bible just isn't a is God's very word and we should seek Him for help before reading it.

2. Bring a pad and pen with you. As you read make notes. What things caught your attention? What don't you understand? What encouraged you? Actively engage what you are reading.

3. Buy a good study Bible and read the notes, the background information...anything that will help you understand the context of the text. I highly recommend the Life Application Study Bible. There are many out there and I am happy to help you find one that fits you. Just ask!

4. Close in prayer. Thank God for His word, ask Him for help to work through things you were convicted of--maybe confess sin that was exposed.

Hope this is helpful! Do it this September and let me know how it goes!

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