How to Read Your Bible the Right Way
I know how it sounds. "How to read your bible the right way" seems kind of... arrogant... and maybe even blasphemous. Can there really be a wrong way to read your bible? Isn't that pretty limiting to God and the power of His Word? I agree with you. I don't think there's a wrong way to read your bible. "The word of God is alive and active," right? But... I also believe that there is a way to read your bible that brings glory to God and honours the importance of His Word, and the Holy Spirit. In addition, it allows us to take God's truth from something we know to something we can apply to our day and transform our lives.
God's truth will transform our lives when we learn how to apply it.
There are three mindset shifts you need to make when you read your bible:
Check it off vs Connect
I'll often hear people explain that they don't read their bible everyday because they don't want it to be "something they just check off their list." That sounds great, but usually if we examine our motivation, we're really just justifying or excusing our lack of discipline in this area.
No, you shouldn't be reading your bible just to "check it off" the list. You should have a deep, heartfelt desire to connect with God each day.
But let's face it--we're selfish with our time and our thoughts and our priorities. We know God loves us anyway, so we push it off until we "have time." We always think, "I'll get to that later."
Later comes and so does the growing to-do list, the beautiful chaos of our children's ever changing needs, and the simple fact that we don't see the connection between our time with God and the slipping away of time in our days.
Reading our bibles is considered a spiritual discipline. It involves training and practice in order for it to become a well-formed habit in our lives. That doesn't mean it's just a meaningless item to check off each day; it's an intentional, thought-out decision to put God first in our lives, and in our days--even if we don't feel like it.
If you're married, then you understand the danger of choosing to live your life by your feelings. You won't always feel like loving your husband and serving your family. You won't always feel like making dinner or tidying up the house. You won't always feel like getting dressed and brushing your teeth (or is that just me?)
We know this in other areas of our lives, but why don't we get it when it comes to our relationship with God? It doesn't matter if you feel like reading your bible or not; in your very core, you probably understand just how much you need to connect with God.
Reading your bible daily has a direct correlation with your perception, your attitude, and your response for the rest of your day.
Reading your bible is like having sex with your husband...
I know I'm gettin' all "TMI" with you, but the more you do it, the more you enjoy it and understand the importance of it. If you let it start to slide, you'll forget how important it is, you'll enjoy it less, and it will become a chore.
(Side note: I told me hubby that I compared reading your bible to having sex with your husband and he chuckled and new exactly what I was getting at. So I know you do too!)
If you've been drifting through your days, waiting for the moment that you're just going to feel like connecting with God, you may never get there. But treat your bible reading like a discipline--one that you intentionally choose to do each day--and you'll start to see the positive change it has on you and in your life and that will breed that desire to connect with God.
Being disciplined leads to better connection.
Analyze vs Apply
Studying your bible is important. It's good to know the context in which words are said and understand the intended meaning behind specific words and verses. But if the purpose of reading your bible is to analyze the text, without learning how to apply it to your life, then you're missing out on the opportunity for powerful life change.
Most of us don't plan on becoming theologians and biblical scholars, so why do we spend our reading time acting like knowledge is the ultimate goal?
We should be approaching our reading time seeking to know God better and listen to Him speak to us. When we allow God to speak to us through His word, we gain a better understanding of our purpose, our direction, and our immediate next steps.
Taking our reading to the next level by receiving God's personal message for us and reflecting on how we can apply that to our lives is the key to bringing the bible to life.
Happiness vs Humility
Sure, reading your bible should be a positive experience most of the time, but often we go into our bible reading with the mindset that it's going to make us feel good. But if you're entering into your reading with the intention of connecting with God and applying His words to your life, then sometimes you're going to be in for a painful experience.
It's important to listen to God speak to you with humility. Having a humble heart, being ready to learn, and even willing to be convicted of our shortcomings, makes reading your bible the most powerful thing you can do for your life.
If we want our lives to change, we need to be willing to ask God: "What am I doing that you don't want me to do?" And "What am I not doing that you want me to do?" If you're open to hearing His answer, He will tell you.