The Word of God is an indispensable tool in the life of every believer. Without it we could not know God nor understand anything about salvation. The difference between strong believers, someone full of faith and hope, and weak believer is that they regularly and intentionally engage with the Word of God. In many ways, all the spiritual disciplines hinge on reading and understanding the Bible. A quick look at Psalm 119 will provide a list of the benefits of the word of God: it brings happiness (v.1-2); it produces cleansing (v.9-11); it gives liberty (v. 45); it shows direction (v. 105); it infuses understanding (v. 130). Many of the Biblical writers affirm these benefits and more and show the Word of God to be invaluable.
Most people who attend church for any length of time understand the importance of the word of God in their lives. However, you can own a Bible, believe that it’s important, and even have a fancy case to protect it, but if you don’t read it, it has no value to you spiritually.
Furthermore, it is not enough to simply tell someone (especially a new believer) to go home and start reading their Bible without first showing them how to read it. So the issue is not simply valuing the word of God, but practically developing the disciplines and habits that supply the means of receiving the benefits God’s word provides. This discipline is called sacred reading because there is more to engaging with the Bible than simply reading it.
To help you further understand this, below is a list of principles that will help you get the most out of your Bible reading:
- Have a plan for daily Bible reading. Use the New Testament reading plan that we have provided for you.
- Mix it up. Try reading large portions of scripture (maybe even a whole book) in order to gain a big picture perspective. Then go back to a section and read it slower and more intentionally.
- Write key ideas down. Have a journal or note cards handy. This will also help with memorization.
- Memorize scripture. The word of God is only going to benefit you when it jumps off the pages and begins to reside in your heart and mind.
- This is not eastern mysticism. Mediation is simply to think deeply about something, to have it consume your thoughts and shape your attitude.
- Read it all. Don’t just read the easier books of the Bible. Read both Old and New Testaments. Read all the genres (historical, apocalyptic, poetic, and narrative).
- Choose a quiet and consistent place and time. Habits can be developed by sensory stimulation and repetition. In a world full of distractions, train yourself to be quiet before the Lord as you study, meditate, memorize, pray through and seek to apply his word.
- Read secondary sources. The Bible is the primary document that we grow by. But there are secondary documents that help us to understand the primary document better. Reading commentaries, books of theology, Christian living, and biographies will only help to stimulate our Bible reading.