There is no denying that the Bible can be a difficult and confusing read, but we all know that it is an important book and one that we, as Christians, should be reading. We read in Acts 2:42 that the first believers “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching…”, we see that throughout Jesus’ ministry He used the Scriptures to open people’s eyes to God’s redemptive plan. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “all scripture is breathed out by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. It is very difficult to deny the weight of importance placed upon the Bible for the Christian believer…but that still doesn’t change the fact that the Bible is a challenge to many of us. So how do we read the Bible?
Well, throughout Christian history the four most prominent ways of reading the Bible are:
- Large chunks audibly
- Lectio Divina – A prayerful/meditative reading of short passages.
- Memorisation – Memorising sections of scripture bits at a time, allowing them to really take root within you
- Biblical Study – Looking deeply into a passage/chapter of scripture to understand the cultural background, the intentions of the author, the reasons for the book being written etc.
Below are some different practices for you to do to help you make Bible reading a habit in your lifestyle.
- Use the BREAD acronym to help you be transformed by scripture (Breathe (invite Holy Spirit to come as you take a minute in stillness), Read a short passage of scripture, Encounter (what part/verse/word jumps out or stirs within you? Pray into this), Apply (what difference is this going to make to you?), Dedicate (give the day/week over to God in prayer))
- Download the Youversion Bible app on your smartphone – this has loads of different Bible reading plans – from Bible in a Year, to going through the psalms; there’s hundreds to choose from.
- Carve out a time every day to read the Bible – do you need to get up earlier? Sacrifice some of your social media/TV time? (Did you know (on an iPhone at least) you can set a downtime on your apps so you can’t access them during a certain time? – this could be helpful to keep you focussed)
- Read scripture audibly in a group or as a family. Take time to just listen as other’s read and let the words soak into you
- Pick a passage of scripture and study it – read some commentaries around that passage and see if you notice anything new or if it gives you a new perspective on the text.
These are just a few ideas, the most important thing is to read the Bible and to come at it with an openness to encounter God – even if you don’t understand what you are reading, pray into it anyway and ask God to help you; posture is more important that technique, the Bible is for transformation more than information.
You won’t always encounter God, or even like what you read, but read it anyway because it always makes a difference.
Below are firstly some questions for you to think about, discuss in homegroups and/or with friends and family and then there are a few resources to help you in your and your families Bible reading:
- Do you have a specific time you read the Bible? When do you find it most helpful to read it?
- What do you find hardest about reading your Bible?
- What, if any, of the practices have you been attempting this week? How’s it going?
- Is there anything that you think would help you in your Bible reading?
- What resources have you used that you have found really helpful?
Some recommended reading: