Why do you read the Bible? What do you hope to get from it?
I think it is important to answer these questions. Knowing the answers will intensify and deepen the value of your time spent in the Word.
The Purpose Behind Regularly Reading the Bible
You don’t read the Bible for information. You read it for transformation.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV (emphasis mine)
God’s Word stands in stark contrast to the patterns of this world. God gave us His Word to renew our minds and set us right. I know He’s changed my life for the better in a number of ways through His Word.
So, as you read your Bible, don’t just look for information. You can get that anywhere. Look for transformation. Notice the verses that seem to jump off the page at you or that strike you as particularly odd or that grip you in some new way. This is where you need to stop and linger in God’s Word.
- What is this verse really saying?
- How can I apply it in my life?
- How does this compare to how I usually think or act?
Look the verse up on BibleHub.com or BibleStudyTools.com and check out the cross references. On these sites, you can also very easily read the verse in several different translations of the Bible. Sometimes this will give you a slightly different or better understanding of what’s going on. Also, read the commentaries. These will further explain and unpack the verse for you.
The goal is to really engage in what God is speaking to you through the verse. Let it sink into your heart. Mull it over. Come back to it again and again. Talk it over with other Christ Followers. Make a spiritual meal out of it.
Let the Word Renovate Your Life
Of course, in the end, you must APPLY God’s Word if you want it to truly make a difference in your life.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 NIV
Just like a broken down house, we need renovation. Our goal in reading the Word is to be transformed inside and out to be more like Jesus. When you read the Bible with this in mind, it makes all the difference in the world.
The writer of Hebrews says:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV
I want to be totally transformed so I can copy Jesus in my thoughts and intentions. That’s the REAL reason to read the Bible!