How to read the Bible?

This is a very good, and, an important question.  According to 2 Timothy 16-17, God has breathed life into the Bible.  By reading it, God will speak to us and make our lives whole again.  Invite God to sit beside and read with you!

2 Timothy 16-17

16 God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again.

17 By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.

Read Bible with Jesus
But how to start?  The Bible, after all, a big book!   Below are some of the tips I found useful:

  1. Anytime is Good Time, but a set time in the morning would be wonderful – You don’t need to wait for a good time.  You can read at home, in a cafe, in the library, at any time as long as you are able to concentrate on God’s word!   On the other hand, many Christians read a set time each day, especially in the morning, following the model of Jesus Christ.  They enjoy a quiet time with God and let God shape their lives before they handle earthly matters.
  2. Understanding that it is about encountering God– Whenever you open the Bible, you come to the glorious presence of God who is also our heavenly Father.  When we read, we do not try to memorize the facts or force ourselves to understand.  More importantly, God wants to speak to YOU through the Bible!    He loves you and he has a plan for you.   So all we need to do is pray, “Father, speak to me, that I can understand you better and I may follow your way.”
  3. Keep an open heart and write down notes! – When we read, we keep our eyes open for words and messages that catch our attention.   You may mark those messages that seem particularly relevant to your needs, problems, or even current circumstances.   You may copy down those passages on a notebook (yes, you need one) and re-read them from time to time.   When you have something to do during reading, it helps to focus your attention on the passage.   Soon you will be amazed that your notebook will be filled with God’s messages for YOU only!
  4. Use the Three Guiding Questions – After I read a passage, I write down three headings, and then look for insights from the Bible.  In time, I understand more about God, about Human, and about God’s plan for me.   These questions are:
    • About God – what does this passage tell me about God?  His nature, His plan, His love, His power, …
    • About Human – what does this passage tell me about the human race?  Our desires, our sins, our need for God, …
    • About Me – what does God want to tell me?   His promise, His reminder, His encouragement, and What He wants me to do, …
  5. Use the FOUR simple steps – I use the following steps that helps me focus on God instead of my own problems and desires.  Yes, we do have problems and we can bring to God.  But God has a bigger plan for us, and will give us strength and power to deal with our problems.
    • Pray first before opening God’s word – Ask for guidance and to be able to accept what is written and apply His will to your life.
    • Read the words aloud or in silence – Let the words speak to you instead of applying your understanding.
    • Receive God’s message from the passage – Use the three guiding questions above.  Write down if you discover some treasures.
    • Quiet before God for a few minutes – Thank Him for the message and pray for the strength and wisdom to carry his will.

In Psalm 1, there is a good description of Bible Reading is like planting a tree near a stream of water.  You don’t see big difference or insights in a day, or a week.  But you will see amazing changes of your live after a period of time.   More importantly, you will know more about God and have the strength to follow His plan.

Psalm 1:2-3

1 Blessed is the one who obeys the law of the Lord.   He doesn’t follow the advice of evil people.   He doesn’t make a habit of doing what sinners do.   He doesn’t join those who make fun of the Lord and his law.

2 Instead, he takes delight in the law of the Lord.   He thinks about his law day and night.
3 He is like a tree that is planted near a stream of water.    It always bears its fruit at the right time.   Its leaves don’t dry up.  Everything godly people do turns out well.