Every day you have 86,400 seconds. How do you spend your time? We choose how we spend our seconds every day and often default to busy-ness. Every day God has given us enough time and resources to do what he has called us to do.
Pastor Troy Murphy opened his message on Sunday, August 19 with those words as a way of encouragement to spend some of our precious time reading God’s word. Troy’s plea and longing is for Christ followers to know the beautiful love story that God has written about his nature and character.
The Bible is a beautiful gift revealed to us from God. It’s not a book of rules and regulations. It’s not a book of definitions and about mysterious things that happened in past. It’s a relevant guide to our lives today. Are you making an appointment to spend time reading God’s word regularly?
Troy offered 10 instructions on how to read the Bible.
1-We ought to read the Bible regularly.
Joshua 1:8 tells us to meditate on God’s word day and night. God’s word puts a foundation under your feet. If you regularly put it into your life, it becomes an aspect of who you are and how you view life. Your perspective about everything else changes.
The Bible gives us clarity and the lens to see grace and truth. We see life differently. That is why we should pick it up regularly. In the words of Helen Keller, we should go to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble. The Bible should become a foundational part of your life in which you find you can’t do without it.
2-We need to read the Bible analytically.
2 Timothy 2.15-16 says we are to correctly handle the word of truth. We should study, break down and analyze the scripture and not settle for reading it casually. If there are passages you don’t understand, go to a commentary and get more clarity.
3-We would profit more if we read the Bible systematically.
The Bible was never meant to be read in random fashion. We must be careful to know the context of what we are reading, and not just read chunks of scripture without having a concept of the bigger story. We should read the Bible with a plan in mind. That could mean starting with the the gospels, or reading the entire New Testament.
4-We gain the Holy Spirit’s help when we read the Bible prayerfully.
Psalm 119 says the word is a lamp to our feet. We should prayerfully ask God to help us grow deeper and refresh our soul with the scriptures.
5-It’s one story so we need to read the Bible completely.
If you haven’t read the Old Testament you don’t understand the weight of sacrifice, the powerful picture painted through the day- to-day blood sacrifices that Israel had to bring to God to atone for their sins. When Jesus comes on the scene and terms are used like the last lamb or the perfect lamb, there is great significance. It paints a powerful picture of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. The Old Testament gives us a broader picture Jesus.
6-We are humbled when we read the Bible reverently.
We must acknowledge that God speaks to us through his word and treat it with the reverence and respect that it deserves. Spending time in his word creates holy and sacred moments.
7-God’s word is for our utmost good so we ought to read the Bible expectantly.
Pregnancy brings a sense of expecting something special. We should have a sense of holy expectancy when we read the Bible. We are waiting for God to reveal something to us.
8-A pure why helps us read the Bible fervently.
Reading God’s word is like a drink for our souls. The Bible gives direction and can profoundly impact our lives. It has the potential to be transformative. It can change you. We need to fervently seek his guidance. When we do God can change the way we see our day. He’s making us new. It’s nothing we do, it’s God working in and through us.
Too much effort is spent on trying to clean up and perform for God. Often we think our role is to become better Christians. You can’t do that for God. What happens is you fall in love with a God that gave an amazing gift to you through Jesus that you are so compelled you dive into the word. He produces in you the fruit of the spirit. It’s not us working on patience, for example, it’s God’s spirit working in our lives to create a soul that is at rest and at peace.
9-We grow more when we read the Bible collectively.
We want to respond to the truth and we do that by putting what we read and learn into practice. When we dialog about the wonder of God’s word with other believers, we learn and grow and get stretched. It’s not enough to read the Bible on your own. We need to bring other believers into the process. What’s hurting the church is that we have access to lots of spiritual information online, but we’re missing the transformation that takes place when we gather with fellow Christ followers. Coming together as part of a spiritual family is critical.
10-We must read all texts in the Bible telescopically.
We need perspective in reading God’s word. There has to be zooming in to understand certain passages in context. Certain passages are understood better if you see the bigger story.