Friends, it’s official, I have read the Bible in one year thanks to the Christ Church Ladies Fellowship Bible Reading Challenge! A year ago, I would have never guessed that I would prioritize being in the Word on a daily basis. And I don’t plan on stopping now! This past year, the Word of God has worked, fed, transformed and sustained me. God’s word is alive!
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Reading the Bible has been a long trail with some easy parts and some hard parts. The Old Testament can be hard to push through sometimes. But by being in the Word (almost daily), I began to see the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Even through reading the passages that are long and hard, the diamonds we can find are definitely worth it!
Now, I have arrived at the top of the mountain with the most amazing view: God’s redemptive story laid out before us. The Bible is the foundation in which we learn about God and His plans for the world. From Genesis to Revelation, one main story line, “the reconciling of all things to Himself, whether things on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of Jesus’ cross.” (Col. 1:20). And this not only makes us know the Lord and understand the beauty of this story, but we come to love Him more.
Importance Of Reading The Bible
Spending time with God and reading His word is the most important part of our day. God desires for us to make reading His Word a priority. God speaks to us through His Word. Scripture is God-breathed (Hebrews 4:12), it is a complete source of truth. It is the seed for your growth in your faith and relationship with Him.
Reading the Bible and applying what it says invites Jesus to work in your life. Bible reading is meant to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we understand the importance of reading the Bible consistently, we come to cherish Him, treasure Him, know Him, enjoy Him, and trust Him. We, as believers, can be totally secure in Christ.
The Power of the Word of God
We read the Bible and we believe it. The Bible is a book full of promises and truths concerning who God is and what He does. The Bible transforms us to reflect the image of Christ in every area of our lives. As we read the Bible, God grows us in godliness. We see His conduct, His concerns, and His desires. And so we advance in proclaiming the power of the Word of God. We are God’s people and we have been redeemed and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
Our lives depend on the Word of God as much as we depend on oxygen and water to live. It is the nourishment for our souls. So we continue to pick up the Bible each day knowing that it will not be in vain. We take the book of God and read it, meditate on it, pray it and continue to be transformed by it. As we read the Word of God, we learn the truth that our Father works all things together for our good and the glory of His name (Romans 8:28).
Drawing Near To God
God, in His mercy, draws us closer to Him and when you respond, a table will be set before you, the eternal Bread will be there, His Word laid open, and you will be filled with all that is good. He will take care of you, tend to you and feed you, and you will long to be satisfied by His Word. You will taste and see that the Lord is good and that His Word is life. You will not want to go a day without it. That’s not to say that you can’t give yourself some grace when you do miss a day or two. The Word will be waiting there to fill you up when you pick it back up and read it again.
We now can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence in the glorious name of Jesus Christ, knowing that He is our Heavenly Father who has compassion on us and delights to be in an intimate relationship with us. He hears our prayers and answers them. When we sin, we have no fear of condemnation but come humbly before our Father, and through the works and merits of Jesus Christ, we repent and embrace God’s grace and forgiveness.
Learning How To Read the Bible
It’s not a secret that reading the Bible can be intimidating and overwhelming at first. You may find yourself asking questions like: “Where do I even start?” “What is the best way to read the Bible?” “How could I possibly find time to read the Bible?”
The good news is that learning how to read the Bible does not have to be that difficult or complicated. Even for beginners! Don’t be afraid to take it slow to really understand what you are reading, not just rushing to skim over it. It’s okay if you have to go back and read portions over again. I know that when I do, God, in His goodness, always reveals something different to me. While you’re taking your time, Bible Journalingcan really help to improve your understanding and knowledge of God’s Word. Honestly, it doesn’t matter when or where you read the Bible, only that you do it consistently and commit to reading little by little each day.
Most importantly, pray before you start and ask God to speak to you. Ask God to help you understand His Word. Ask God to teach you, direct you and even redirect you, when necessary. God loves to reveal himself to those who seek Him.
Choosing A Study Bible
If we don’t understand a book, we certainly are not going to be inspired to continually pick it up and read it. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, which most of us don’t know. Today, we are blessed to have a variety of translations in multiple languages to choose from.
Study Bibles are super common and you can find them in just about any translation. Study Bibles are great because they contain additional information about the history and culture in which the passage was written to help contextualize your reading and studying. These resources help explain things you might otherwise miss or not understand.
Start a Bible Study
While this is certainly not mandatory, a good Bible study can be really helpful for understanding what you’re reading and how to apply it to your own life. I loved going along with the Christ Church Ladies Fellowship Bible Reading Challenge but there are plenty of other good Bible studies out there that you can choose from. You can find them on just about any topic or for any book of the Bible.
You need to discern which Bible study will help you walk away with a deeper understanding of God’s Word. Choose a Bible study that views and engages with God’s Word exactly as being the actual word of God. You want to follow a study that uses sound doctrine and solid principles of interpretation.
Reflect On What You Are Reading
Another reason why you might want to take it slow is that it gives you time to stop and reflect on what you are reading. The questions you ask will vary on which portion of the Bible you are reading. While we may experience some self-discovery in the process, this must not be the focus of our study. The focus must be on God himself. I love how Jennifer Wilkin approaches reflecting on what we are reading:
- What does this passage teach me about God?
- How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self?
- What should I do in response?
Kari Folmar also has good insight into an inductive study by “reading the passage in context and asking questions of the text with the purpose of deriving the meaning and significance from the text itself.” Here are some questions that can help you interpret the main point of the text and apply the passage to our own lives.
- How does the surrounding context of the passage shed light on its meaning?
- How does the passage fit within the Bible’s teaching as a whole?
- What is the main point of the passage?
- If an Old Testament passage: how does this passage relate to Christ and his work on the cross?
- Did I learn something new about God, his ways, his character, his plans, and his priorities? If so, how should I be living in light of this truth?
- Do I need to change my beliefs based on this passage, or is a truth reinforced?
- How should I pray based on this passage?
- Do I see a sin for which I need to repent?
- Is there an encouragement or promise on which I need to dwell?
What this will do is teach you an important passage of the Bible in a way that will stay with you for years to come. God has revealed himself to us through the work of His Son and by the words of Scripture. Reflecting on what you are reading will aid you in the worthy task of God-discovery and will move you to love Him with your heart, mind, and soul.
If you haven’t already caught on, the Bible is a wonderful book full of truth and is worth studying for a lifetime. There is no part of our lives that the Bible does not speak to. The Bible has the ability to transform us from the inside out. It changes the way we think, we believe and even what we desire. Ultimately, we study the Bible so that we can know Christ, repent, be forgiven, and proclaim Him to the nations.
“Lord thank you that your Word is true and alive. Let your Word permeate every area of our lives so that we can know you and your character. We ask that you help us to come to Your Word daily with an open and humble heart willing to learn your ways and walk in obedience before you.”
I would love to know if you have any tips or tricks to consistently read the Bible.