For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ~Hebrews 4:12
Sitting in the pew with our kids between us, we heard the same sermon and portion of scripture. Discussing the sermon’s theme later, my husband shared he received an entirely different message. His was not wrong; nor was mine. God imprinted the same message differently in our separate hearts and minds. His Word truly is alive and at work in all of us. W=Word.
God’s Word is the same, yet different for all who read or hear it. Have you ever heard a familiar Bible passage or story and suddenly have new insight or an aha moment? That is God’s living Word speaking to you! To be God’s Follower, we need a road map. The Bible is that map. It is God’ Instruction Manual for life. If we want to be His Follower-it’s apparent we need to follow the map!
Maybe you’ve read the Bible and haven’t understood how it applied to your life. Maybe you’ve read it once and you’re done. Maybe you’ve been overwhelmed by the various translations, cryptic names and words. Maybe it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it seems like work.
I’ve been there. But let’s not allow any excuse derail us from injecting God’s Holy Word into our lives. It’s amazing how the verse above really is true. God is speaking, we just need to listen. When I read the Bible, it speaks to my innermost thoughts. But to facilitate understanding, I need to approach it with a seeking attitude.
I know the Bible can speak truth in my life. So to truly understand, I seek God’s wisdom and discernment before and as I’m reading. As James 1:5 says:
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Let’s be honest, though. It can be daunting to read this giant book. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips:
- Pick a place to start (John is a great place to begin) and read a chapter a day
- Use the concordance in the back to look up passages with words that speak to you
- Get involved in a Bible study at church, with your friends or online. (Stay tuned for additional resources available here in the future too!)
- There’s an app for that-download Bible apps to your electronic device so it’s always with you
- Sign up for a verse a day-many options are available to send a daily verse to your email
- Enhance your reading with a study Bible, devotions or commentaries to dig deeper
If you do to supplement reading His Word with additional resources (people, commentaries, devotions, Bible studies) make sure the message stays true to the Bible. It should always direct you back to His Word and its message of salvation through Christ. Nothing can substitute for reading the Bible.
[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]6 Tips to Reading the Bible and Applying It to Your Life @JillMHoven [/tweetthis]
God’s Word doesn’t always make us feel comfortable. But reading and applying His Word to our lives is an integral part of being His Follower. If you can, do it in the am before your day begins. It really does set the tone and often shifts my focus. I read a few verses with my kids each am and we pray. These God whispers are often exactly what we need, when we need it.
As His Follower, let’s not take someone else’s word on the subject. Let’s take God’s-literally. Just like my husband and I had different insights on the same message, God has a direct message for you. But you can only receive it by digging into His Word. Want to be His Follower? Do as James reminds us: Be a reader and doer of His Word.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. ~James 1:22
Linking up this week with Holley Gerth for #CoffeeForYourHeart