How to Read the Bible Effectively, Part 1

As we approach the new year, many will choose to start reading the Bible.  Let me encourage you to choose a plan.  There are many from which you can choose:

  1. Bible Plan offers you several options.
  2. The Bible App is produced by Life Church and comes with a strong app.
  3. Bible Study Tools also offers you several options.

Really, any general search will lead you to options.  My encouragement would be to get a plan and get in the Word.  But, when you get into the Word it is important to know what you’re doing.  It is often easy to simply read to check off boxes in the plan.

Friends, we have the Word of God in our hands.  This is not just another book but the message of God to the world and to you!  If you would, allow me to share how I go about my reading.  Let me express to you how easy it is to look at the daily reading and just read it, but we must focus as followers of Christ to the words we read.

  1. Content – Whatever plan I use, right now I am using the F260 from Replicate Ministries, it must be read.  Doesn’t that sound silly?  But we must read every word.  The very content is God’s Word and a message is there for me.  The plan usually gives a couple of chapters a day which makes it easy to follow my 3-step plan.  This first reading is just to get a feel for the passage.  During this reading, I look at each sentence as I read it.  Are there words or phrases that strike me?  I underline words or circle them if they seem very important.  Are there repeated words from another section?  This plays into the second reading.
  2. Context – The second reading allows me to get a sense of how this fits into the letter, narrative, or long-view of scripture. I will make another post with what I mean later.   For now, the point is that we should not read one verse, or one chapter, without knowing how it fits.  It is dangerous to do so.  If you were to read a letter from a friend, or loved one, you would read it all in one sitting.  I do know that Scripture can be lengthy at times.  But would you ever just read one paragraph of that letter you received without seeing how it fits with the rest?  Of course not.  Neither should we do this to God’s Word.
  3. Communication – I look back over the passage. For example, I recently read Hebrews 3 and 4.  In the first few verses of Hebrews 3, I noted the following and responded to God
    1. “holy” – The writer called them holy. Do I feel Holy?  God, I am not holy.  God, I need you to continue to uphold me and make me holy.
    2. “Share” – thank you God for letting me share in this calling. By faith, you have given me grace and I am grateful.
    3. “the one who built everything is God.” I remarked that I work hard to provide for my family.  I need to remember that all for which I work God is providing.  He is giving me a portion of what already owns according to Psalm 24:1.
    4. “Christ is faithful.” Thank you, Father, for this.  Moses was faithful as a servant and Christ was faithful as a Son.  God may I be faithful as both.  I began to pray that God would reveal areas in which I can be more faithful.

I believe that every time we read God’s Word He wishes to communicate.  You can receive something every time you read.  Following this plan is not the ONLY way to read, but it has proven to an effective way for me.  May God bless you as you start a plan today.  Check back for the next installment of reading effectively.

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