Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to Benefit from the Bible: Step One

Ever wanted to read and study the Bible for yourself, but feel intimidated as to how? James MacDonald at Straight Up just posted an article on How to Benefit from the Bible. His Step One is: Read It!

"If you pick it up and size it up but don’t read it, well, what a waste, right? So open it, and begin to read. You should say, “Dude, it has hundreds of pages. Where should I start?” I hear that so often that I decided to check the Bibles I own. They average around 1,400 pages. So think of the Bible as two big books or four to five regular-sized books. Studies indicate that the Bible takes about 70 hours to read out loud. Most people read a little faster than that, but the Bible is not a book you want to read quickly anyway. It’s sort of like your favorite dessert—take a bite or two and put the spoon down—a good way to make sure you are comprehending the power of what you are reading. If you read it for 12 minutes per day, or one and a half hours per week, you would have no problem finishing the Bible in a year, and you’d be so incredibly blessed you would want to start all over again the next year. Reading the Bible is really not as intimidating as most people make it.

As for where to start, I have always recommended that people begin in the gospel of John, which is the fourth book in the New Testament, the fourth eyewitness account of the life of Jesus. As you read slowly through this gospel, stop to underline the word believe every time you see it and ask yourself: Believe what? Or believe whom? Then go to 1, 2, and 3 John. Then look at another gospel. That’ll keep you busy for a while. Have a brief word of prayer before you begin to read. Ask the Lord to open you mind and heart to His truth and then believe that He will. Also, don’t lie down when you read the Bible. It’s not a magazine or a novel. Remember, it’s God’s Word, and if you give it the respect it deserves, it will “rock your world” in an incredible way. If you use serious posture, you’ll get serious results. Read it. I suggest taking at least 15 minutes to go through two or three chapters at a time.

Step Two tomorrow.