Reading the Bible for Spiritual Growth
Bible study begins with a discipline of Bible reading. Unfortunately we are becoming a society that does not like to read. Yet, God has given us a book about himself and he desires for us to read it. Here are some tips when reading Scripture: A. Read to find God’s truth. The beauty and significance of God’s Word is found in Palm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
As you read the Bible, imagine you are on a treasure hunt to find God’s truth. Here are some suggestions taken from Psalm 19 to consider each time you read the Bible. 1. I must find Christ and learn how to be like him. 2. I must find wisdom from God for living. 3. I must find where true joy comes from. 4. I must find the light of God’s truth. 5. I must find the unchanging God. 6. I must find the righteousness of God leading to salvation.
B. Read devotionally. The Bible is God’s revealed Word and should be read with anticipation and joy. When you read the Bible, God is speaking and you should read it as if you are having a personal conversation with him. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you read the Word that he has given us. The Scriptures reveal God’s greatness and his glory. There is much pleasure to be found in reading the Bible. Afterwards, pray and thank him for having the conversation with you.
C. Think as your read. The Bible should be read thoughtfully. You should read it every time as though it was the first time. Try not to allow other thoughts to enter your mind as your read. Focus on the words, the themes and the flow of thoughts as you read. Train your mind to concentrate on what is being said. The Bible is packed with drama, history, miracle stories, biography and personal letters. It is the story of God’s redemption plan. It is the greatest love story ever told.
D. Examine the words and concepts as you read The Bible should be read thoroughly and selectively. God desires that all of his divine revelation to be studied and understood. We need to examine the major themes and the minor details. You task is to discern what God is saying and discover the value of what he is saying. As you read, ask: Who wrote this; What is happening in this text; When and where is it taking place; and Why does it say that?
E. Meditate as you read. The Bible should be read repeatedly and prayerfully. Sometimes it is good to read and extended passages and other times a small portion over and over again, letting the words sink into your mind. Meditation is a spiritual discipline that allows us to slow down and patiently focus on the precepts and principles of God’s Word and focus upon them throughout the day.
Psalm 1:1-2 tells us the blessing of Scripture meditation: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
F. Make application as you read. The Bible should be read purposefully. As you read the Bible, don’t forget to apply it. Once you understand what God is saying, ask what he is saying to you personally. Is there a promise to claim, a sin to avoid a lesson to be learned? As you apply what you are reading, you will begin to mature spiritually. The Bible has everything we need for life and godliness contained within itself. It is well worth the effort, so begin to read.