(pssst……Look for a chance to win a free gift at the end of this post!)
But the fact is, that not everyone reads the Bible, even Christians with strong faith. Why? Actually we can come up with lots of excuses, such as…. it can be confusing! It can be intimidating. It can challenge our intellectual intelligence and even cause us to doubt our grammar skills as we muddle through all the names of biblical characters and cities. It isnt in order of events. It is often repetitive. It doesnt apply to real life. I am already a Christian. I already know the Gospel.
Lets be honest now – have you ever found yourself thinking or saying any of those excuses? I know I have!
However, God has certainly done a work in my heart over recent years when it comes to reading His Word. The Bible no longer seems like this looming responsibility hanging over my head, sitting on the coffee table collecting dust, eerily calling out my name, making me feel guilty and faith-less because I dont grab it for pleasure reading. Now I realize that the Bible is a treasure, and it is alive with Gods Word, packed with more action than Indiana Jones and more passionate love stories than The Notebook!
Sometimes people are under the impression that the time they spend at church, fellowshipping with Christian friends, praying, daily email devotions, and reading inspirational books is surely sufficient for getting a strong dose of Gods Word – but nothing is a viable substitute for the real thing.
Are we actually told in the Bible that we should read the Bible? Yes! Lets look at a few examples:
John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (NIV)
Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (NIV)
These verses above are just a few of the countless verses in the Bible that reiterate that we are to spend time in Gods Word. But for some people, this truth can cause immediate stress! Some people begin condemning themselves because they dont read the Bible, even if due to simply not knowing where to start.
If that describes you, then help is on the way! Here are a few tips to get started on learning how to read the Bible:
* My P31 sister, Wendy Blight, is beginning an on-line bible study on her new book Hidden Joy. Moody Publishing is providing ten free copies of the book for the first ten people who sign up for the study. The study will begin on June 17th and go through the summer. Wednesday will be the day that Wendy post her thoughts on the chapter for the week and the questions. Visit Wendys blog for all the details on how to get involved!
* Pray before opening Gods Word. Ask for discernment to apply His Word to your life.
* If something seems confusing, read that passage several times. Read some
commentaries on line to help discover the true meanings.
* Dont try to read large amounts of the Bible all at once.
* Start with the New Testament first (people who try to start with Genesis, usually never continue reading through to Revelation). Below is an idea you can try:
-Read “Luke” then “Acts.”
-Then read the rest of the New Testament starting at Romans and going to
-Then you can back and read the Old Testament.
* Purchase a Chronological Bible, where the Bible stories are actually arranged in the order in which they occurred,with designated daily readings to help keep you on track.
* Purchase a Devotional Bible for Women.
* Form a small bible study group; pick one book of the Bible or a few chapters, per week or month, and read and discuss the details.
* Join a bible study at your church, and dont get intimated by the titles or the authors.
* Do a topical study for yourself; look up words like hope, faith, anger, or topics that are applicable to current struggles in your life.
* Keep a journal of what God leads you to read and what verses seem to jump off the page; keep track of prayers and answered prayers; this is very motivating when you find yourself in a reading rut.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Still wondering if you should start reading the Bible consistently? Here are a few other reasons to consider.
Because Gods Word is alive, and the more you expose yourself to it, the more God will expose Himself to you through it. The Bible is His message to us, and if we want Him to hear what we have to say, we should also listen to what He has to say.
Because God speaks to us in varied ways that we can understand, and can also speak directly to our hearts, but if we have His written Word in our hearts and minds, we will better be able to judge whether it is His voice we are hearing, or just the enemy trying to deceive us.
Above all, because God wants a relationship with us, and He is not going to love us any more or any less because we do or dont spend time in His Word. Reading the Bible is for our own gain, and helps us grow spiritually.
The best way to get started with reading the Bible, is to take that first step, whatever the best first step is for you, and just get started! Your increased faith and closer relationship with Christ will be well worth the effort!
** I will have a drawing on Friday for everyone who subscribes to my blog today! Just look for the side bar on the left of the screen to find the subscribe button. The winner will receive a free copy of a book called The Asended Life: When the Position Becomes A Relationship, written by Bernita Conway. it is a great first step to taking your faith walk to the next level!