Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
Do you read your Bible? I mean really sit down without distractions and read it? We call it “The Holy Bible” because it is God’s Word set apart from all other books.
Many people, many Christians, do not read the Bible because they believe they do not have enough time, or they do not understand it. Let’s be honest. Most Christians spend many hours watching TV, going to sports events, or some other form of recreation. These are not a problem in themselves – these too are gifts from God. But, our preferring them over our relationship with God is the problem.
We read Scripture naturally (see, hear, think, evaluate, remember, research, etc.). However, it is through the spiritual help and guidance of the Holy Spirit that our spiritual eyes are opened to the supernatural, life-giving truth of God’s living Word. Your Bible is a book made of paper and ink; it is not magic. Those words recorded by human authors came from the same God that spoke everything into being. What comes from the Spirit of God are things that you and I can’t find out on our own. We must pray for illumination before and after we read Scripture. Here are some suggestions for help in reading the Bible.
• Be mindful of the authors meaning when you read Scripture. The Bible was written for us, but not to us. We read about reality as it was in order to understand our objective reality now.
• Read actively not passively. Ask questions about words, phrases, context, meaning, application and connections to other parts of the Bible. As Christians, we must not only read the Bible, we must study the Bible. Good teaching about the Bible in the form of commentaries, books, sermons, study Bibles, blogs, etc. are a gift from God for the good of His church.
• Meditation is important in reflection on God’s Word.
• Find someone to read with either a family member or at church.
• Make a time every day that all you do is read, pray and meditate and reflect.
• Have a place, whether it is your recliner or a desk to have a Bible and other resources.
• Pray that God will reveal the meaning of his Word and guide you in it.
Reading the Bible is not a matter of me and my Bible. Yes, we must do the daily work of praying, reading, and study, but, ultimately, we need to discuss and share with the community and family of believers that make up the body of Christ. Your gifts are needed to help those around you flourish. In our adoption into the family of God, we are connected to not only believers across the world, but the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us throughout history.