Some advice about reading the Bible

A couple weeks ago I asked you how you read the Bible. We’ll be looking at what I learned from you from time to time. Here’s an email from a friend who translated the Bible for a group of people who didn’t have it. After more than sixty years of study, here’s what Don says:

Bible reading is important to me. I try to give it prominence in my life, because the Word of God is the thing I meditate on and base my life upon. It is not only the essential daily food for my soul, but also what guides my prayer life, and what I need to keep me on track spiritually. It is my hope for the future and my guide for today.

I like to begin my day with reading the Bible. Formerly I made it my goal to read through the whole Bible every year for many years. However last year I changed my goal, and spent more time in the New Testament, thus getting to read the 27 books of the New Testament twice each, and not getting all the Old Testament books read. This year I am reading the same way, but have a goal to read all the Old Testament books that I missed last year and I will still get to read Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, etc. that are favorite books that I don’t want to miss.

Here are some of my guides in reading:

  1. Read expectantly, believing God has something special to say to me in each chapter on my schedule.
  2. Read prayerfully, praying about the thoughts which come as I read
  3. Read while writing down thoughts which come, special verses or parts of verses which stick out to me.
  4. Read joyfully, remembering that this message comes from the God of grace who has called me into his fellowship.
  5. Read humbly, realizing that there is much in the passage which I have really not comprehended or understood before.
  6. Read carefully and slowly enough to not miss what I could easily overlook

I realize that I often fail to do all those things, and yet I remember that God is so gracious that he forgives my failures and doesn’t despair over my slowness to respond in the right way. It is a real joy to know that when we come into his presence he accepts us for Jesus’ sake and knows fully our weakness. Still he enjoys our fellowship and even rejoices over his people with singing. (Zephaniah 3: 17)