Monday, August 4, 2008

Getting the Word in Your Life

I've been asked recently to share my suggestions on where to start reading in the most wonderful love letter ever written-God's Word.

I've been pondering it but I don't feel like an authority of any kind. I'll share my own experience with reading the Bible and some resources I've found online. I think the key is to find a routine that fits your personality and find a resource (person or online) to answer your questions.

When I was 16, I trusted Jesus as my savior. At that point, I tried to read my Teen Study Bible. I loved that Bible because it contains commentaries that helped me grasp what I was reading. I don't recall what order I read or anything, I just remember soaking it up. I managed to read all the way through it with the suggested schedule in the back of the Bible.

At some point in my young married life, a great friend bought me a Life Application Study Bible (NIV). This gave a little more "grown up" commentary and I treasure this Bible.

I have a One Year Bible but I always fall behind by March and then feel condemnation. My personality just doesn't do well with that style. I prefer to read what the Lord leads me to several times. For instance, recently, I stayed in 1st & 2nd Timothy for a while. I've spent weeks reading Proverbs 31 over and over. I can't say Numbers does much for me, so I haven't revisited it much, but I continue to draw great things from many other books of the Bible.

My aha moments, though, came from reading it all the way through. The Old Testament is very interesting and gives so much insight to the New Testament. I don't think we should ignore it, but a person new to reading the Bible might not be ready to trudge through it-at least not all at once.

So, here's my highly intellectualized scripture reading suggestion: just do it. Do it after praying that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes & ears to the meanings and do it knowing there will be plenty of things that 1. will always be a mystery and/or 2. that will make sense as you continue to grow and read. Even though I've been an active Christian for 16 years, I am still a Bible student-always will be. Just a couple of weeks ago in Life Group, Casey, one of our leaders, stayed on one verse in John and I gleaned so much from it-a verse I've read over and over and just never saw all the implications of it.

I know it's embarrassing to be the one who doesn't know all the stories, especially when the preacher or Bible study leaders says, "Well, I know you all know the story of so-and-so...." and you're shamefully thinking, "Well, everyone else does but I don't." I've been that red faced person in class thinking, "Oh, don't call on me, I don't know what you're talking about!". We've all been there.

There's no short cut. There's no magic way to ingest God's love story quickly. You just have to start. Read it, listen to it on CD or online...just get it in you on a regular basis and before you know it, you'll have to stop yourself from saying, "We all know the story about....".

As you read here are some links that might help: This one is for Biblegateway, site that allows you to look up scripture online. So, if you know a phrase from a verse but don't know it all, you can search for it.

Here are some good suggestions about where to start.

Have more links, ideas or comments? Please encourage a new Christian or someone just new to the Bible with what has worked for you.


Supermom2JakeAndEmmy said...

I always suggest that people start with the gospels, right down any questions they might have throughout and then go through the amazing index that a lot of bibles have and look up the topics to their questions.

I read the bible all the way through once. Just once. It was really really challenging to get through the "law books" - hebrews, kings, etc. I LOVED Daniel though. And Ruth is heartwarming.

Luke said...

I read one chapter a day to my wife in the morning. Just one little chapter (or half a chapter if it is really long). Five, maybe ten, minutes a morning. And we've made it through the whole Bible a few times already. So my advice: Don't strain yourself. Keep it easy.

Also, it's really easy to blaze through the Bible if you listen to it in your car... especially if you have a long commute.


Wendy said...

That's true-I should have included the commute part. Shane used to drive an hour to work and he could also listen to CDs while working. I bought him the dramatized Bible on CD from for Christmas and he loved it. Blazing through is the right phrase for sure. The dramatized version has different voices for men & women and sound effects in the background. Pretty cool.

Supermom2JakeAndEmmy said...

I need one of those! I have an hour commute twice a week for school starting in August.

Aletha said...

I found that when one does not have a dishwasher hooking a portable dvd player up on the window seal is a good way to get in some bible time. With a big family (most of which are home all the time) there are plenty of dishes to wash and a lot of dvd's that can be ordered.

Wendy said...

Aletha, I love multi-tasking with Bible stuff! I often listen to Nancy Leigh DeMoss while doing my dishes-yes, there are lots to do so I can sometimes get 2 programs in while I clean my kitchen :)