Spending time in God’s Word is absolutely essential for followers of Jesus! We spend time in the Bible for information, inspiration, transformation, spiritual growth, spiritual strength and power and for Jesus’ leadership in our lives.
So, how do we read the Bible?
The Bible is more than a book. It is the Word of God. It is a living book and as the Spirit of God works through the words, they can transform your life! Two approaches are most effective to help you get all you can from your reading.
What does this mean? What does it look like?
When we read deep, we spend a lot of time on a short passage — a chapter or less. We meditate on it. We are looking for two things in reading deeply: what does it mean? and how does it apply to my life? For example, we are told to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). The meaning is clear enough. But, one day you will read that passage and God will reveal someone in your life (an enemy) who has tormented you and perhaps your response was not loving! So, you have discovered the meaning and the application! Of course, God will expect you to treat that person just like Jesus would! He will prompt you to do something at that moment to express love to them.
It is good to have a pen and highlighter on hand when you read deep. Highlight passages, take notes, write down impressions and prayers. You can write in a journal or, if your Bible has room for notes, right next to the passage.
When you read deep, you must take your time. Make sure your thoughts don’t take you away! Stay with the passage, seek to understand. Some passages are difficult. Don’t get bogged down and don’t get discouraged! Stay with it.
This means we systematically read through the whole Bible. We cover more ground more quickly. The goal is to learn the content of each book and of the whole Bible.
How do you read the whole Bible? The answer depends on where you are spiritually. If you are just starting out, begin with a book like John. When you’re finished you can read Matthew or Mark. If you have never read the entire New Testament but have read a few New Testament books, start reading in Matthew and read clear through to Revelation. If you have read the New Testament, it is probably time to read the whole Bible — Genesis to Revelation! You can find lots of Bible reading plans on line as well. If you are really stuck you can contact me here. I would be happy to give you individual guidance in this area.
So, every day, read a portion of scripture deep and another portion wide. Start today and never stop! The more you read both deep and wide, the more you will want to read! The more you read, the more you’ll grow. The more you read, the more clearly you will see Jesus’ leadership. The more you read, the more like Jesus you will become. You will be inspired, strengthened and transformed!
Stay with it! No matter what!!
So, right now — decide what you are going to do — Where will you read deep? Where will you read wide? And start reading!!