Reading the bible can be overwhelming. The sheer size of it could be intimidating. Then there’s all those hard to pronounce names.
I think it is fascinating that God allowed His Word to be written on a level that a child can understand its value and yet scholars could never exhaust its meaning. It contains prose, poetry, history, law, and prophecy. And yet it is so much more than a collection of good stories. It contains the power to transform lives, even your life. But how do you get started?
You could read it cover to cover or read it as it historically unfolded (see yesterday’s link to various reading plans). However you read it, understand that it is the revelation of who God is and His very good plan for you! Let this be the backdrop of every page you read. You can ask yourself, “What does this reveal about God’s nature?” “And what does this reveal about me?”
Many people use the Inductive Study Method which asks three questions of each passage. It might be helpful to keep a journal of these questions and your responses as you read the bible. For example, consider the opening verses of the bible found in Genesis 1:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
“What does it say?” Literally, what do the words say? Try to summarize the passage in your own words. For example, God created the heavens and the earth. He spoke and light was created.
“What does it mean?” This passage tells the story of how God, in awesome power, created the world from nothing. He is the source of creation.
“How do I apply this?” Y
think about the power of God to create the heavens and the earth, and can create light itself just by speaking. You might wonder at such a powerful God who created you, who knows you, and who loves you. Instead of fumbling through each day mindlessly, decide to spend some time every day pondering the wonder of God’s creation and who He is, and who you are in His sight. How might the God who created the universe move powerfully in the presence of the problems you face and the questions you have?
The point isn’t to understand everything that is written. Nobody ever has. The point is to read God’s love letter to you to help you draw closer to Him and to discover his plan and His power for your life. Reading his Word daily will do that. Enjoy the process of drawing near. You are on the adventure of your life!