The Bible is the foundation of the Christian faith. It is our compass, our map, and our flashlight as we navigate the narrow path of life. The Bible is the plumb line by which we discern truth and comprehend the will of God.
The Bible points us to the heart of God, yet for all of its value, many Bibles find themselves collecting more dust than fingerprints.
There are many reasons our Bibles can find themselves neglected, but I believe every follower of Jesus carries a genuine desire to grow in their knowledge of the Word of God. The following are some personal and practical thoughts on developing a living relationship with God’s word.
DEALING WITH THE “DON’T WANT TO” – For one reason or another many people find themselves at a place of spiritual depression where they lack desire to engage the Word of God. Two tools to dealing with the “don’t want to” attitude are:
- Evict the manipulating thoughts that steal the authentic joy of reading the Word. This includes the end of accusers such as “ought,” “should,” and “more” in regard to Bible reading.
- Recognize this backward principle of God’s Kingdom: when it comes to Bible reading, the less you eat the less hungry you become, BUT the more you eat, the more hungry you become! If your hunger has diminished through neglect, make the decision to force-feed yourself from the Word, and you will develop a hunger for more of God’s Word.
DIGGING IN – So you have an open Bible in your lap, what next? Here are 5 simple tools I personally use to bring my Bible study to life.
- Read for the joy of encountering God’s truth. Attitude is essential. I choose to believe the promise of Psalm 16:11 when I encounter the Word of God, “You fill me with joy in Your presence.”
- Pray this simple prayer every time you open your Bible. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18).
- Read with your friends. My best Bible-reading friends are a highlighter and at least three different colors of pens. Turn your Bible into a rainbow of your response and interaction with God’s Word. I mark my Bible as if I were leaving a treasure map for my grandchildren to discover my heart through my interaction with God’s Word.
- Digest what you read. Digesting is just as important as reading; it is how the nutrients of God’s Word begin to strengthen our hearts. Pray over and consider what you have read. I strongly encourage you to journal your response and your wrestling matches with Scripture.
- Talk about it. Bring what God has taught you in secret out to the public. You will be amazed at how what you just read this morning applies to what someone is going through this afternoon. Talk about the Scriptures with your family, with your friends, and with your co-workers. This is not about bragging on your devotional life, but a time to minister out of the overflow of God’s activity in your life.
DIGGING DEEPER – Along with the daily choice to dig in to God’s Word, you will develop a desire to dig deeper into specific subjects, teachings, and truths found in the Bible.
- View the Bible as a mine full of precious gems that reveal the heart of God.
- Seek to understand the context of the Scriptures you read. Recognize the Bible was written by over 40 authors over the span of almost 2,000 years. Begin to understand the various geographical, political, and social contexts of the Bible. The Blue Letter Bible and Follow the Rabbi are two wonderful online sources for digging deeper into Scripture.
- Follow a thread. Once an idea from the Bible grabs your attention, continue to chase after it! Personal study of a fascinating topic can be one of the most invigorating tools to getting into the Word. My father-in-law once spent two years preaching through the book of Ephesians. I have found great joy in following threads such as: Pictures of Jesus in the Bible, Names of Jesus, Bible Verses About the Father, verses that include the phrase “But God,” Questions Jesus Asked, One Anothers in the Bible, and even The Begots of the Bible. Beauty of the Bible by Peter Lopez is another great site for fascinating Biblical exploration.
- Take a Drink from the Firehose! A wonderful way to dig deeper into the Word of God is to remove yourself from all time limits and distraction and enjoy huge chunks of the Scripture. Taking a Saturday morning to read through the story of the Patriarchs or reading through the book of Revelation in one sitting are amazing ways of grasping hold of some of the bigger pictures that are often missed when we take small bites of the Bible.
The Bible is alive and the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to breathe life into your study of the Scripture. Now go dig in!