How to Enjoy the Bible
9 February 2022 Hits:799
I investigated some pitfalls in last week’s blog when reading the Bible. And I promised that in this week’s blog, I would share some practical ways to enjoy the Bible on your own, as well as, with other people. So, here goes.
I choose to bring a humble spirit to the Lord and his Word in my devotional life. The more I learn, the more I know that I don’t know! God “guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Ps 25:9). Humility is at the very heart of God, revealing truth through his word. And then, trust God to speak to you from the Scriptures.
Ways to Read the Bible
I chose to read the Bible from cover to cover every year in my early Christian years. Four chapters a day is all it takes. I am grateful for this foundation as it has given me a good overview of the Scriptures and an understanding of how the various books interact with and complement each other. As I’ve matured in my faith, I’ve found that a quality over quantity approach works best.
When gold was first discovered in Victoria in 1851, nuggets were found in waterways with no digging required. However, miners had to dig a little deeper once these were all gone. After some time, shafts were built, and seams of gold were discovered and mined. The Bible is similar. As a young Christian, I found nuggets of truth daily with little effort. Over time I’ve had to dig deeper and deeper to find rich deposits of truth.
Today, I use the You Version Bible App, which has a verse of the day and thousands of reading plans. I also enjoy picking a book or letter or just a section of the Bible. For example, I might choose to read 1 & 2 Thessalonians; maybe a chapter or just a few verses a day. I lookout for a verse or a line that speaks to me. A few weeks ago, it was 1 Thess. 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” There’s a wealth of truth in those words.
Don’t be scared of meditation. It was God’s idea, and the Bible mentions it over twenty times, mainly in Psalms. The Hebrew word for meditate means to ponder by muttering. Meditation is literally talking to yourself. Last week, I spent time meditating on Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” I walked and talked with God and repeated this line emphasising different words.
My help comes from the Lord ~ it’s what I need personally.
My help comes from the Lord ~ God is coming to my aid.
My help comes from the Lord ~ It’s on its way from God now.
My help comes from the Lord ~ The support is not just from anywhere. It’s from God.
The second line of the verse provides the proof of God’s ability to help me ~ “the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” God created all things, so what is my problem in the light of such power? The prophet Jeremiah said it this way, “O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!“
My time of walking and talking with God and muttering the scriptures was powerful, encouraging, refreshing and enjoyable.
Respond to God
Enjoying the Bible is not just about learning facts. Facts are the lowest form of truth unless applied to our lives. I find asking four simple questions of the verse or line I’m meditating on can be very helpful.
1. What is God saying to me through His Word?
2. How will I respond to God’s Word?
3. How does this cause me to love God?
4. How does this encourage me to love my neighbour?
Enjoying the Bible Together
The Bible is not just something we appreciate on our own. God’s word should be read aloud, discussed, and enjoyed with other believers either in Connect Groups or with one or two friends.
One compelling way to enjoy the Bible in a community is the ancient Christian meditation practice of Lectio Divina, or “sacred reading.” The four basic steps are straightforward to learn:
- Lectio (reading)—Slow, contemplative reading of a text aloud. Don’t spend much time rationally analysing the text, and do not try to work through it quickly; instead, let your mind linger on the individual words and phrases. Read the text several times. Each person is listening for a word, phrase, or sentence that speaks to them.
- Meditatio (meditation)—At some point during the process of Lectio, one passage/verse/sentence should speak to you more than others. Spend time repeating that, silently or aloud, letting it sink in. Write it down if that helps. Everyone can share their insights at this point.
- Oratio (prayer)—Use the truth that you’ve gained from meditating in forming a prayer. You can write this (crafted prayer) or say it, draw a picture, paint something, or write a poem.
- Contemplatio (contemplation)—If you feel yourself being enveloped by the presence of God, let go of all words and silently settle into the experience.
Remember, as a result of an encounter with God in Scripture, we are always called to action. The Bible calls this godliness ~ devotion in action!
You’ll find some more devotional resources on the Bayside Church website. I hope this blog and these resources lead you into a richer experience of enjoying the Bible and, more importantly, enjoying the God of the Bible.