Intentional Bible Reading

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Suggestions for an Intentional Bible Reading Plan

Pray – The Bible is different from any other book. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance in order to find the relevance in Scripture for our lives. Pray for God to open your heart and give you understanding as you read.

Version – Select a version that is easy for you to understand. I like the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) because they are easy to read and they are literal translations. I often use The Message Version for a paraphrase in today’s language. When I was a child, I learned to memorize Scripture from the King James Version and love the familiar sound of it.

Determine Your Approach – Determine your reading plan by asking yourself some questions. Do you want to read the Bible through in a year? Do you want to meditate on a few verses a day? Do you want to use the suggested Scripture in devotional books? Do you want to use the lectio divina method? Do you want to read entire books of the Bible? If you’ve never read the Bible, consider reading these books first.
·         Luke – This is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus and tells what Jesus did.  Luke paid great attention to detail, including dates and events that happened throughout the life of Christ. 
·         John – This book is simple, identifies who Jesus is, and contains the Gospel message. John emphasizes the love of God found in Jesus Christ.
·         Acts – Known as “The Acts of the Apostles,” Acts gives the account of the development of the Early Church.
·         Letters of the New Testament – Consider reading some of the Epistles in the New Testament such as, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, or James. They teach us how to live well for God.
·         Genesis – This is the creation of the world and the early relationship with God. Genesis reveals God’s dealings with the nation of Israel and shows the origins of the people of God and deals with the fall of mankind and the consequences of disobedience. 
·         Ruth and Esther – These books offer inspiration for our spiritual journey. In the book of Ruth we see how God can take the messes of our live and turn them into something beautiful. Through Esther we learn how to face life with the courage that God gives.

Set a Time and Set a Tone-  You don’t need hours each day. Just 15-30 minutes a day is just fine. Decide on a regular time for reading in order to make it a habit. Realize the importance of listening to God as you read.

Note and Highlight ­ -Either make notes and highlights in your Bible or use a Bible notebook. Write questions or comments. Use the "who", "what", "when", "where", "why", and "how" formula for your studies. For instance, "Who was there?", "What was happening?", "Where is this happening?", "How did it turn out?". This simple formula will help your understanding of the narratives. Use your Bible as you listen to sermons or are in Bible study classes. Note in the margin the date and name of the minister or Bible study leader. As you come across the passage again, you are more likely to recall the message.

Helps – Use dictionaries and commentaries in either print form or online to help clarify passages.

Focus on the Fellowship -  Keep in mind the purpose of reading Scripture is to learn more about God and to deepen our relationship with him. View the time as fellowship time with your Creator.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. I Timothy 4:15


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