Psalm 36:9, “for with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”
The goal is to challenge you toward your Bible and to help you handle it better. The issue is the Word: it gives light and understanding to the simple. The Lord must move us to this. He is our teacher. This book is for the believer--written for the layman in the church. That is YOU!
What is the significance of the Bible?
- It produces spiritual birth--1 Peter 1:23-25; Romans 10:17.
- It promises spiritual transformation—Psalm 19:7; Acts 13; Jeremiah 15:16; Galatians 3:1.
- It promotes spiritual maturity—Hebrews 5:11-14.
If we grasp the significance of the Bible and what it produces, promises, and promotes, the next step is to ask:
- Why do I not read my Bible well?
- May not be saved--1 Corinthians 2:13-16.
- May be harboring sin—Psalm 119:9-11.
- May not understand--Acts 18:24-28.
- May have been improperly taught, 2 Peter 3:15-18.
- May not have the right motive--1 Corinthians 8:1-3.
Some people can’t be told anything because they know it all--just knowing “puffs up.” You must ask, “Why do I want to know truth--my Bible?” Is it just for information, or is it to know Christ--to see God?
2. What should I be aware of when I read?
- God chose to speak to man; He is a communicating God.
- He used various circumstances and methods of speech. Just take Exodus and the issue is the presence of God--the very thing that was sweet in Genesis 2. Moses got it, but the people did not.
- God personally superintended the written record of His speech, and we have it!
3. Is there a basic pattern (framework) of reading my Bible? Absolutely!
- You must understand the message. God wrote and scribes copied and translators translated. Now YOU have to take it and read it, and the first thing that must happen when you read is that you must understand the message. Remember, many won’t understand, and so they twist the Scriptures and that to their own destruction.
- Do you understand the meaning of the message? It is not enough to just get the message. You also need to get the meaning. You look at the words in their context and discover their definitions. Why? Because you may grasp the message in its context but the meaning will help nail down the third step.
- What is the application? What does this mean to me?
This is where most will start--“what do these few verses mean to me?” The problem with that is that the first two steps have been ignored.
So the foundational questions we must ask as we read our Bible are:
- What does the text say?
- What does the text mean?
- How does the text apply?
Reading is a learned discipline; and when that is developed, it becomes the fabric of your life.
5 Elements of good reading:
- Read with Spirit guidance, 2 Corinthians 3:14-18.
- Read with purpose: a) Where is your spiritual interest? b) Your mind will move your spiritual interest; c) As pushed by the Spirit.
- Read with structure: a) Read the preface; b) Get an overview of the book--get a sense of the book; c) Look for themes in the book; d) Look for sections and parts of the book; e) You have to have something to hold onto.
- Read with variety—translations: a) Formal translations—word-for-word; b) Dynamic translations—give the sense of the writer/text.
- Read with reflection: a) Take a pen and highlighter and pad; b) Write things down as they come to mind while you are reading; c) Engage your mind by reflecting.
3 Things to consider:
- Good reading begins with the heart not the eyes!
- Good reading is a disciplined work!
- Good reading has deep and lasting spiritual rewards.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not heaven. . . nor is it beyond the sea . . . but the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14.