A Few Things to Keep in Mind.
In today’s blog post I want us to stop and consider a few basic and practical tips in regards to Bible reading.
As Christians, to read the Bible – the Authoritative, Inerrant and Infallible Word of God – should be at the top of our priority list. Like I mentioned in the blog post about Why we read the Bible, the first and foremost reason to read the Bible is to know God – His character and His purposes. Isn’t this something that all Christians would want to know more about? God and His purposes?
Then why on earth is there such a plague of “Bible illiteracy” within the churches?
I want to encourage you today to pick up your Bible and read! When it gets hard – read!
When you don’t want to – read anyway! It will only be to your benefit.
I have compiled my own little list of practical advice and things to keep in mind with regards to Bible reading and study. Remember, I am not a professor of Hermeneutics but fortunately, to read our Lord’s Word, we don’t have to be.
- Remember it is God Himself that makes us willing and able.
If you are a new creation in Christ you have the Holy Spirit to guide and help you,
you have The Author of Scripture to help and guide you!
If you sincerely search for God and to know Him, He will guide you to find Him, He is faithful.
Hebrews 11:6; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8; Matthew 7:7-8
- I believe that it is good practice to start with Prayer.
This also correlates a little with the first point, pray and ask God to turn your heart to His decrees, to teach you the meaning of His statutes, to help you understand His instruction. – Psalm 119
Pray for wisdom and insight in regards to His word, because God gives generously and without reproach to all who asks. James 1:5; Matthew 7:7-8
And pray that God will send His Holy Spirit to help, guide and teach you and that He will help you to listen and accept His instruction. Isaiah 50:4-5; 2 Peter 1:20-21
- Keep in mind the Bible is clear.
Read the Bible in a natural way like any other book and trust that God says what He means and means what He says. I always say, in a light-hearted manner, that the Bible is not hard to understand but it is sometimes hard to swallow.
There is a principle in Theology called the Perspicuity of Scripture, this means the clarity of scripture – scripture is clear with respect to the essentials, the basic message of salvation will be understandable. This principle does not imply that everyone will always immediately understand everything in the Bible and its importance or relevance, but the crucial and essential message of salvation will be easy to find and grasp for anyone.
- Diligently seek and persist!
It may be daunting and it may be difficult but Practice makes Perfect. The more you read the more you would want to read and the longer you read the easier it will get as you start to form a habit. I know a big complaint about Bible reading is that people don’t have time. Well we mere human beings have this amazing super power…we can make time!
Firstly, if it is important we will find a way to make time, be scrappy and innovative in your Bible reading time if you have to. Do you have a 15 minute coffee break? Maybe you can read for 10 minutes? Driving to work or washing the dishes? Maybe listen attentively to an audio Bible? Do you have an extra 15 minutes in the morning or evening? If possible, maybe involve the whole family, allocate 20-30 minutes of quiet play time or reading time or specifically Bible reading time.
Bible reading time does not need to be this picture perfect quiet time that you might have in mind. Reading in an imperfect setting or at an imperfect time is better than never reading at all.
Secondly, I would like to add that Bible reading does not take as long as most people think.
It takes about 25 minutes to read the whole of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians – 6 chapters.
I’ve done my own little experiment and I found that it takes an average of 11 minutes to read 3 chapters.
- A little Organisation goes a long way.
It is a good idea to do a little bit of planning before hand. Determine a time that you will set aside for Bible reading each day beforehand. If you do not know where to start reading, why not get a Bible reading plan? I will suggest a few at the bottom of this blog, please go have a look.
My advice is always to reed one book at a time, I don’t mean in one sitting although that is possible with some shorter books in the Bible. I mean to start reading one book until finished and once finished to start with a new book in the Bible. Bible reading can be as simple as that.
One other small piece of advice I will give you is to stick to a good translation, stay away from paraphrase bibles even though they might have the word “translation” in the name. These paraphrase bibles seem to me to be more prevalent in English and less in other languages that do not have as many translations available as the English language does. English translations I can recommend are the ESV, NASV, KJV or CSB (or HCSB) NIV, NLT, NET there are more faithful English translations available.
Afrikaans translations I would recommend are 1953, 1983, NLV.
Our goal as diligent readers of God’s word is to have a translation, in our own language, as accurate, faithful and true to the original text as possible.
Understand that you, yes you, are able and equipped to read the Bible. No, you do not need any help other than the Holy Spirit and your own resolve to do it.
I hope and pray that you will feel motivated to start reading right-away, if you haven’t been reading the Bible in a while or that you will feel encouraged to continue if you have been diligently reading for some time.
The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Trusted Resources I Highly Recommend.
Unlocking the Bible: Overview OT – David Pawson – Free Video
Unlocking the Bible: Old Testament – David Pawson – Free Video Series
Unlocking the Bible: New Testament – David Pawson – Free Video Series
Knowing Scripture – R.C. Sproul – Video Series
Basic Bible Overview – R.C. Sproul – Free Article
Bible Reading Plans.
Bible Reading plan for Beginners – Free Word Document
Chronological Bible Reading Plan – One Year – Free Document – Highly Recommend
Bible in a Year by Ligonier Ministries – YouVersion Reading Plan
The Bible in a Year – YouVersion Reading Plan
Basic Bible Overview – R.C. Sproul – Take overview and read one book at a time