Howe about … 9 steps to better Bible reading, part 2
First, make a plan to spend time in Scripture. Otherwise it doesn’t happen.
Second, go to Scripture believing it is the Word of God … because it is!!!
Third, eliminate distractions. Yes, this means one will need to turn off the television, radio, phone, x-box, children, etc. Unfortunately, one cannot always stop all distractions, but don’t intentionally build in distractions. A distraction by definition is “something that diverts attention” according to the Encarta Dictionary. The problem with allowing distractions, the ones that can be controlled, is that it will divert our attention away from the Lord … which was the very purpose of reading the Bible to begin with! This action is much easier to understand than it is to accomplish, but having distractions will really steal away the joy of spending time with God.
Fourth, pray. Ask the Spirit of God to grant understanding of what is read. Without the help of the Spirit of God, one cannot begin to understand the heart of God. Know that the Spirit of God desires to reveal truth to you, but He waits to be asked. Pray about where to read and how much to read. Because God is alive and active, He has a specific message that He wants people to discover. If unsure about where to read, do not despair. Start reading somewhere; literally anywhere. The heart of God can be discovered on any given page of the Bible!
Fifth, read. Read and reread the text. It takes reading multiple times to get the idea of what is going on usually. Read it slowly or read it out loud. Read the context. The context is often a chapter or two before and after the chapter one is reading. Sometimes, the context is the whole book. For example, some of the letters in the New Testament were written with the expectation that they would be read in a worship service all at once. These are good to try to read the whole book at once before one attempts to dig into a specific aspect of the passage. Read some cross references to see what other sections of the Bible are saying about the idea or topic. Cross references often reveal amazing and mind-blowing truths that one will discover when one digs through the cross references (often found in the margins of personal Bibles).
Sixth, ask questions. Ask questions about the passage. It is not sacrilegious or blasphemous to ask questions. On the contrary, questions reveal a desire to know truth. Basic questions are extremely helpful: who, what, where, when, and my favorite why. Who is the passage talking about, who is involved, or who is the author writing to? What is going on or what is the central message of this text? Where and when did this happen and how does that compare with today or here? Why was this written and why is this important? How does this help me know God? How should I respond to the message that I have just discovered? If questions arise that are not satisfactorily answered, bring them to another believer who might know. Bring them to a Bible study leader or even a pastor … these people love questions!
I hope you are daily seeking the God who loved us, created us, died for us, and wants to walk with us through the discipline of daily reading the Bible. What blessings you will discover as you spend this time with Him day by day! Blessings to you in your readings!
Justin began serving as the pastor at Faith in February of 2013. He is passionate about people having the opportunity to hear the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ.