How blessed we are to have God’s Word written for us to read and enjoy every day! The Bible is full of wonderful stories of love, sacrifice and salvation as well as poems, advice and encouragement. The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages around the world and is still being translated as new languages are discovered in remote foreign countries!
Reading the Bible is different than studying the Bible. Changing the way you read or study this wonderful book can help you better understand what being Christlike is about, and what it means to live your life as a Christian. Reading the Bible can give you an idea of Christianity as well as information about people living in Biblical times. Studying the Bible can allow for a more in-depth experience as you immerse yourself in God’s Word and literally pick apart the book, the chapter, the verse or the word!
If you would like to study the Bible, here are a few tips to help you along the way. First, decide how you’d like to read through the Bible: would you like to read it cover-to-cover and then go back to examine areas that impacted you more than others? Would you like to read only Old Testament books or New Testament books? Is there a specific topic you’d like to study? When you figure out how you’d like to begin, grab your Bible, a notebook (a new journal would be perfect) a pen and a highlighter. If you’d really like to get into the Bible, grab a concordance and a Bible dictionary.
A concordance is a book that cross-references words and concepts in the Bible. For example, if you’d like to study forgiveness, a concordance will tell you every verse that “forgiveness” is used, as well as “forgive” and “forgiven.” If you don’t have a concordance, check for an online resource that is available for use!
A Bible dictionary will help you understand words or concepts that may not make sense to you. For example, if you aren’t sure what “galbanum” is, you can look it up and discover the meaning behind the word! (Galbanum is a spice). Some Bible dictionaries will also provide information on Bible characters from a historical and genealogical perspective.
When you begin reading the Bible, do so slowly. Taking a sentence and reading it through once or twice, and then once out loud, can also give you a different idea or meaning. Emphasize each word, understanding it’s individual meaning as well as the meaning in the sentence. For example, read the following placing more emphasis on the bolded word than the non-bold word: “God is love.” “God is love.” “God is love.” This one short verse speaks a lot of information about who God is.
Consider the writer of the book you are studying. Who were they? How old were they? Where did they live? Why did they write this particular book? Also consider the time of which the book was written: was there a war? What was the history that took place during this time?
There are many resources available to help you discover more about the Bible to enhance your reading experience! Pray and ask God to help you understand His Word as you seek to be closer to Him!
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