Reading the bible is an important practice for anyone who wants to grow as a believer and anyone who wants to know God. For most of us, studying the bible still feels like a chore that does not flow naturally. Here are a few mindset changes that might help to fix that.
Nothing is irrelevant.
The bible is a big book, no doubt. There are 66 books and 1,189 chapters. That’s a lot and can lead you to think some things are probably not all that important, especially when you get into the thick of the old testament, it can get very tedious and confusing but it helps to remember that every word in the bible is for our blessing. I really like the way Jackie Hill Perry puts it on her Instagram;
Nothing in the Bible is pointless. Including geneologies, epistolary greetings, and even the long, seemingly drab list of Levitical laws. It only feels unnecessary if you don’t believe that ALL of scripture is God breathed and PROFITABLE. God wrote it all, even the “boring” parts.JHP
Everything matters, from the name of cities to the number of cattle and donkey to the days of the week. Everything is important and if that’s the case we better pay attention when we study God’s word.
Jesus is at the centre.
Everything makes sense in the light of Jesus as the centre of all scripture. Jesus brings everything together quite perfectly, like he said of himself that he is the fulfilment of the law (Matthew 5:17) and we all remember that experience on the mountain, the infamous transfiguration;
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”Matthew 17:1-5
This is God telling us who to listen to, this is God telling us the final authority on things of God; Jesus Christ. We see and read everything from a perspective of Jesus and everything he stands for. When we keep this in mind, we will not read into the weaknesses of mere human beings as the evil of God as seen in many acts of cruelty in the old testament. In Christ we see God as he truly is—good and loving—from the beginning just as it says in Hebrews 1;
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT
So next time you pick up your bible to read, remember who it is all ultimately about.
It will require your whole heart & your whole brain.
The one thing I can say medical school has taught me is that nothing beats real concentration and it will always show in my results if I don’t give my whole heart to learning something. That’s how it is with the word of God too, when we read we need to approach it as students who want and need to grow. It is not something we do passively. We do it wholeheartedly and with our whole brains as well. We let the Holy spirit permeate our brains and reveal things to us. We think through scripture, we think about how it applies to us in our everyday life, we think about how we are going to use it and how we can practicalize it.
It isn’t just something we do to cross off our to-do list. It is the most important part of our day. Studying the word is serious business, we wont get much out of it if we treat it any less.
It will take some time.
In my experience, studying the bible and getting real revelation from it can be a true test of commitment. Just like it says in Jeremiah 29:13, If you look for God wholeheartedly, you will find Him.
This will take some time. There’s no crash course or shortcut to studying the bible for yourself. If you are looking for something extraordinary to happen physically whenever you read the bible then you are setting yourself up for massive disappointment.
God works by growing us, and authentic growth takes time. Sometimes you might not see so much reason or insight in what you are reading until months later when someone asks you a question on a certain topic and you just see that the Holy Spirit brings that passage to your remembrance.
Be prepared to take your bible studying as a life long relationship and a day to day devotion. Spend all the time you can devouring scripture, you are planting seeds that will eventually grow and yield fruits.
It is a Spirit Exercise.
Like one of my friends once said “we need God to know God“. It takes the Holy Spirit to understand scripture and draw revelation from the bible. It’s not just words on paper, it’s spirit and life (John 6:63). The bible is Jesus himself, right here, right now with us.
The Holy spirit is promised to us to make all things clear and simple. If we treat studying the bible like it’s a physical exercise, there’s only so much we can get from time spent. When we read we should invite, trust and depend on the Holy Spirit to teach and open our eyes to see something new and have him meet our needs.
The scripture says… “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT
I pray this helps you enjoy your personal bible study time more and grow in the revelation of the unimaginable love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love you guys!
What are some of the things you keep in mind to make sure you get the best out of your studying the Bible?