.How to read the Bible.
One of my aunts once said “if you can’t go to sleep, drink warm milk or read the Bible.” She tried it, but she low key wasn’t lying. I personally opted for tea (I’m a member of the Golden girls club), but I often experienced the latter of her statement. It got to a point where I had to ask myself why? It’s not like it was a foreign concept. You are born again, you believe in Christ, you want to know God more and you know there’s a benefit to it so read just the Bible more right? That’s the simple part. I knew this, yet I never did. WHY? What didn’t I get then that I get now? It’s honestly so sad to want to do something, have the tools, know what to do, why to do it …and just not do it. Lol. #dontjudgeme
Firstly, lets get this out of the way; the last thing the devil wants is for you to know God more, and even worse get to know WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST. That’s a dangerous scenario for him. As you know, you are made of various parts, two of them being your mind and your spirit, which often battle each other. The easiest entry way for the devil to affect you is through your mind, so of course when it’s time to read your Bible that’s when you start getting distracted and thinking of the many chores you have to do, the people you owe money, who you weren’t trying to pay another time, and what to make for dinner lol. Don’t sleep on him! #nopunintended.
I also want to say that there are two contexts that you come across; historical and spiritual.The physical aspect of the time period, what the practices were, who they people were, how they lived, their culture, etc. and the spiritual; the things God did, the prophecies, the symbolisms, the visions, etc. As much as there is a historical context you have to make sure you don’t water it down to just a history book.
Alright so let’s get into the nitty gritty of it all. First of all, what exactly IS the word of God? It’s exactly that. The Word of God. Deep right? In a nutshell the Scripture/Bible is the written form of God.
So like I said, it’s God, but just in a written form. The words you read are the written form, but the insight you receive is from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is behind the inspiration of the words you read.
Now, this is something you either just believe or don’t. Simple as that. As a Christian, you either believe that God has provided these instructions for you through men, or not. You either believe that what He says is true, or not.
At this point the assumption is that you believe these words of God; the truth. There’s a difference between facts and the truth. In a nutshell facts were what people say and the truth is what God says. Fear exists; we get fearful at times; that’s 100% a fact. God’s word says, “He has not given us a spirit of fear.” That’s truth. Therefore, when you get fearful, KNOW that that is not from God. Sickness happens; that’s a fact. When your nose is running and the throat is scratchy; you clearly have a cold. God’s word says, “by His stripes we were healed.” Therefore, sickness doesn’t come from Him. That’s truth. These same stripes also caused salvation right? We are very quick to just accept that we are saved and Jesus died for our past, present, and future sins, but we don’t put this same confidence in the fact that healing also came with this package. So here lies the battle of what you see, what people say, do etc., vs. what you know God says. The latter is more powerful. God’s word is powerful! Literally. The difference between an inspirational book like Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul and the word of God is that there is actual power behind it. When you say the word of God (out loud) things happen and things change! But how are you to say them to change your life, if you don’t know what words to say? You gotta read it to know right? So let’s get to the practical side with some guidelines:
Don’t just skip to Genesis 1. The preface of your version will let you know what words were added, translated, etc. The King James Version is the translation of the direct Hebrew and Greek words that were spoken, but other versions like NIV, ESD, AM etc. will say something like “these kinds of words are italicized, etc.” So when you come across something italicized, you know what is changed or added to help you better understanding, and don’t assume that this means this word is being emphasized for extra spiritual power or whatever. Lol.
I’m sorry, but this never works for me. There is NO context when you are doing this, so you literally have no idea what is going on and even more dangerously, it can lead to misinterpretation. Read all up in through it chapter. One of the most popular Bible verses is “I can do all things through Christ.” A lot of people say this solely to mean that they can perform some great task because God will empower them to do so. Well yes this is true as a general statement, but a lot of people just leave it at that. If you read past that one line, the context of that statement was that said by Paul when he was going through a ROUGH time. That although he is being jailed, and stoned, and unfairly punished etc, he can get through all of that because God strengthens him. If you don’t know the context you don’t know that as you go through hard times, you can say this. This is the truth of what God is saying.
I highly suggest this because it serves as a guide that kind of forces you to get that context. I love plans because there is a clear start and finish; that helps you from drifting out in the end. I personally did a 40 -day Bible reading plan (link here). But there are many of them out there. I suggest picking one that calls for you to read at the minimum, a chapter or two a day and not a verse or two a day.
Lol. I’m sorry but I can’t tell you how many times, growing up, people in the church always said “start in Matthew because that’s when it starts with Jesus”, or whatever. I mean that may very well work for someone else, but that legit NEVER worked for me. Being Christian doesn’t mean ignoring the Old Testament; remember that context helps. It helps to know how God was before Jesus, to even appreciate what Jesus did for us in the first place. It’s helpful to know what prophets before Jesus said and to see how Jesus fulfilled it. I’ve tried it all ya’ll and I’m just trying to help you out. You start reading in Matthew and it’s talking about the lineage of Jesus from David, it’s like bruh who IS David and why are they bringing him up right now? I suggest starting in the Old Testament. Perhaps maybe do a OT plan first, then NT. Or if you’re someone who wants to get straight to the end of the movie like I do at times, do a plan that might do a chapter of each side a day or something!
Read like you’re actually doing this for the reason of getting to know God, or finding this particular thing out, etc. When you Google an article you’re reading it because you want to know something right? If you just randomly read something just to read it, it doesn’t really have that much staying power.
Anytime you are reading the word Spirit that begins with a capital S, that is referring to God’s Spirit aka the Holy Spirit. Anytime you see spirit with a lowercase s, that is referring to man’s spirit, or some other spirit that’s not God’s. Thank me later.
This may seem common sense right? You want to understand something so you look it up. I know there would be times when I would read something, had no idea what it meant then just kept it moving….and had no idea what I read by the time I was done. #WasteHerTime2016. Do yourself a favor and just pause for a moment to look up what “consecrate” or whatever a particular word actually means.
We are in human bodies and we rely so much on our flesh, especially our intellect, sometimes. We try so hard to “figure” God out; we may definitely know Him better, but figuring Him out? You can do that by yourself. Lol. As stated earlier about facts vs. God’s truth, I believe Him when He says “His thoughts are not our thoughts.” But what I really mean is take some pressure of your mind trying to do it all and allow the Holy Spirit to bring you understanding.
Now you don’t have to do this, but a simple prayer that I would say every time before reading the Bible was “God I thank you for your Word. I thank you for it being the food to my spirit. As I read it, let it feed my spirit and bring me understanding.” Dassit. The Bible says the Holy Spirit brings understanding. Alright so believe Him, when He says it and let Him do it. You’re doing your part so believe Him when He says He is going to do His.
As you read, you’ll notice that maybe something that you used to read and be like “huh” all of a sudden you just get now. You’re doing your part so believe Him when He says He is going to do His. God sees your efforts. Remember that He ALWAYS Goes by your heart.
In reference to #6, look up what desire means. A desire is not kind of wanting something it’s STRONGLY wanting something. Trust He can always spot a sham better than I can (and my sham –o- meter is pretty on point); but I digress lol. Like I was saying, God sees your efforts. He sees the fact that you’re even reading this. So trust and believe Him. Don’t be that lady who asks someone if they will do something, then checks in every 10 minutes to see if they are still gonna do what they said they will. Believe me. Don’t be my mom…I mean that lady. Lol.