We are looking at thoughts about revitalizing our time, as believers, in God’s Word and some of the common errors we make as we read and study the Word of God, the Bible. In the past two blogs we have seen some of our errors…
1> Reading the Bible without prayer
2> Getting confused or bogged down by the things you don’t understand
3> Reading too fast, as if you are reading a novel or other fictional writing
4> Reading the Bible in a state of unrepentance
5> Applying Old Testament laws and rituals and promises that were spoken to Israel and that have been done away with, or fulfilled in the New Covenant
6> Reading the Bible out of context
7> Reading the Bible without taking it personally
This is a problem all believers encounter when our rational approach to life is also the way we approach the Bible. This is a mistake that even Bible teachers and preachers make. We go to the Bible to look for information, to look for a promise God has made to His people (you), a principle that you can apply to your life, a “now” word from God to meet a crisis that you are facing. This is a ‘looking for information’ or rational approach where really the Bible is a living Word” and thus can be transformational – changing our lives from the inside out.
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
For preachers and teachers we go looking for sermon material, or material for a message that applies to other people. So, we need to slow down and take what we are reading personally, applying it first to our own lives.
A note to teachers and preachers: The secret to ministry, the secret to effective ministry, is to take that which has applied to you in your own life, that which you have experienced, and that which has become food to you, to give to other people. So, reading it personally first is very important.
8> Not switching versions of the Bible once-in-a-while
One of the things I have found very helpful is switching versions every once-in-a-while. I normally read the ESV version of the Bible (English Standard Version).However, after a year or more of reading and studying God’s Word in this version (my favourite version) I switched to the NLT (New Living Translation). Because the wording is different and the way each verse is expressed differs from version to version I find that the Word comes across fresh and new once again because of the different way verses I know so well have been expressed.
There are a good number of decent versions of the Bible available today in English at a decent price. So, just about everyone should be able to switch versions of the Bible every 12 to 18 months to “jolt” their senses as they read the same truths expressed in a slightly – and sometimes majorly – different way. There are many versions that are free online and can be used on desktops and laptops as well as cell phones. So, cost should not be a factor.
So, wrapping up this small series on “Bible Reading Revisited…”
One of the key ways that we receive spiritual nourishment is by reading the Scriptures. However, there are times that all of us experience when reading the Bible becomes a chore, rather than a delight. And, during such times, the words seem as dry as dust. Our minds wander. We open the Scriptures, and the words do not speak to us. What do you do when the Word is simply silent?
More on that in the next series of blogs starting next time…