“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45, English Standard Version).
My morning reading of the Bible has been somewhat different this week. I have read the same chapter every day. It’s fairly short, only twenty-nine verses, but I haven’t made it to the end of the chapter yet. Perhaps I will get there in a few more days. Why has it taken me so long to read a few verses? It is so rich with so much to absorb, and it’s easier to do it in small bites.
We each probably have our own way of reading the Word. You may follow a Bible reading chart, have a goal of so many chapters per day, or randomly select a passage. I like to do all of the above. I follow a chart, but I also enjoy reading random portions of Scripture. A chart gives me structure and insures I read the entire Bible through. When I’m “off the chart,” I discover interesting stories, passages that make me seek deeper meaning, or a verse that speaks to where I am at that exact moment.
How I study the Word isn’t anything profound but let me tell you a few of the things I do (or don’t do). You will no doubt develop your own study style.
- I do not speed read. My goal is to understand more, not zip through so I can check off a box on a chart. If a verse seems unclear to me, I stop and read it again. And perhaps again. Sometimes reading a cross reference (printed in a center column or sometimes underneath the verse) will help.
- I keep pen and paper nearby. I jot down insights, questions, or other verses related to what is being said. If I don’t have time to dig deeper right then, I can come back to my notes later and search it out.
- I use a Bible app for quick research. When a passage is unclear, I often find it helpful to look at one or two other translations. A Bible app allows me to do this quickly. I can also look up the meaning of key words in the passage. Or I can do a word search to find other verses on this topic (such as: faith, patience, love, grace).
Yes, some Bible passages are difficult or (dare I say it) boring. Chapter after chapter of “begats” does not make for exciting reading, but I plunge on. Often, even in these passages I find sweet nuggets of inspiration. If nothing else, I remind myself if God knows all those names, He knows mine too. I matter to Him.
I was in a Bible class when a fellow student asked the teacher, “What translation of the Bible do you recommend?” The quick response was, “The one you will read.” We may own a stack of Bibles, but it is only when we open it and start reading that the Word goes deep into our hearts. It’s our source of instruction, hope, and encouragement.
“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4, Christian Standard Bible).
Prayer: Lord, give me a deep, abiding love for Your Word. When I hide it in my heart, it keeps me on the right path so I do not sin. Increase my understanding and open my eyes to the wisdom it offers for my daily life.