Mark Alan Williams
3 Wonderful Ways To Read The Bible
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
2 Helpful and 1 Remarkable.
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Do you read the Bible regularly? According to a study done in 2014 by Pew Research, in the USA 35% of Americans say they read the Bible at least once a week. 45% seldom or never read it.
For me, reading the Bible is essential as a daily practice of my Christian life. How can I not read it since it is the primary way that God reveals Himself to us?
But it is not enough to simply read the Bible. We must read it in the right way. And in the end, there are a couple of helpful ways to read the Bible, but only one remarkable and appropriate way to read it.
Here are 3 wonderful ways to read the Bible, 2 of them helpful and 1 of them absolutely remarkable:
1. Reading for Information
Knowing the stories, references and teachings of the Bible is vital to a proper education. The Washington Times reported:
Almost without exception, English professors, we surveyed at major American colleges and universities see knowledge of the Bible as a deeply important part of a good education. The virtual unanimity and depth of their responses on this question are striking. The Bible is not only a sacred scripture to millions of Americans, it is also arguably (as one Northwestern professor stated), the “most influential text of all of Western culture.”
This is because Western art, culture and literature is steeped in biblical references. To understand them it is important to understand the information in the Bible.
So, reading the Bible to understand its teaching, history, and stories, is crucial.
But to read the Bible only for information, while important, is inadequate. Indeed, the Bible and Christianity have shaped the world. But that is because they have shaped individuals. If we read only for information, we have missed the full impact of the Bible to change our lives.
2. Reading for Inspiration
Many people love to read the Bible for its inspiration. I’m one of them. I’m deeply inspired by passages such as the 23rd Psalm with all its encouragement, such as this:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 KJV)
Every day I remember other inspiring passages such as the words of Paul,
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 WEB)
Anyone who is not drawing inspiration from the Bible is missing a tremendous resource. Captain James E. Ray of the US Air Force learned this during 6 years as a POW in Vietnam. In his memoir titled The Secret of Our Survival: A Former Vietnam POW’s Story of Faith, he recounts how one day a prisoner in the next cell asked if he knew the 23rd Psalm:
I began whispering it. He’d repeat each line after me. A little later he whispered the entire Psalm back to me…Other prisoners joined in, sharing verses they knew. Through these contacts a fellowship grew among us. I didn’t feel so alone any more…[O]ur common denominators were the Bible and Jesus Christ, and we were able to share and write down a great deal of Scripture. For by now it had become vital to our daily existence. Often racked with dysentery, weakened by the diet of rice and thin cabbage and pumpkin soup, our physical bodies had shrunk within the prison walls. We spent 20 hours a day locked in our cells. And those Bible verses became rays of light, constant assurances of His Love and care.
Indeed, the Bible can become a superb source of comfort and assurance. Those who don’t find its inspiration have lost out on a wonderful resource.
However, if we read only for inspiration, we have missed the full impact of the Bible.
3. Reading for Transformation
The best way to read the Bible is not just for information or inspiration. It is for transformation. This is where it is most powerful:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
God didn’t give us the Bible just for information and inspiration. He wants to transform our lives through it. If you haven’t been transformed thoroughly by Scripture, don’t miss out on this incredibly life-shaping resource.
Perhaps you’re tried reading the Bible, but haven’t found it transforming yet. I understand. I’ve struggled sometimes with the same problem. And I have two suggestions:
Read the easier to apply passages first.
Parts of the Bible are written more for historical record than transformation. They’re still God’s Word, but not as applicable to everyday life today. So, read them later, but start with easy-to-apply books of the Bible such as: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 John the Psalms, and Proverbs.
Read for one thought.
This way of Bible reading starts with a prayer that God, through His Holy Spirit, will provide one thought of transformation for your life. After praying, read the Bible until you find the “one thought” that God wants to transform your life from your Bible reading today. You might need to read as much as a chapter or two, or as little as one verse. Then pray again and throughout the day, asking God to help you apply that one thought to transform your life starting today.
God wants to transform your life through His Word. As you cooperate with Him, He will do it!
One caveat: If you’re not yet a follower of Christ, that’s the place to begin. You can learn how to become a Christian HERE.
We are about to release the first quarter of Discipleship Journeys with Jesus (DJJ) Bible studies. They’re designed to help you let the Bible truly transform your life.
Please go to our website HERE to learn about DJJ. Subscribe to our updates to keep in touch with developments of our materials for spiritual growth by clicking HERE.
What do you think? Are these good reasons to have a strategy for spiritual growth? Are there other reasons why you need a strategy for spiritual growth?
Your thoughts are welcome! Please leave your comment below.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
3 Contradictions of ScriptureHave You Written Your Own Bible?
Podcast: How do we know we have the right books in the Bible?
Video vlog: Twisting Scripture
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