Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reading the Bible, where do I start?

Q: “For a long time, I haven’t been diligent about reading the Bible, but I want that to change. Where should I begin to read?”

A: The first step is to come up with a plan— a set time and quiet spot for reading God’s Word. Without one, Satan will find ways to distract us. He knows the Bible is our map for intimacy with God, and our weapon to defeat temptation. That said, let me suggest some ways you can begin studying Scripture.

1. Don’t feel obligated to read through the Bible as you would other books. For some people, it’s more effective to read a little from the Old Testament and New Testament each day. You might want to start in Psalms, especially if you’re at a point in life when you really need encouragement.

2. As for the New Testament, the gospel of Mark might be a helpful starting place. It’s a short book but provides a good scope of Jesus’ life and ministry. Alongside that, or perhaps afterward, consider reading through Ephesians. It’s also a brief but powerful summary of the Christian life. Of course, these are simply suggestions. God might have you begin elsewhere, depending on your personal needs, which raises my second point.

3. While reading, expect the Holy Spirit to guide you. Don’t schedule ahead of time the number of minutes or chapters you’ll cover, but let God tell you when to stop. Read until He highlights a special passage or principle; then take time to meditate on it prayerfully. Ask Him what He’s saying to you through it. Pretty soon, the Holy Spirit will give understanding and direction—you’ll sense that He’s speaking to you personally.

After doing this a few times, you’ll notice a growing love for God’s Word—and a deep peace and contentment that can be found through no other book or author. Only, be sure to purpose in your heart to obey whatever the Lord tells you through Scripture. For then and only then will the joy of reading the Bible stay with you.
from Intouch magazine, August 2012 issue

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