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How I read the Bible

May 2, 2010

Psalm 119: 81,88,89,97: My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth. Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Oh, how I love your law!   I meditate on it all day long.

This is a repeat post, but one that needs to be shared more than once as it details one of the most important activities we can do as Christians – reading the Word of God.  My prayer as you read this is that you are encouraged even deeper into the Bible and through this even deeper into the holy presence of God.

Perspective

I have been involved in preaching, sharing devotions for years, and most of the time I found the preparation seriously hard work.  Even just producing one sermon each week created a lot of stress for me.  I was caught up in the idea that I had to make it interesting and entertaining.  So how is it I can now produce so many mini reflections on the Word each week with very little stress?  The difference is that I am only focused on reading the Bible and growing in my relationship with God and not at all interested in entertaining.  I don’t think so much about how to make them interesting to read, but more I focus on what God is showing me.

How I read the Bible

So how do I read the Bible?

– I find a quiet place
– I look at my watch and work out when I will stop
– I come before God and admit my sin and seek forgiveness
– I pray the Holy Spirit will guide me
– Then, I either read systematically through a book or I allow God to reveal a passage
– I read the passage until stuff starts to appear.. ideas and thoughts as they relate to me
– I read the greek or hebrew version (I use a Greek and English Interlinear like this one: click here. Note this isn’t a product endorsement!!  Just the one I find works for me.)
– I ask God to reveal stuff and often something that has happened to me that day connects with the reading
– And then I write a reflection and nearly always it just flows out of me!

The Bible isn’t so much about information but transformation – I am transformed through the awesome power of the Holy Spirit working through the Bible’s pages.  To read the Word is to be exposed to the tranformative power of God!  It cannot be rushed, it takes time and dedication – it truly is a journey deeper into God’s Word.

God bless you in your journey!

Mark

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free:  click here.

So how do you read the Bible?  I would love to hear from you!  Click on the ‘comment’ below and scroll down.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for the today is:  1 Corinthians 15-16

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

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46 Comments
  1. Edgar permalink

    A wonderful repost of how to read the Bible. I haven’t quite got to that point yet, but long to one day to be able to fully discern what God is asking me to do and to do His will only in my life. It’s a long and hard road, but I know I can do it, for I remember te words of Paul “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

    I just want to thank you, Mark, for the encouragement in your reflections of God’s word. Thank you and I also thank Jesus for coming into my life and opening up new understanding the world did not give me. He opened up my eyes that were blinded for so long that I messed up everything I touched, including my marriage. I hope and pray that He will use me from now on in the lives of others hopefully to avoid many of the mistakes I made before knowing and trusting in Jesus as my LORD and Savior.

  2. Tim permalink

    Start each day reading the Bible and reflect on what I’ve read all day long.

  3. sheryl permalink

    Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad Proverbs 12:25

  4. George Oertel permalink

    Here is my posting on WE WORK FOR JESUS AND ARE NOT ASHAMED this morning.

    The glass pyramid described in the Scriptures, that Jesus is preparing or has completed, that will descend from Heaven to land at the New Jerusalem will be able to accommodate 3 billion [maximum] Christians. Its volume can be calculated by1500x1500x1500/3 cubic meters. If the result of this calculation is then divided by 3 billion and then converted to cubic feet, we get an answer of 13.26 cubic feet per person, which is plausible. According to Google this morning the world population is 6.8 billion. To this number if the number of Christians sleeping [dead] is added and this total divided by 3, we should be just inside the 3 billion people that Jesus will raise up. I therefor agree with Evangelist Aldo Lombardi, that we are imminently close to Rapture !
    Hope this makes sense to you Rev. Mark.
    Best regards;
    George Oertel
    PS: The 1/3 factor is made clear in Revelations.

  5. Kimberly permalink

    Thank you for sharing. I needed this.

  6. The suggestions in this blog entry regarding the proper study of the Scriptures are sound. I love the fact that Rev. Mark approaches the Word of God in humility. That is, indeed, key to allowing the Spirit of of God to teach us and to lead us into all truth.

    Perhaps, the most significant statement here is: “The Bible isn’t so much about information but transformation – I am transformed through the awesome power of the Holy Spirit working through the Bible’s pages.”

    There are some who read the Scriptures for intellectual knowledge; there are others who read seeking guidance for issues they are facing. Nothing wrong with this. However, the most beneficial approach to the Scripture is to prayerfully engage its pages in order that the Spirit of God may transform us with the character of Jesus.

    Thank you, Pastor Mark, your thoughts are spiritually uplifting.

    The Weather Ahead: Tools for Understanding and Sharing the Scriptures

  7. Sue permalink

    I use the Upper Room as a guide, read the story for the day and then do the suggested Bible reading. Sometimes I do this in the house. If the weather is nice, I sit on the deck or porch and take in God’s wonderful creation as I read. In the summer months, I lead a service in a State Park close to my house.

  8. Jim Guy permalink

    Thanks Mark,for sharing and showing how you grew in the spirit this way. I threw my pebble in the “spiritual pond” a few years back and just started moving forward slowly one day at a time by simply saying the Our Father before my feet touch the floor each day. And – – – Remarkable how this and beginning to read the Gospel once a week and each Sunday has made my life more fulfillng. I wonder what would happen if the same for each day – even more fulfilling and wonderful (and callenging). Perhaps my next step – perhaps your words today have provided the simple path – now that’s real inspiration and the power of God’s word! Thanks
    again – JG

  9. Kelly permalink

    Thank you for your insight, sir! I bought a One Year Bible for 2010, as a first step to reconnecting with my faith daily. Thank God – since I started daily reading, His will and His word have become my life’s top priority! As I find a passage that compels me to think more deeply, I begin writing in a prayer journal. Often, God brings another person’s name to mind as I read a verse or passage. When I feel called I also share that, along with prayer, by email or text message. I need to follow your lead of praying and confessing before I start reading. God is present more strongly when we’ve invited him in!

  10. linda somerton permalink

    hi my name is Linda and i truly am trying to get in to the world of god the bible i just started reading it i am in genesis 8 so far i truly need your input to keeping up the reading cause i do get discoursed at times please can u give me some pointers on guildness thank u for everything u do in god work i love reading your website everyday thank u for doing that keep up the great work and god bless you

  11. Chau permalink

    I’m thankful to receive this devotional and be encouraged to love the Word and devour it b/c it is my life. Beside this, there is no life.

  12. Mary Johnston permalink

    I don’t always find something that relates to me, but I do quite often. There is nothing quite like the feeling that God is speaking to me through what I am reading. I most often find Him speaking to me this way. It gives me comfort and peace to know that He is with me and my family every day.

  13. Katy B permalink

    I’ve been meaning to read the bible, but my confusion is where to start.When I need guidance I read what I need to help me get through my present situation.Where do I Start?

  14. Tesa permalink

    Thank you for your daily reflections of God’s word, it gives enlightenment to us. Godbless!

  15. Laura permalink

    I read the “God Sightings, The One Year Bible” in my bedroom with the door closed, TV and computer off so I can grasp all the blessings thru the Word. On each day there is scripture from the Old and New Testiments, a Psalm and a Proverb. Thanks for trying to get this important message out. We need more folks, young and old to start reading.

  16. i read my bible when ever god says its tine to read your as we all know that we serve a mighty god who is able to do anything that is right.

  17. Timmi permalink

    I would find myself opening the bible and starting to read, but not really understanding. Even though I prayed before my time of reading I would stumble on the people and get discouraged. My mother suggested that I start with children’s books. Though it sounds silly…it definitely helped me understand who everyone was when I read the bible (esp the Old Testament). I also started out reading the 4 Gospels in the New Testament. That led me into a more intimate relationship with Jesus! I found myself not wanting to put it down. In between the lines of these books is a life of a real man that felt every emotion we still feel today.
    I found myself wanting to know “who is Jesus? what was His life like here as a man?” The Holy Spirit led me through a journey of a real life and deeper relationship with Jesus. Now the bible isn’t just words or stories for me now…its life of our living God, Jesus Christ!

  18. david dunn permalink

    Thanks for your insight. The Lord Jehovah started working with my life 10 years ago. I have my special corner at home, but I can also read traveling in a bus, and any time I receive God´s blessing I write a gospel song, so far I have 150 songs in spanish, 26 traduced to english and one in chinesse. God Bless You.

  19. Brian LeVar Parker permalink

    I love this topic! I admit that I’m a sinner. One day I want to feel the experience of applying God’s Word to me daily.

  20. Thank you for this writing!! I’m going to try this. I have always just picked the Bible up and led myself to wherever I landed. I haven’t asked for help or forgiveness. I find that when I don’t read, I , sort of, stray away, not by doing anything evil, just not devoting my life and time to God. Then I find myself getting depressed, giving up on things, and not caring. I know I’d better jump back in the Word quickly because Satan is rying to take me away from our God. Thank you again for helping me to get out of my slump. Our dear Lord has definitely sent you to help me today!!

  21. Hi,

    I’m a new reader, and I just want to thank you for sharing what God puts on your heart. I never fail to find a connection within your words.

    God bless you!

  22. Donna permalink

    Thank you Pastor Mark for this encouragement on How to Read the Bible…I must confess that I DO NOT read it enough but totally BELIEVE that it is TRANSFORMING POWER…For most, what we read we retain, to uh a degree~~..So, the more we read the more we retain…Oh God, help me to read more, and more and more!!…PRAISE YOU GOD for Pastor Mark and his humbling heart to share this very important need…I am inspired to read more…You do have something to read the Bible in a year??…Yes….Thanks again…Donna B.

  23. Joanne Heatley permalink

    Thank you for posting this again Mark.
    I needed to be prompted again into not only reading God’s word but into journaling my reflections. So easily God reveals something to us during our time with Him and we think thst we will remember what He has said and then it is snatched away from us for many reasons! As my prayer is that i am completely transformed by Him and that His word becomes who I am, i need to be more disiplined! x

  24. Glenda permalink

    I pray then read from the gospels sometimes other verses or chapters. Then I write down how I can apply what I read to my life.

  25. Babatunde permalink

    Can the daily verses be sent to my phone no daily bases just to remind me.

  26. I just wanted to comment on how much I have been getting out of your emails every day. I keep hearing about Psalm 119 over and over in the last few weeks and now on your email. I don’t have a particular way I read the Bible. I wish I did! So many times I want to relax and sit down to read the Bible but don’t know where to start or what to read. I also have not been able to find the perfect Bible for me, that I can not only understand but also in large print and with index dividers for me to easily find scripture look-ups. I do a lot of underlining and try different Bible versions trying to help me understand better. I am not really sure how I stumbled unto your email sign-up, but I sure am glad I did.

  27. Amanda permalink

    I pretty much follow the steps that you listed when reading my Bible, only I don’t set a time limit or study Greek. (Although I do love reading commentaries and learning what the passage meant in the original Greek and Hebrew languages.)

    I get alone with God and start reading . . . pausing after every few verses (especially ones that stand out to me) to pray about something that the passage made me think of. I may pray for a person that it reminds me of, or an attitude that I have displayed recently . . . whatever God happens to be putting on my heart. That’s part of how I apply it. And of course, I pray for God to help me apply His Words long after I close the Book and walk back into the imperfect world. I pray that He will write His Words on my heart and help me to always be a “doer of the Word and not just a hearer.”

    This is a great blog entry on Bible study. So many people don’t understand its significance and think of it as a duty rather than a privilege. I especially like the phrase “it’s not about information, but transformation.” Powerful statement! I think I’ll add it to my favorite quotes. 😉 (If you don’t mind.)

  28. Zee permalink

    For many years, I have been reading through the Bible in a year using the One Year Bible. This year I bought a chronological one year Bible and I really like it. God can speak to you through whatever portion of Scripture you happen to be reading that day – His word is alive and powerful, so it is not bound by what section you are in. It never ceases to amaze me when this happens. Our job is just to be faithful to pick it up and read it each day.

  29. Nan Vroman permalink

    I totally agree with your strategies. I find that it all works; prostrating ourselves before the Father, asking him to clear our minds and asking him to convict us of sin that we need to confess, let the Holy Spirit lead us as to what book or passage we should focus upon on that particular day (and I have found that He is never “wrong” in how He lead us!)

    My major problem is making “time for a quiet time”! I have been trying to set my alarm earlier than I need to set it before I have to get up before work. What a wonderful way to start the day; it makes such a difference in my attitude, how I interact with co-workers that day, etc. How I hate myself when I don’t make reading my Bible a priority in any particular day. I need to remember the Book daily, IT IS LIFE!!

  30. judy permalink

    i read the bible all the time but it just dont seem to come to life with me .may god Holr SPIRIT MOVE IN A MIGHTY WAY

  31. I have been getting up early and reading my Bible, praying, and most time journaling something for a long time. I read through another book also. I have been doing this for a lot of years. I have read through the Bible in a number of different translations. My morning reading plan is pretty simple, Gen. to Rev. God has helped me develop the self discipline to read His Word everyday. Most years He has helped read through the entire Bible two times. I know I could not or would no do it without His help. That is why I say all of this humbly and confidently. God is gracious and good.
    Two of my life verses are John 15:7 and Romans 15:13.
    Keep reading and praying brother. You will never regret reading, studying, memorizing, obeying, living and trusting God’s Word! – all the promises of God are “Yes and amen in Christ Jesus.” (2 Cor. 1:20)

  32. Thank you for sharing your ideas Pastor Mark – they’re very helpful to me.

  33. charity permalink

    This is search a simple way to read the bible. I like it.

  34. Just like Rev Brown says sometimes we have to journey deeper into God’s Word – I am read Psalm 119: 81,88,89,97: I am meditate over your mercy & grace, but I have put my hope in your word. Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth. Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in my business and my life. Oh, how I love your word and you LORD !

  35. Ashley permalink

    Finding this post the way I did is further confirmation that the Holy Spirit is indeed moving. Thank you so much for this blessed post. God is god!

  36. This is the first of your lessons I have read. I’ve been a Christian for over 30 yrs., but in the situation of not being able to find a home church, I have slipped from reading the Word and dedicated prayer. I do read the verses that are posted and am in the habit of lifting things up to God throughout the day, but the layout of our home leaves me limited alone time and non-Christian roommates don’t understand about setting aside time to spend in God’s Presence. I so miss His Presence!

    I’m disabled, so have a lot of free time. I need to choose those things that are truly important and which deserve my time! Thank you for giving me a well-deserved poke.

  37. jim g permalink

    I use a compiled bible designed for reading the bible in a year. It has old testament,new testament, psalm and proverbs reading for each day divided into the days of the year. It makes it convenient for read through the word of God. I’ve use several different translations but my new favorite is the new king James.I find that the translation doesn’t matter to God for the Holy Spirit opens our hearts for what ever He would have us learn. We just need to pray before we open the Word that we would receive Gods message for that day. I read is the morning because it’s like that first cup of coffee, it gets me going and guides me through the day.I can really tell the difference if i miss my quiet time.

  38. Jim Hagen permalink

    Newsflash: The Bible is not the word of god. It is the word of many men who had an agenda–either to try to explain the world around them or to control others.

  39. George Oertel permalink

    I read the New Testament twice both times from start to end. The first time was when in high school and the second time was about 7 years ago after which I read the old Testament also from start to end. Then I downloaded e-Sword [KJV] and every morning when starting e-Sword a random passage of Scripture would be displayed, which I then read. It was truly amazing how often there was a definite message for me for that day and so I always looked forward to each day’s reading and praying afterwards. Then my P4 computer was hit by lightening about 6 months ago, but 2 of my sons bought me a new lap-top and I was able to go onto Facebook and Google prime.

  40. Pearl Watson permalink

    I actually was teaching in my SS class of middlers (8-111 years) on this very subject Sun morning. How the Bible is not just a book, but God’s Word and His Love Letter to us, showing how relevant it is and how very rich and beautiful it is. I was amazed at the response I got! I think that I was able to inspire 1 little girl, (a 10 year old,) as her grandmother who brought her told me after church that she was extrememly excited about the Bible and the lesson. I feel blessed and humbled that I was used by the Holy Spirit to make a difference in a child’s life. I love God’s Word so much, almost as much as I love God, Himself, (the whole Trinity) and want to impart that love to the kids I teach. If they can come away from my class knowing God loves them deep in their hearts, and gain a love for Him themselves, I feel that I have done my job as a SS teacher.

  41. Now taking all the medicine in a medicine cabinet at once is not a wise approach too. Many people want to read the Bible in one shot, they do ASAP want to know it all.. But it is not how much of the Bible that you have now read that counts more importantly but how much of it is part of your own life that counts..I often do suggest people simply start with the Book of Psa;ms, Proverbs, the Gospel of John first. Pray first that God will speak to you, reveal himself to you during each of the readings as well.

  42. Merriam permalink

    I love this! I try and read my bible every morning when I wake up, every night before bed, and anytime throughout the day when I need encouragement. I also got my kids an awesome bible story a day book, there is a story and a prayer for every day of the year, its great. God bless!!

  43. Camille de Pano permalink

    Many thanks to you Rev. Mark Brown for sharing this. I also just want to share my own experiences (yes, experiences) whenever I read the Bible. I say experiences because there are so many spiritual things that happen as I receive the new Wisdom everyday through the dwelling of Holy Spirit in me. As I have always done, before I open the Bible, I pray that God may send His Holy Spirit upon me to guide me in understanding the passages and chapters that I’m gonna read. Not just to “read” but to totally comprehend and be inspired so that I can feel that “transformation” that we, Bible readers, always long for. As I open it, sometimes the passages that show are exactly what I need to know. As I read between the lines, I just feel my tears roll down because of so much AWE that God has already answered my prayer! Those were tears of joy. Joy because God is talking to me! And yes, I gain Wisdom through His Words and I really feel that I am being transformed everyday, through the grace of God. I know that God can transform anyone whom He knows has that ardent desire to know Him more, of course through reading His Bible and by praying. May God be with us always and forever! Thanks be to GOD.

  44. Lydia Reyes permalink

    The bible is the manuel of our life. It is true, we should not rush reading the bible. sometimes I read my bible and quite don’t get the message. Then I relax and ask my Lord to show me what the meaning of the scripture is saying to me.There are times that I close the book and I may go to a prayer meeting and there may be a speaker that brings up the same readings and has a way of bringing it to light for me. God has a way of showing us even if it’s not right away.We just have to wait on him because sometimes, is us that do the rushing. Mark, I have read this post before and today it feels new to me. I thank God for you because we all need a little nudge once in a while. This is just another tool that God has given us to grow in his ways.

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