Have you ever struggled with reading the Bible?
Many of us do, including me. Time runs out in our day or maybe we get frustrated with reading passages that we don't understand. Perhaps we are still unsure if the Bible is even applicable to our lives. Maybe we just don't know where to start.
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that every word in scripture comes directly from God. So let's start there. If this is true and if there is no lie in God (Numbers 23:19), then we can trust that all of Scripture is true and therefore applicable to our lives today. This is why reading it is so beneficial- not just for our spiritual lives and faith, but it's practical for our physical lives as well. In scripture, there are life lessons for relationships, faith, finances, wisdom, business endeavors and so much more. So let's look a bit deeper at reasons why we should read the Bible more this year.
1. God’s word will light your path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
It's no secret that we live in a dark world. Crime, disloyalty, deception and selfishness ... the list can go on and on. Why? Because we are living in a world that values the opposite of God's holy character. Scripture tells us that God is light (God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all - 1 John 5:1). God's holiness shines light in the darkness. God promises that reading His word is like shining a flashlight in a dark room. His word shows us things we cannot see, and HIs love leads us where to go, what to do and how to live. When the future is unclear and you don’t know what to do next, remember that God's word lights our paths.
2. God’s word will strengthen your faith.
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
When we come to Christ, so many of us are under the misunderstanding that life will get better ... become perfect. Instantly. We pray for our troubles to go away and for blessings to rain down on us because, well, that's what so many religious people tell us. But the truth is, life is hard. Yes, God is good, but life can still be hard and sometimes the difficulties that we face takes a toll on our faith. But God promises that His word will fill us with faith and strengthen our trust in Him by the examples of others that are recorded in the Bible. There are so many encouraging stories of faith in Scripture that are there to help propel your faith and remind you that you are not alone.
3. God's word will bring you closer to Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)
There are many assumptions on how to get close to God, but scripture makes it plain to us that getting closer to God begins with us. He is always near. It's us who sometimes live our lives obliviou to His presence. So when we choose to take out time to not only acknowledge God, but invite Him into our lives, we begin to gain a closeness with Him. As we read the scriptures, we are inviting God into our lives ... into our days. God desires that we know Him and learn all about His heart for us. So as we read Scripture, we begin to learn more about God's love for us and His Holy Spirit begins to speak to our hearts and confirm in our lives what the Bible says.
Holding the Bible in your hand might feel intimidating becausse it's so big. Maybe it feels unrelatiabel or maybe you're unsure of where to start. The first thing to do is simply pray. Simply ask God to open your heart and your spiritual eyes to recieve and understand what He is leading you to read. Remember, prayer is just a fancy word for communication wth God. When we ask Him and desire to know Him, He promises to make Himself known.
You will seek me with all your heart, you will find me. -Jeremiah 29:13
Simply ask God to help you see the truth and His love through His word. Let Him know that you're unsure or that you are struggling or that you are hopeful or that you just don't know where to start. You can be candid and honest with Him while confidently knowing that He cares for you and that He is near.
Here are a few encouraging suggestions to help you get started this year:
1. Choose an undistracted, quiet place.
2. Begin by asking God to open your heart to His word (Psalm 119:36) and give you wisdom to understand.
3.Use a version you are comfortable with. BibleHub.com is a great place to experiment with different versions of the Bible. My personal preference is the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New International Version (NIV).
4. Use a Bible reading plan or a devotional that will tell you what to read every day, and take you through various portions of the Bible, systematically.
5. Don't get overwhelmed. You don't nee to read a chapter a day or a book a week. Start out small with a few passages. Think on it. Pray about it and invite God to show you how to apply what y