One of the foundational disciplines of the Christian life is Bible study. Though typically thought of as a solitary figure in a solitary room pouring over the Bible in deep thought for hours on end, there are other facets to the discipline. Here are ten ways to read the Bible.
1. Closely. The typical thought about Bible study is to carefully observe and understand the nuances of each verse. We should closely study the word choices, verb tenses, context, and doctrinal implications of each passage.
2. Rapidly. The Bible was delivered audibly and in large portions. Every so often, a rapid read of a book or large passage will keep you in tune with the overall story arc of the Bible. I have, on occasion, read the entire Bible in three months by reading approximately 13 chapters a day. It requires discipline but is a rewarding endeavor.
3. Prayerfully. As you read, always submit to the Author of the Word and our faith. As you read, prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Ask Him to help you understand the truth and know how to apply it.
4. Comprehensively. You should read the entire Bible. Multitudes of plans exist for chronological readings, combination of OT and NT readings each day, and many others. But to get started, simply read three chapters per day and you’ll work through the whole Bible in one year.
5. Meditatively. Reading the Bible can be a quiet discipline where you pause and simply soak in God’s revelation. Meditation is not emptying our minds. Meditation is filling our lives with God’s Word and dwelling on His work.
6. Carefully. As you read, ask good questions that lead to sound understanding. Always begin with God as the main character of the Word since it is His self-revelation. Be careful to not make yourself the center point of the Bible. Let God be God.
7. Joyfully. The Bible is God’s message of hope. It is a joyful endeavor to mine its depths and hear from our Father.
8. Inquisitively. We should come with a humble posture before the Bible. Assume that there is still much of God and from God that we need to learn.
9. Quietly. By this, I mean that we must cease our constant striving and the many distractions of life. Look for ways that separate you from the ocean of life’s noise so that you can focus solely on the Bible.
10. Audibly. Much of the Bible was delivered audibly to the original hearers. Read the scriptures aloud to yourself (and to others) in order to pay attention to the inflections and nuances. It makes for a powerful experience with the Bible.