If you’re spending time with the Lord, how are you getting the most out of reading the Bible?
If you’re trying to cultivate a relationship with the Lord, one of the best things to do is as easy as reading the Bible.
The Bible is God’s Word. Let that soak in for a moment … it’s the Word.of.God.
If you want to get to know someone, knowing what someone says speaks volumes. And so it is with God’s Word.
To know what God is like – to discern His character, what He says is important, what is pleasing in His sight, what He has done and what He is going to do – it’s important to pay attention to His Word.
Getting to know God doesn’t need to be a mystery that’s hidden from us. He’s told us throughout the 66 books of the Bible.
And the way to find out is to actually spend time in the Word. Read it … often.
If you’re carving out time to spend with the Lord each day, make sure that a good part of that time is reading His Word.
What should I read?
If you know you want to read the Bible – where do you start?
- There’s always the cover to cover approach – start at the beginning and keep reading until the end.
- You could try the chronological approach. Either buy a chronological version of the Bible, or follow along Iva May’s Chronological Bible Teaching.
- If the Bible is new to you and you’d like to learn about Jesus, I recommend starting in the book of Mark (the second book of the New Testament). Four books of the New Testament detail Jesus’ life, and Mark is the shortest and quickest to read.
- If you’ve read the Bible before, you could focus on choosing a book that is currently interesting you. Need to cultivate wisdom in your life? Read Proverbs. (During months with 31 days, it’s fun to read through a chapter of Proverbs a day.) Want to learn more about your identity in Christ? Read Ephesians. Want to learn more about the early church? Read Luke and Acts.
- You could also read any books of the Bible that you’re currently studying in church or Bible study.
I do suggest knowing what you want to read ahead of time – don’t just flip open the Bible and randomly pick a few verses. Have a plan and methodically know what you’re reading.
Applying what you read
To get the most out of reading the Bible, it’s a lot like getting the most out of anything in life – you need to do something in response. And you need to apply it to your life.
One way to apply what you read is to include four action steps* in your daily reading:
Once you read your passage of Scripture for the day, stop and listen to what you’ve read. If you have a hard time understanding what was written, reread it.
Next, think about what was written. How does it apply to your life? Are there sins that need confessed? Areas of your life that need repentance? Since “the word of God is living and active … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart ” (Hebrews 4:12), be prepared to face your weaknesses. Be sure to repent.
Now that you know what the Bible says and have repented of any sin, how can you apply the truth of the Word to your life? Act on it. Follow the instruction of James 1:22 – “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
After you’ve been acting on what you’ve read, assess your life. Is obedience and action transforming your life? What do you need to change? What do you need to continue?
As you regularly read the Bible and begin to listen to what it says, repent of your sins, act on the truth, and assess your life, you’ll find that you’re cultivating a true relationship with the Lord. And that truly is the best part of getting the most out of reading the Bible.
If you’re working at getting the most out of reading the Bible, what is helpful for you?
* Thanks to Dr. Ryan Johnston for sharing his four-part Listen, Repent, Act, and Assess action plan.
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