Monday, June 6, 2011

How to read the Bible

Yesterday, I met a young lady at the cross who called me on my challenge to read the Bible. Her concern? I don't know how to. I read it and don't understand it. So what should I do? It was a great question and her hunger for learning was inspiring. So, here's what I told her with some other tips thrown in. You know it really is important to read these 66 books that make up one book - the written word of God. Try some of these easy ideas for getting the most out of your Bible time.

Read Mark (the shortest and most straightforward of the gospels) and simply keep a notebook and pen handy to write down all the stuff you learn about Jesus as you read. Before you read, ask God to show you His Son clearly and then read. When you come to something about Jesus, or that Jesus says, or that Jesus does - make a note about what you learn about him. For instance when he heals lepers, you may write, "Jesus cares about sick people." After you finish the book you will have dozens of things you have learned about Jesus and after all He is the focus of our faith. You might go back and review some of your favorite verses about HIM.

Next, I suggested the reading of James. Probably the most practical Christian living book in the New Testament. With James, I suggest reading through in the same way, but this time writing down everytime you learn something about how a Christian should live. For example, when you read "pure religion is to keep oneself pure and to care for orphans and widows"; you may write "A Christian should live a pure life and care for those who can't care for themselves". Again, when you are finished you should have a dozen or so things that you can pray about. Those two should get you started. Here are some other simple ones:

Get a Bible concordance and look up a word like "faith". Read all the Scriptures that have faith in it (this word will be a long list, so you may pick 5 or 6). Write what you learn about faith. You can do this with literally hundreds of words (money, anger, divorce, love, sharing, hope, crying, satan, etc... are just a few).

Get a Bible that is easy to read and one that has helpful notes at the bottom or in the margin. As you read, read the notes that go with each verse for explanation (I personally like and use the NIV study Bible)

When you read a verse that you don't understand write down what you don't understand about it and ask a Pastor (I know one who'd be glad to help, along with most pastors I know:-).

Go to our website for a daily Scripture with devotion.

However you start, let me encourage you to start. God's word is a really powerful tool that we have to help us grow in our faith.


Wayne said...

Mike, For those of us who are "gadget" people, I've been using an Android app called "You Version" Bible that is available free through the Android Market. This app gives readers access to multiple versions of the Bible and has some great reading plans to guide you through the entire Bible, portions of the Bible (i.e. the Gospels, Paul's letters, Psalms and Proverbs, etc.) or several topical studies. These reading plans allow you to track daily readings, catch up if you get behind or read ahead when the Spirit really grabs hold of you. I've found it to be a really useful tool to help keep me in the Word every day. It's also a great way to grab a few minutes with God in an airport, over lunch, waiting to get oil changed in the car, etc.

Great sermon yesterday! We are so blessed that God's work at Eastview includes the privilege to listen to solid, biblical teaching every Sunday!

Mike Baker said...

thanks for the great idea on "you version" and great encouragement Wayne. God bless you brother.

Lisa said...

Mike, I am working through a Chronological version of the bible. For those of us who haven't had all the training and sunday school under our belts that we wish we would have, it is a nice way to keep things in order and the good part is, it reads more like a story book, thus keeping one's attention.

I also agree with Wayne...I love You Version, it's great for bible study when you quickly want to look up a verse, or for the reading plans...all kinds of versions available. You can even bookmark the verses that your senior pastor suggests in the notes on Sunday! :)

Great sermon yesterday!

Love ya!