Reading God’s Word provides instruction, wisdom, peace, and helps put things in correct alignment. When speaking with others, I have been told that they want to read the Bible but are unsure as to how to start or that when it is read, it is not easily understood. Here are some things I have learned to do which have helped when reading the Bible:
Begin with Prayer
I realize that this may sound cliché, but I have learned that prayer is powerful and greatly influences the meaningfulness I have in my reading the Bible. I have prayed to God and asked Him to help me understand His Word. It can be something like:
“Lord, I thank you for your Word which provides instructions, peace, healing, and restoration for my life. I ask that you open my eyes and help me to understand the passages that I am reading. Please make clear to me what is unclear as I begin reading the Bible today”
Within the prayer, I also include asking God to speak to me personally through His Word. I ask him to bring to my memory any challenges, victories, or instructions He may have for me for that day. As a result of praying this type of prayer, I have had greater clarity and understanding when reading the Bible. Passages are more greatly highlighted which have given me instruction, comfort, or even helped me to change the perspective that I may have of myself or a situation that I may be in. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I have found this verse to be true when reading the Bible and seeing the words jump from the page.
Select a Book to Read
If you are a Christian who has just starting out, I would suggest that you begin with the New Testament. More specifically, the book of John. Don't be afraid to read it in chunks. It may be more meaningful to read passages of Scripture versus chapters. Also, be flexible in how you read the Bible because one word may stand out to you versus reading the chapter. When reading the passage, ask yourself:
- What is standing out to me as I read this? What is meaningful to me?
- Why did what I read stand out to me? Why is this important?
- How will this change my life? How is this important with any successes or challenges in what I am currently facing?
- After reading this passage or chapter, how should I pray this new information into my life?
Record Your Discoveries
I have found greater revelations when I record what I have discovered or learned during my time reading the Bible. Journaling has been helpful but I have also recorded information electronically as well This way, if I am going through a difficult time, I can have a systematic way of reading (or listening to ) past notes that have helped me to remember or recall ways that God wants me to move past my current challenges that I may be facing.
These steps sound simple but can be life changing. Try it! I agree with the Apostle Paul when he said, “That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10) As you begin to read God’s Word, you will have a greater understanding of your identity in Christ and how much He authentically loves you.