Read the Bible Regularly

The Bible is a library of spiritual witnesses speaking in many voices from many times and places. Together, in their great variety, they all point us toward the God who creates, sustains and guides us.

It is one thing to say that we should read the Bible – who could question that? But it is another thing altogether to talk about how to read the Bible.

 

Unless you are a mature, advanced student of the Bible, here are a few hints:

 

Get a good translation of the Bible that is understandable. One every good Bible is the New Standard Revised Bible. You can obtain one in most Bible book stores or purchase them online. And if you can purchase a study Bible with notes, a good choice is the Harper-Collins Study Bible.

 

Purchase a one-volume commentary on the Bible. Knowing that a commentary is one person’s interpretation of what it all means, it can be of great help as you sort through backgrounds, confusing information and the culture of the day in which the particular text was written. A very good one volume of the New Testament is The Peoples New Testament Commentary (Craddick and Boring). For the whole Bible try the Interpreters One-Volume Commentary of the Bible.

 

Get in a Bible study group through your church. This can include a short course on reading the Bible, a Sunday school class that regularly studies a Biblical text or a small growth group that uses the Sunday morning text as the subject of its reflection. Surround yourself with others who are reading the Bible and listen to their observations and struggles.

 

Becoming familiar with the Bible is a slow process, something that evolves over years. So start now.

Read a psalm a day in a devotional, prayerful way. To become familiar with the story of Jesus start to read one of the Gospels, and proceed from beginning to end. To become familiar with the story of the church read the book of Acts. If you would like to read about how early Christians dealt with hard issues facing them in their congregations, read one of the epistles, or letters, like I Corinthians. If you would like a mature view of the early church read Paul’s letter to the Romans. And if you would like to read about how love is to shape everything we do in our life together, read the Epistles of John. The point is to begin and do some every day, or at least several times a week.

 

And remember: though you can gain much knowledge from determined study and reading as much of the Bible as possible, don’t rush. Settle prayerfully and mindfully on any verse or phrase that is compelling. This may be the way that you begin to “pray the scripture” and listen for its word to you.

 

Read the Bible Regularly …

Last Published: February 15, 2012 3:55 PM