A question I often get is how do I read the Bible? Whenever I got that question in the past I would scratch my head and a myriad of follow up questions would pop into my head. They would go something like this; you do know how to open a book right, you know the Bible is translated into English, and can’t you read English? Despite these snarky inner thoughts I would tell them to start in this book over that book or to stay away from these books. Now that I have become a little more mature in my faith I realized that in fact 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is true. Any and all books of the Bible are good for reading by any and all Christians. Truth is contained in every book of God’s great epic and as such we are missing something if we avoid certain books because they are “dull” or “dry”. All that being said I have developed a simple way to approach reading scripture. I love acronyms and they help me remember important lessons. So when approaching scripture remember BIBLE.
Be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. Scripture is not a static thing it is living and active. Have you ever heard someone read scripture in a monotone voice? I think many of us read scripture that way when were alone. My request is that you stop doing that; because when you realize scripture is alive you are then prepared for the Holy Spirit to use it. Many are weary of the Spirit but we should remember the Holy Spirit is a comforter. Part of this step is removing your preconceived notions of what a passage means. The Holy Spirit may inflict one word more than another; Scripture is not a monotone text, it is full of passion and power. We must let the Spirit highlight what is needed for that day in that moment for your life position.
Interact with the text. Do not be afraid to ask questions, circle words, underline, draw arrows, and be confused. One helpful thing I have learned is that it is ok to mark up the text. In doing this you notice themes you didn’t see before. If this makes you uncomfortable feel free to print out copies of the passage and mark that up or use one specific Bible for marking up. If something puzzles you good ask the question and go to your pastor to get the answer he or she will be thrilled you are in the scriptures.
Belong in the scripture. The Bible is the story of God’s relationship with what God created and God created you. There are elements of a culture that we have never belonged to but ultimately it is God’s heart meeting the hearts of humanity. This helps us realize scripture is alive and has people of all times and places in mind.
Live out what you have learned from the Bible. The idea here is, don’t be like the person that looks in a mirror, walks away, and forgets what they look like (James 1:22-24). I mean that is just insane. The Bible will remind us who we are and whose we are and what we are supposed to be doing. If we as Christians are reading the Bible but not taking the way of life presented in it seriously why call ourselves Christians at all? Talk is cheap Grace isn’t, if you’re a Christian you’ll show it.
Entrust what you have read to others. Being a Christian is to be invited into the world saving work God is already doing. If you have a good solid understanding of a passage it would be a shame not to help out your brothers and sisters understand that passage as well. We were never meant to be hoarders of the Word but sharers. The key here is not merely sharing but sharing in a way that enables other to share as well. If they cannot in turn share it with others what is the point? Many Scripture reading techniques involve these elements; which means we can get creative in reading, acting, singing, memorizing, and soaking in Scripture. I pray that this is helpful to those that are constantly stymied by the daunting task of reading Scripture.