How Should I Read the Bible?

1. Read it personally.
The more you get to know the Author, the more you will love and cherish the Bible. Think about the last love letter you received from your sweetheart. Did you toss it in your "to do later" box?" Did you read one line and then decide it wasn't worth your time?  My guess is that you read it - and then read it again.  You probably thought over every word ("What exactly did she mean when she said 'Dear' Dan...")

The Bible is God's "love letter" to us - so we ought to read it with the same -- perhaps even greater -- interest.

2. Read it prayerfully.
Before you dive into the Book, ask the Author to help unlock the meaning for you. One practical way to do this is to "pray through" a particular passage. Take a Psalm, for example, and pray each verse back to God, personalizing it. You will find that you won't have enough time to pray all that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind!

3. Read it eagerly.
The Bible is meant to be read with a sense of anticipation of God's work in your life. When you open up the Bible, are you excited by what God might teach you through it? Do you read with expectations of hearing the voice of the Almighty? Proverbs compares the Word of God to a great mine, where there are many fine treasures buried deep in every layer. Our job as readers of the Bible is to "dig" deep into that mine, eagerly awaiting the next jewel of life-changing truth we find!

4. Read it with humility.
Approach the Bible with a deep sense of your own need for a greater knowledge of God--a sense of your own sin and your own dependence upon God. Much of the Bible is difficult to grasp--have enough humility to ask for God's help.

5. Read it continuously.
The Bible likens itself to food--spiritual food for the soul. Physically, most of us don't have any problem remembering to eat on a daily basis. Yet, in the spiritual realm, many people go for days or weeks without the soul-nourishing Word of God. Set a time of day (perhaps first thing when you get up, or during your lunch hour, or right before bed) that you could spend simply reading a chapter of the Bible.

6. Read it carefully.
The Word of God is a serious book. Acceptance of its message determines the eternity of every human soul. It deserves a careful and serious study. Take parts of God's Word and simply meditate on them (chew on them). Think through the what God is saying in a given passage. Be careful to treat it with respect and to read things in the proper context. Be careful not to twist what you read to make it say what you want.

7. Read it obediently.
The Bible is not meant for mere reading. It is meant for obeying -- life application of the principles. God makes it clear that to be a reader only is really a waste of time. Obedience is the key (Luke 6:46-49). 

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25)


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