Thursday, May 02, 2013

How to read the Bible

There are lots of ways to read the Bible but my knower tells me there is not as much of it going on as their should be. Technology, schedules, long hours of work, family demands, educational pressure and TV all serve to push time with God to the margins.

Stephen Covey blessed us all with the idea that it is good habits that makes for effective people. Developing the 'habit' of setting time aside to enjoy God and listen to his word is surely the habit of all habits. As readers will know, I recently quoted Billy Graham whose only piece of advice to young (and old I might add) Christians was this:

"Read the Bible and Pray every day"

That dear friends is the big idea.

There is no other.

There are so many different ways to read the Bible but here are some thoughts.

1. Find a time
2. Have a place
3. Have a Bible
4. Have a Journal
5. Write and speak out some prayers

I have recently changed my habit and it is working well for me. For years I have used 'For the love of God' and a Moleskine but I have moved from a physical Bible and journal to two iPhone/iPad apps. Here's the thing- whatever method you choose it will probably take you 30 days to form the habit. Don't be religious about it but decide intentionally the read the Bible and pray every day for thirty days (do allow for a few days of grace and cut yourself some slack).

Step 1: BIOY app: I have started reading HTB's Bible in one year which has a wonderful app you can download onto your phone/tablet. It has three readings a day: OT, NT and either a Psalm or a Proverb and a daily commentary written by Nicky Gumbel. Today, I am pondering the conflict over the Reubenites and their altar (Joshua 21-22) and wondering about the relationship between prayer and the wind blowing (John 3). What are you pondering?

Step 2: Journal app: I have also downloaded a journal app- there are many to choose from. As I read the Bible if there are any verses that resonate then I copy and paste them into the journal and then write some thoughts, reflections and prayers for people and situations and capture a few events from the day before. I will sometimes give some time to meditate on a particular verse or passage (Check out Five ways to meditate and Piper on how and why he does it). A written record will give tangible and reference-able permanence to your story with God which will encourage you.

I hope this is a help.

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