Tuesday, February 17, 2009

12 Steps to Better Bible Reading

4 Mistakes to Avoid
1. Taking verses out of context- for example John 15:7 - If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
- This is made to say that God loves His children and simply wants to give them their wishes, but when quoted in this manner the first half of this verse is left out. This could be made to say that if you wish for a new spouse or your neighbors house then God will give it to you. But we must not forget that we ask in the context of abiding in Christ and those who are abiding in Christ will only ask according to His will and for things that bring Him glory.

2. Reading Randomly - the practice of hunting for a blessing, or letting our bible drop open and reading the first chapter or verse that we see, or even just reading our favorite passages again and again - this practice robs us of the riches of God's Word, of all that He has spoken for us.

3. Holding to Tradition too tightly - when we read the Word and are confronted with a difficult truth that seems to conflict with we have been taught we are tempted to say, "well it can't mean that."
- For example - Luke 6:27 - But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

4. Ignoring Genre - we can't read the Psalms like Letters or History or Prophecy, we need to learn to read each kind of scripture according to the rules of the genre. Else we will end up confused.

4 Conviction to Hold
5. The Bible is the Word of God - 1 Thess. 2:13 - And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
- which means that it is also perfect, accurate, and trustworthy.

6. The Bible is Sufficient - It is the Word that makes us competent - equipped for every good work. - 2 Tim. 3:16-17 - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
- There is nothing else that is necessary - we need to be readers of the Word, hearers of the Word proclaimed, living in community where the Word can be obeyed and lived out. But is the direction of the Word that must guide all things.

7. The Author determines the Meaning - I have heard it said that everyone finds their own meaning when they read the Bible - or that there are as many meanings as there are people - we don't treat our letters that way do we - when I write a letter I mean one thing - and since I wrote it I determined that meaning - when we read the Bible we read God's word so we seek His meaning and there is only one - it may affect our lives differently - we may have different sins to repent of - but the meaning never changes - we seek His meaning.

8. Joy is found in the Word - Joy is found in seeing Jesus for all that He is - since the Bible is the only revelation of who Jesus is then we must approach the Bible seeking to see and enjoy Jesus - it is not simply a duty - it must be approached as an opportunity to sit down to a feast.

4 Practices to Adopt
9. Read all the Bible - Everything in the Bible in from God and given to us for our benefit.
- 2 Tim. 3:16-17 - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
- This means that we must find a system that works for us so that we find ourselves diving into all that God has spoken.

10. Read the Broader Context - Greg Koukle has a special message that he gives called - never read a Bible verse - his idea is that we should never read only one verse since it is so easy to take single sentences out of context - he recommends that we begin to think in terms of paragraphs - never read less than a paragraph,
- Think about how easy it would be for people to ruin what you say by taking only one sentence out of a whole conversation you've had. They could make you say almost anything - but you would argue, but that's not really what I said - lets give God the same treatment we want about our words.

11.Submit to the Authority of the Word - we are not free to disagree with the Word. We must hear the Word, recognize its authority, and submit. This is often difficult but it is necessary.

12. Read to See Jesus - Luke 24:44 - Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
- For example this morning I was reading about Joseph in Genesis - and his life is a picture of what Jesus was going to be - one person who suffers so that a whole people, in Joseph's case a whole region of the world would be kept alive. It was really moving to see that reflection of Jesus. But if Luke 24:44 is true then we must look at all we read with Jesus glasses on - trying to see the things written about Him.

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