How to Read the Bible (and Get Something out of It): Part 3May 7, 2014 at 9:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: 2 Peter 1, Acts 17, Bible study, hermeneutics, John 3, Psalm 119, Revelation 20, Romans 3, The Bible, Word of God
Previously I discussed some of the exciting things about reading the Bible. Be patient with the Bible. Some sections are like a torrid novel (there are even some scandalous passages!), but some parts are more like the terse outline in a study guide for a history exam. Other sections are beautiful poetry. Take some time to figure out what genre you are reading. The Bible has an unlimited depth. The more you learn, the more you will want to know. And the more you want to know, the more fascinated you will be. Here are some practical tips for getting more out of your Bible-reading:
1. Remember the truthfulness of it.
Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever.
The Bible is unique in this respect. It is absolutely true in every circumstance and situation. It is the Word of God, and God cannot lie, and He cannot change. Therefore, His Word cannot be wrong, and it does not become outdated. Everything else you hear is susceptible to being (and often is) a lie. The Bible is the “verily verily” of God – the “true truth.” You can depend on it and rely on it, even when everything around you and “common sense” seems to indicate otherwise.
… yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
2. Reacquaint yourself with God in it.
Some people only have a second-hand knowledge of God. You know Him through your parents. You know Him through sermons. Your main experience of Him is through praise and worship. It’s time you get to know Him better – in the Bible.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
II Peter 1:3
We know that God is loving, just, merciful, gracious, wise, and powerful, because He tells us these things about Himself, and He has recorded Himself demonstrating these things in the Bible. Can you imagine your spouse, child, or favorite person in the world giving you a letter telling you their most important thoughts, and telling you what they are truly like, and you don’t bother to read it? God has demonstrated His love and His care for us in the highest way conceivable. How can we not want to find out as much as we can about Him?
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
3. Recognize yourself in it.
The seeker-sensitive cliche’ “it’s not about you” is true, in a sense. But in another sense, it is about you. The Bible is where we learn how we got here and what our reason for existing is. A good hermeneutic principle to follow is to picture yourself as the sinner in every Bible story you read.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11-15 (emphasis added)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (emphasis added)
You are in the Bible in one of those two verses. If you are truly a Christian, then you are a “whosoever” in John 3:16. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, then you remain one of the “whosoevers” in Revelation 20:15, and I plead with you to ask the Lord to change your status today.