Thursday, July 27, 2006

Three Ways To Read Your Bible

To make a gross understatement, the Bible is a treasure trove! Though our hearts may, "Amen," still we all struggle to varying degrees with a lack of appetite for God's Word. Realizing there are several ways to approach the Scriptures may help us mine more treasures?

I have been helped exponentially by seeing three fundamental ways that every Christian (with access to a Bible) should approach his or her Bible. (This was passed along to me about 10 years ago from Clyde Cranford in one-on-one discipleship):

  • Leisure - This approach applies to all reading of the Bible for the fun of it! Ever thought of that? Like the latest novel, the Bible should be read for pure enjoyment. I never ceased to be amazed at how God tends to mess with me when I dare to leisure read portions of His Word!
Leisure reading the Bible includes common approaches that many may consider more appropriately labeled "devotional" but really fit best under leisure: "Through the Bible in a Year" reading plans; reading a chapter of the Bible a day; reading a familiar account from an OT narrative; etc.

J.I. Packer marks one of the most signifant spiritual experiences of his life to a time when he read through the book of Hebrews 10 times in one sitting. I'm sure we would all benefit from leisure reading the Bible more often. It is a fascinating book!
  • Study - This approach should not be neglected by any believer who has access to Bible study helps (If you are reading this post, then you have access to helps - it's called the World Wide Web). The study of Scripture can refer to serious academic rigor, but it need not always have such a connotation. When leisure reading God's Word, and you come across a difficult text, pausing to go to a commentary or an online sermon from respected conservative Bible preacher would fit under the category of study.
  • Devotional - Perhaps the most neglected approach, and shamefully so. This refers to meditation on God's Word. Approaching the Bible devotionally means more than reading a verse and saying a prayer. It means doing both simultaneously! Meditation, in short, is reading the Bible with God. Talking with God about His Word. Meditating on every word, phrase, verse, and complete thought. There are few joys like meditating, over a series of days (or months), through an entire book of the Bible. "Wow! I just read that book with God!" Talk about motivation to keep going!
So, are you approaching God's Word in at least these three ways? Begin enjoying God again through His Word!

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