How to Read the Bible

1. Cover to cover. It always made me question when people pick up any book and start flipping through and read this one part or this part. That doesn’t make any sense. No one can understand any book that way. The Bible is no different. It is the truth but when not read straight through can seem contradictory rather than complimentary (stole that concept from my husband). Any book read in bits and pieces is confusing at best and nonsensical at worst. When read straight through, you understand the importance of the stories, the history of the world, the prophecies and their meanings, the Lord’s will, God’s character and power and love, etc. When one verse is taken out of context, you can get it to say anything you want, within reason. My grandpa says it this way. If you take a verse here and a verse there, you could end up with something like this, “Judas hanged himself.” “Go thou and do likewise.” It is a funny way to think of it but it is true.
2. Faithfully. If you are consistent and make reading a vital priority part of your day, it is easy to create a good habit. One decision a day at a time and you are in the good habit of reading daily and are blessed by it.
3. Version Friendly. I personally hate paraphrase Bibles but some people love them. I think the best idea is to invest in a version that is a direct translation in modern English (or whatever language you read best). I love the New Century Version, personally, and it is free on BibleGateway.com (along with many versions). I have my Bible on my tablet, Kindle, phone, printed by my bed, etc. Accessibility is key because there are always times you need truth in your day or are just waiting around.
4. Prayerfully. When I read, I pray in my heart that the Lord show me what I need to learn or that He will show me what He wants me to know. The Holy Spirit living in us guides us and interprets what we read and teaches us what we need at that moment. It is extremely cool and exciting how this works. Sometimes I will reread the same verse several times and even out loud before I get it. I ask God why He said it that way and what the importance was of that detail, etc. Sometimes I will read it again the next day and ask God a different question, like what can I learn about His nature from that verse or chapter(s).
5. Contemplatively. I will often stop reading something for a minute and just think about it. Reading to read out of duty is very different than reading to learn or grow. Being teachable is the key. Learning requires a measure of humility and open mindedness. When you come to the truth with your own bent or bias or rigid ideas, you learn little and get agitated. When you enter the truth, to accept it into your mind, you must come as a child with wonder and humility and be teachable. Otherwise, there are a million other ways you can confirm your own ideas as truth. The Bible is truth and we must come to it prepared to accept it as such even if it is different than what we have been taught or constructed as our truth. This is the hardest part for many of us who have this pesky pride thing hitting us upside the head all the time. However, enormous dividends and blessings await those who pursue truth and accept and incorporate it into their consciousness.

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