This was written by Pastor Mike Walls – I hope this is a blessing to you. Our spiritual walk revolves around reading the Word of God!
Introduction: Before getting into the message, a little background is needed. These people had just returned to the land of Israel after seventy years of captivity in Babylon. They had not had the opportunity to read or even hear the Word of God read to them in all those years. Ezra the scribe read the Word of God for three hours. Some people would think that was really boring. But these people were starved for it. When he opened the Bible, the people stood and continued to stand during the entire reading.
The person who can read has a much better opportunity of knowing and understanding the Word of God than a person who has to take the word of another of that is what the Bible says. You can hear it but what you get from the Bible is fresher than what you are giving from the Bible.
Reading the Word of God is a very important part of communicating God’s word to God’s people. Public scripture reading was a regular part of the worship services in Israel and in the early church. In fact, in the account of Jesus going to the synagogue, He is given the scriptures to read aloud. It was His way to announce the commencement or beginning of His ministry.
In the day in which we live, we are blessed above all people in history. Not only does most people know how to read but there is enough copies of the Bible available so that everyone may have a personal copy.
Today I want to give you some suggestions to aid you in receiving the greatest benefit from reading the Bible. Let me suggest before going much farther that you get a pen or pencil and a small notebook to write down you questions. There are no dumb questions especially when you sincerely want to learn the Bible.
1. Read your Bible prayerfully. You have the Holy Spirit to meet your heart’s need as you read. Psalm 119:18
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
This is very true if you have been saved for a short period of time. You don’t know all you need but the Lord knows and can guide you if you ask for the help.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
2. Read your Bible thoughtfully. Think about the meaning and propositions of what you are reading. It is not the speed of your reading or how much you read that counts. It counts that you read and want to know more and more about the Bible. As you learn more about the Bible, you will find out that you know more about the Lord.
3. Read your Bible carefully. Take careful note not only the words that are used but also how they relate to one another. Let me show you a verse and see how this works.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
What does this mean? There are several key words. First key word and without it, this verse would mean nothing. It is the word “Him”. Without Jesus we would be nothing. Actually we would be like the zero with O rubbed out. The next key word is “do”. To think that our Saviour is able to do and will do is joy unspeakable. Then we see two words that relate to each other. They are “exceeding abundantly”. This means it is beyond we could ask or even think. Our God can do this. For my wife, son and Miss Amber and if Pastor Jose was here, at the beginning of the year, I chose this verse as our verse for this year. Nothing in my wildest dreams could even believe that this many people would get saved and see growth in people’s lives is a fulfillment of this verse.
4. Read your Bible repeatedly. It helps to read the passage over and over again. You could do this for a month. You will be surprised what you will see each time when you have the Holy Spirit teaching you. If you are reading a short book of just a few chapters, read it daily. Larger books break down in manageable portions. Take the book of John. It has twenty-one chapters. You could read three chapters a day and you would be able to read it four times in a month.
5. Read your Bible extensively. Sometimes it is of great help to read or even listen to large portions of the Word of God at one time. This does take planning. Do it a time when you are least likely to be disturbed during your reading. This is one of the reasons why I get up early in the morning. I can read and pray without bothering or being disturbed by my family or the telephone or the cats.
6. Read your Bible habitually. It will help you to have a regular time every day when you habitually read your Bible. Most of us don’t have a driving discipline to do something regularly. So this helps be disciplined to start our life as a believer right.
7. Read your Bible faithfully. There may be days that you fail to read your Bible. Don’t let this lapse discourage you. Restart again and try to be faithful. No one I have ever known started walking and never fell. In fact they fell a lot and restarted. But as far as I can tell, everyone walked in today. Why? They picked themselves up and walked as a young child and have continued. God will bless your faithfulness.
8. Read your Bible obediently. Why? The Bible was written to you. It is essential to obey when it speaks to you.
Conclusion: Let me end with some suggestions that will make your Bible time more enjoyable. Don’t make reading something you have to do just for the sake of reading your Bible. That makes it a chore. After a while, chores is dreaded and put off. Read your Bible with an anticipation that God is going to speak to you through His word.
Start with books of the Bible that will help you. As a new believer, the book of John will help you. I suggest that you make this book a must read for several months. Why? Within its pages is great words like “believe”, “love”, “eternal or everlasting life”. It is a book that Jesus dealt with many individuals.
Another great book of the Bible to read regularly is the book of Proverbs. It will deal with some sins that you may have and cannot seem to shake. These can be anger, lying, pride and so forth. This book has a habit to be very much to the point.
Reading your Bible must be a joy. If you approach it that way, you will be surprised to how much you can learn in one year’s time. Let me encourage you to start tomorrow in your new journey.
Don’t be afraid to write down your questions and ask one of us that have been saved for a while. As I said earlier, there are no dumb questions when someone sincerely wants to know the Word of God. I have been saved for over thirty-six years and still have questions. Finding the answers is easier now but I still enjoy learning it. This Bible is timeless and you will never learn it all. But it is fun trying.
Pastor Mike Walls
Freedom Baptist Church Smithfield, NC