Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bible Reading

We need to read our Bibles. The Bible is God’s message to us, and we need to know what it says to know about Him and how to follow Him (2 Timothy 3:16,17; John 17:17; Colossians 3:16). There is no better way to become familiar with its content than reading it (or listening to it being read if this is more practical). And Scripture is the standard by which everything which claims to speak for God must be measured (Galatians 1:8,9; Isaiah 8:20; Jude 3). So why is it we do not read  it? Sometimes we see it as an explanation  of things we need  to do rather than a record of God’s great love for us (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:9,10). But the Bible does say that if we know about God’s love, we will love and serve Him in return (Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15). So maybe we are afraid that if we really know and love God, it will upset our nice, safe life. This may not be a bad thing (Galatians 2:20; Matthew 16:25; Romans 6:12-14).

Now this can result in turning Scripture reading into one more duty we have to perform. There is a certain amount of discipline involved in regularly reading God’s Word. But if we regard it as nothing but a duty, we are setting  ourselves up for failure. Now one of the biggest objections to regular Bible reading is that we have no time for it. There is no doubt that we in modern times live a hectic lifestyle. Yet in spite of that, we seem to find time for things we truly consider important. But not for just one more duty.

Also,  I would like to make some practical suggestions. Get a Bible translation you can understand. If you are used to and understand the King James Version, use it. But the Bible was not written in Elizabethan English, and knowing this should not be a requirement to read it. You should be aware that a more paraphrastic  translation has a little bit more of the translator’s interpretation in it, but it is not necessarily bad for reading if you check out anything that looks questionable. An audio recording of the Bible may be a good thing if you are not much of a reader or do not have your hands free. While it is good to challenge yourself, pick a section  of reasonable length. Remember that the one chapter you do read is better than the four chapters you never get to. And if you have never done it before, start in one of the easier books to understand (like John or Romans) and work to the harder books. But most of all, do not give up. If you miss times, start over again. If you bog down, say in Leviticus, start somewhere else and come back to it. Remember, you are trying to learn about the God who loves you and what He has to say to you, not fulfill a duty.

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