For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.
Read Your Bible Daily
“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces… O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:72, 97
Are the above verses true of you? God’s Word brings peace and guidance, provides sustainance, and is life-giving. The mornings I spend meditating upon it and studying it closely have proved to be far more enriching days than the mornings I am rushed and “don’t have time.” I put that last phrase in quotations because it’s really just an excuse. We make time for the things that are most important to us. We can say we value the Bible but the way we spend our time is the proof of what we truly value.
Do you make reading the Word of God a priority? Here are some benefits to reading your Bible daily:
READING YOUR BIBLE BRINGS COMFORT & ENCOURAGEMENT
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me.” Psalm 119:50
There have been countless times in my life that I’ve received great encouragement or comfort as a direct result of spending time alone with God, meditating upon His Word. Often times a passage has spoken directly to my situation. He promises, “Ask and it will be given to you;seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
READING YOUR BIBLE IS NECESSARY TO GROWTH & MATURITY IN FAITH
“Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” 1 Peter 2:2
Newborn babies really only long for one thing: their mother’s milk. Once they have tasted it they want more and more. When they finish one feeding, they look forward to their next feeding (which will commence a couple hours later). This is how it should be for the Christian. We should guard our time in the Word each day and think about it all day long. Just like the newborn cannot properly grow without milk, our faith cannot be nurtured apart from God’s Word.
READING YOUR BIBLE PROVIDES GUIDANCE & DIRECTION
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” Proverbs 119:105
Do you struggle with knowing what God’s will is? I used to be one of those people. In college I stressed myself out with trying to figure out what God wanted me to do with my life. I wish I had realized then that 90% of God’s will has already been revealed to me in His Word. If I had just focused on being obedient in the 90% He had already laid out for me, the other 10% would have fallen into place much smoother. If you need guidance or direction, look to the Truth of the Bible.
READING YOUR BIBLE WILL LEAD TO THE JOY OF PERSONAL DISCOVERY
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25:2
I have read through the entire Bible five times, yet every time I open it to read and study, I learn something new. You cannot exhaust the knowledge of the Bible. It is unlike any other book. I delight in opening it every morning to discover something new. Whether it’s truth about God, my own life, or the world around me, I always come away having learned something.
READING YOUR BIBLE CHANGES YOU
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
If you are truly seeking God as you prayerfully read His Word, He will change you. It may not be obvious to you at first, but others around you will start to notice and will probably comment about it.
Change begins in the mind. In fact, the Greek word for repent literally means “to change one’s mind.” When we change the way we think about God, ourselves, and the world around us, we begin to live in dramatically different ways. Our thoughts greatly impact our attitudes and actions.
HOW TO GET STARTED READING YOUR BIBLE DAILY
I believe you cannot truly attain a sense of wholeness or overall well-being without this daily habit of Bible reading. Perhaps you desire to do this more regularly but don’t really know where to start. If you want to develop a habit and not become overwhelmed or discouraged, I suggest you start small.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
1. Acquire a Bible and a Notebook: It’s important for you to have a notebook to record the various things you notice and learn as you begin to study the Bible. You can find simple composition notebooks at any dollar store that will work great. It’s also important to have a good, reliable version of the Bible. Below are some versions I would recommend.
English Standard Version (ESV)- An accurate word-for-word translation.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)- An accurate word-for-word translation.
New King James Version (NKJV)- Not quite as accurate as the above versions, but is written in modern English and may be easier to understand than other versions.
2. Choose a Book of the Bible: Once you have a Bible and notebook, you need to have a plan for studying the Bible. Start with a shorter New Testament book, like Philippians or James. Once you have been through a couple smaller books from the New Testament, try studying Jonah or Ruth from the Old Testament. I’d then go into one of the Gospels, like Mark or John. I discourage you from starting in Genesis and attempting to read the Bible cover-to-cover, unless you have prior Bible reading experience.
3. Dispose of the thought/attitude, “I already know that”: No matter how many times you read a passage of Scripture, you will never truly be an “expert” on it. Despite having read through the entire Bible five times myself, I still learn something new every time I open up God’s Word. God’s Truth cannot be exhausted, but if we have a know-it-all attitude it will kill our attempts to grow in faith and know God better.
4. Always Begin with a Brief Prayer: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18
I often pray this very Scripture right before I open up my Bible every morning. If we don’t ask God to reveal His Word to us and have an expectation to glean something from our Bible reading, we will miss out on what God has for us. Every time you open up the Bible, pray a similar prayer.
5. Start at the Beginning of the Book: Just like any other book, you need to start at the beginning, not skipping to the middle. If you have chosen to study Philippians, start reading in chapter one, verse one of the book of Philippians.
6. Read the Bible like a Love Letter:
*Read it with excitement.
*Read it with anticipation.
*Fully concentrate on what you are reading.
*Ponder over the words as you read it.
*Read it repeatedly.
STUDYING THE BIBLE SIMPLIFIED
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18
The first part of effective Bible study is observing the text. Essentially you are asking the question, “What do I see?” as you read the Scriptures. Pray the above verse before you begin to study your passage, then write in your notebook anything and everything that sticks out to you, as well as any questions you have about the text.
“I am Your servant; give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies..” Psalm 119:125
In the second part of good Bible study, one interprets the text. This is simply asking the question, “What does it mean?” It is important you have first observed the text before moving on to this step. Otherwise, you may fall prey to taking God’s Words out of context and misinterpreting what He has said. To interpret the passage is to find out God’s objective truth that He has revealed in His Word. As Howard Hendricks says, “The more time you spend in Observation, the less time you will have to spend in Interpretation, and the more accurate will be your result. The less time you spend in Observation, the more time you will have to spend in Interpretation, and the less accurate will be your result.”
“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60
The third and final part of effective Bible study is to apply it to your life. In this section you ask the question, “How does this affect me?” This is a crucial step because God gave us the Bible for the very purpose of transforming us. As Howard Hendricks says, “…Spiritual growth is a commitment to change.”
Hendricks’ 9 Questions of Application:
1. Is there an example for me to follow?
2. Is there a sin to avoid?
3. Is there a promise to claim?
4. Is there a prayer to repeat?
5. Is there a command to obey?
6. Is there a condition to meet?
7. Is there a verse to memorize?
8. Is there an error to mark? (theological error exposed?)
9. Is there a challenge to face?
4. My prayer for today is…
“Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.” Psalm 119:144
THE 2P-R-O-A-P-T BIBLE STUDY METHOD
PRAY- Ask God to reveal His Word to you before you begin reading.
PREVIEW- Read through your passage of Scripture quickly to get an overview of it.
READ- Read through your passage a second time slowly.
OBSERVE- As you read through the passage a third time, underline words that are alike, thoughts you have about it, etc.
APPLICATION- Once you understand the context and what the passage means, ask yourself how it is relevant to your own life and how you can start applying the passage to your daily living.
PRAY- Once again, talk to God about what you have just read and learned and ask Him to help you obey Him.
TELL- You are far more likely to remember what you have learned if you teach it to someone else. This last step is to tell someone what God showed you in your Bible reading.
Do you want to truly live? Then make reading your Bible daily a priority TODAY.