So, you have decided this year that you are going to read through the entire Bible. It seems doable (according to the available reading schedules), yet daunting. The truth? Yes to both!
Still, you have made a good commitment to do so (with God’s help). However, to help you in this wonderful spiritual discipline, here are a few Rules, Tools & Tactics to make your experience more enjoyable.
Rules of Engagement
- Ask 3 questions in their proper order:
- 1st “What do I see?” ~ OBSERVATION
- 2nd “What does it say?” ~ INTERPRETATION
- 3rd “What does it say to me?” ~ APPLICATION
- Remember these 2 rules of thumb:
- A text can’t mean what it never meant to its original writers or readers
- A text without a context is a con (don’t use a text out of context!)
Tools for Engagement
- Bible ~ to provide the Text
- Personal Preference Version for comfortability of reading & understanding
- Paraphrase Version for comparison of possible meanings
- Study Bible ~ to provide introductory notes & context commentary
- Concordance ~ to provide word search for location(s) of the verse (s)
- Bible Dictionary ~ to provide scriptural meaning of a word for accurate understanding of it’s use in the verse or text
- Bible Atlas ~ to provide geographical/historical location for better conceptualization
- One-Volume Commentary ~ for quick reference of content & contextual meaning
- OR Online websites, phone apps ~ provide easy access of the above resources
Tactics In Engagement
- Read for transformation, not just information (heart & head)
- Read for exposure, not to understand everything (otherwise you’ll bog down)
- Read as a ritual exercise (discipline), not as a routine function (duty)
- Read as opportunity (“get to do”) not obedience (“got to do”)
- Read the text for the day at hand, not as a task to catch up on days missed (otherwise when you get behind you’ll get discouraged, and give up)
- Read slowly (allowing for questions & reflections), not quickly to “get ‘er done”
- Journal briefly questions & reflections to study or pursue later
The overall purpose of reading through the Bible is not to know the Word better but to know the the Author of the Word better—God Himself.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV