How to Read the Bible
You have probably heard over and over, how important it is for us to study the Bible (The Word of God). But for many it seems that the Word is too difficult and hard to understand, consequently, many have a tough time getting started.
We are told over and over again that we ought to read the Word, but yet never get the understanding of how to. Let's take a look at how the Word of God, can become not only exciting and alive, but vital for our everyday living, in fact it can become truly Word Alive! God reveals Himself by the Holy Spirit, through His Word.
The unseen Teacher of the Word who will lead and guide us into all truth
The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, our guide and our friend, he is a real person and his desire is to reveal Jesus to us day by day in a greater measure, so that we can progress from Glory to Glory, he wants to show to us that not only is Jesus our true friend, but he is one who will stick closer than a brother.
As the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to you, you can expect your life to change, because you are building a relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, not just knowing about Him.
The reason we study the Bible is that we may know and experience God and that we might have intimate relationship with him through a prayer life filled with his Word, know His ways and walk in them.
In this way, we can truly come into the abundant life that the Bible talks about. If we observe to do all that is written in the Word of God, we shall not only prosper and have good success, but as Jesus says "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". John 8:32 (KJV)
The Bible is a personal message from Almighty God Himself - straight from heaven - to you. The main theme of this message is Jesus - in the new Testament and even in the Old Testament. Jesus is the living Word, the message of God to all mankind.
Ever since the Fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, God was unwilling to leave us in our sin and live without us. So He had a plan - the plan of redemption - when He gave His Son to pay the price for our sin on the cross and thereby bring us back into fellowship with Him. Glory to God!
So look for Jesus in every book of the Bible. All scriptures either point forward to the Cross or look back on it.
Settle in your mind that, while the Bible is God's inspired Word, it was also meant to be down-to-earth.
Don't just reverently give it a place of honor on a bookshelf, but treat the Word as your personal hands-on reference book on life - a how-to book for everyday living. Get rid of the negative idea that it is just a set of rules.
So How Do We Get Started?
Many people simply read the Bible like they would a novel, reading chapter after chapter.
Some purpose to get through a certain amount each day at a certain time. This can lead to the development of religious attitudes ending up with a head full of knowledge and no overcoming power in life.
The first thing to become aware of is that reading the word is like sowing seeds in the ground.
Jesus spoke about this in Mark 4:3 when he likened the ground that the seed falls onto, to the heart of a man or woman, or in other words, your reborn spirit, which is made alive when we receive Jesus into our life.
There are three entrances into the heart or ground, by which the seed (the Word of God) is received.
Through the eyes, ears and on the mouth (Prov 4:20-23). When the seed is received into the right soil, the heart it begins to grow, forming a tree of life (Prov 3:18), the image of Jesus, that begins to align with the perfect image in our reborn spirit, it is from this tree, or image, that God begins to speak to us, by the Holy Spirit through the engrafted word.
He uses our reborn Spirit, to illuminate his word to us by revelation, in much the same way that we would use a lamp to illuminate a darkened room, Prov 20:27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man it searches out his inmost being. NIV.
The most important process to this "sowing of the word in the heart" is to speak the word on your mouth, out loud, so that your ears can hear, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God . (Rom 10:17)
Merely reading the word silently fills your head with head knowledge, it never reaches the right soil, in which to grow so that we end up with a head full of seed.
So let's get started. the most essential part is to recognise the one called alongside to teach, lead and guide.
First pray and ask the Holy Spirit (He is your guide and teacher (John 16:13 amp), to reveal to you the image of Jesus in his Word and to show you where to read.
Ask Him for a word with which to begin, He has promised He will bring to your remembrance every word spoken to you (John 14:26).
As you pray, by faith you will receive an image of a word, it may be just one word such as the word 'love'.
Open your concordance (see notes below regarding concordance) and turn to the word you received.
Now run your finger down the list of references to the word 'love', believing that you are being led by the Holy Spirit.
As you move down the list one line will appear to register in your spirit, look to the left of the list and write down the scripture reference.
Now turn to the reference and begin to read the first few words. Stop at this point and begin to meditate on the words, by speaking them out loud, as you do the Holy Spirit will bring meaning out of those few words that you have never seen before.
As you read, other words will register in your spirit, these words are registering in your human born again spirit, where the Holy Spirit is speaking to your spirit, guiding you. Write these words down and continue in your original verse.
When you have read and meditated on the complete verse, go to the new word that you have received and repeat the process detailed above, you will then begin to receive even more new words that register in your spirit.
This is called chaining or branching, like the branches of a tree, it will begin to grow, the Holy Spirit is beginning to 'build' the image of Christ in your soul (mind will and emotions) that is a mirror of the image of Christ in your born again spirit,.
Buliding a web of His image, from the seed of the word of God (the image of Christ is contained in the seed).
Mark 4:31 (amp) It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground (your heart), is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth;
Mark 4:32 (amp) Yet after it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all garden herbs and puts out large branches (a tree of life, the wisdom of God, Prov 3:19), so that the birds of the air are able to make nests and dwell in its shade.
Soon you will begin to receive scripture after scripture that all begin to link with one another in levels.
Soon each level will go deeper and deeper into the word of God.
As you do this, you will find that at first these verses will quickly disappear from your mind. The verses are extremely important as they are verses from the Holy Spirit specifically for you.
So write them down, on your key ring, on cards in your pocket or purse and take them out when wherever you go. Whenever you get the opportunity, during the day or in the evening. Speak each verse out loud or mutter them under your breath.
Soon your mind will begin to be renewed and your daily thinking will be interspersed with the word of God. Wisdom is now beginning to rise out of your born again spirit into your mind, wisdom will lead and guide you ( Prov 4:11) all the days of your life into all truth! (Prov 2:6, Ps 23:6 amp)
Here is another example of meditating on the word, take Psalm 23 a popular Psalm. The first line reads "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want", begin to meditate (speaking out loud) on the The Lord your guide, he comforts you like a Shepherd, he cares for you and brings you to a place of nourishment, so that you will never want for anything, because all that you will ever want is in Him.
Notice how the word has now changed from a book into a personal living Word!
After you have spoken and spoken this verse, (this is called Bible meditation) for a few minutes, go onto the next line and repeat, after a few lines, go back up to the beginning and repeat. Now the wonder begins, because the Word is nourishment to your spirit and it begins to burn with life within you.
As you get started studying, it is wise to use a Bible that you feel free to write in and take notes. Start underlining scriptures that have significance and special meaning to you. This will help personalize the Word for you.
Marking these scriptures will also help you find them more readily when you need them.
As you progress, begin to "dig" into the Word by finding a subject or certain scriptures that you need to understand.
Pray for understanding and discernment of the scriptures. Allow the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Word of God, to reveal it to you. Read and think about each word in each scripture.
You can check meanings, too, by using a concordance to study the Greek or Hebrew root words and their meanings.
An important part of your study of the Word is meditating. To meditate means to think deeply and continuously, ponder or reflect. It also means to murmur, to mutter and to converse with oneself.
This takes some time. Read the scripture over and over again as you pray in the spirit. Meditation brings your spirit and your mind together and builds a capacity for your faith to be released (Romans 10:17).
Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding so you can comprehend the deep things of God. Then expect the Lord to do it. Expect Him to meet you on the level of your need and reveal His Word to you.
When starting out, spend the majority of your time in the New Testament (primarily in the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to the early churches). In light of this, we suggest you look for and underline phrases such as "in Him," "in Whom" and "in Christ."
These phrases are found 134 times in the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. Every one of them has something to offer you personally because, according to Ephesians 2:6, you are in Christ!, also spend time initially in Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah
Make what God says the authority in your life. That means we shouldn't just believe what God says to us in His Word, but we should also act on it. Acting on it is what produces results (Matthew 7:24-27). Part of acting on the Word includes speaking it.
You will find that what you really believe in your heart is what you speak all the time - and what you speak determines what happens in your life (Mark 11:23).
Once you start speaking God's Word about your needs, do not speak anything contrary to it. For example, if you need healing, do not let the focus of your words be about your sickness. Rather, confess what the Word says about it, "By His stripes I am healed according to Isaiah 53:4-5."
Like a sponge, soak in as much Word as possible. Then, when you are faced with a situation that requires the wisdom of God, the life of God will flow from you - through your words - to meet any man's need on any level. And that's the best way to study the Word - with the intent of helping and loving others as well as yourself.
To help in your study, we recommend the following:
1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance - a dictionary of the Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek words.
2. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words - a dictionary for scriptural words and meanings.
You also can use many different translations of the Bible during your study time.
To start out, It is recommended that you use the King James Version and The Amplified Bible. These are not translations of other bibles, but are taken from the original text.
Bibles such as the NIV are translations and are not recommended, as they contain man's interpretation and have verse meaning altered or removed.
All of these helps and versions of the Bible can be found in almost any local Christian bookstore.
You can use the books and tapes of other ministers; however, do not allow them to take the place of your personal study time. Take what they have learned and allow the Holy Spirit to add to it. And, of course, no matter what material you study, be sure it lines up with God's Word.
Here are some steps to follow in studying the Word:
1. Apply the Word to yourself personally.
2. Allow the Holy Spirit to make the Word a reality in your heart.
3. Carefully ponder how the Word applies to your everyday life.
4. Dwell on how the Word changes your situation.
5. See yourself as God sees you.
6. Realize the integrity of God's Word.
Here is a prayer to pray with confidence as you sit down to study and meditate on His Word:
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come before You today. I take authority over Satan and bind his operation in my life. I pray that the eyes of my understanding are enlightened that I may know how rich is Your inheritance in the saints, that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, walking fully pleasing to You, increasing in the knowledge of God.
Father, I pray that I will be rooted and built up in Jesus, established in the faith. I am confident that He which began a good work in me will continue until the day of Jesus Christ.
I know You've heard my prayer, so I know that I have the petitions that I ask. Thank You, in Jesus' Name.
Prayer References: Ephesians 1:16-18; Col 1:9-12, 2:6-10; Phil 1:6; 1 John 5:14-15.
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