As I begin to write this article, I can imagine people who have heard this question before, ask why there is a need for another message on the same subject? I am certain that you have heard all the messages that anyone could give on this. But I am not talking about why the Christian should read the Bible. To those who are true followers of Jesus Christ, that question does not need to be asked. It is the word of God and the necessary sustenance to our souls.
But back to the question about how to read the Bible? There is a need to ask this question because many well-meaning pastors have encouraged their people to develop a plan and a method. The common challenge by many is to read the Bible through in one year. There was a time when I thought this was too big of a challenge, but as I have grown in my own personal study, I have found that reading the Bible through in one year was not enough. The question of how to read the Bible is what I want to address? I want people to read the Bible like I read the Bible and receive the blessing that I received by doing so. But that does not relate to any particular method.
You have all heard the answer given by one saintly person who said that “the only way to read the Bible is on your knees”. We all know what he means by that. But Charles Spurgeon had a problem with that method. You see, Charles Spurgeon had the problem with gout and spending many hours reading the Bible on his knees would be a very painful process and would hinder him from getting the most out of the Scripture because of the pain. So, Spurgeon decided that the best way to read the Bible was by finding a comfortable chair to do so.
All of us, if we are to get the most from reading the Scriptures, must have some kind of plan and reading the Bible through in one year is a good idea. But for some, with their busy schedules and lack of time, they wind up trying to read the Bible that way and winding up no farther after they finished than when they started, because they discovered it didn't work for them.
Most of you who know me, know the method that I use to read the Scriptures, so I will not bore you by repeating it. But I just would like to share some principles to help you to get the most out of the time that you do spend in reading God's word.
1. Read it regularly
By that, I mean by treating the Bible as important enough to give it your attention. It does not make any difference whether you read it for 10 minutes or 10 hours. The most important thing is that you read it on a regular basis in its immediate context to get the full meaning of the text you are reading. If you do not understand what you are reading, it will have no benefit on you. So, read it regularly.
2. Read it seriously.
It is the word of God and there is a message for you in this word. Approach it in a solemn manner because when you read the word of God, you are entering into “holy ground”.
3. Read it carefully.
Ask the question: What is it saying, who was it speaking to, what application does it have in my life? Is there something exciting to share with someone else?
4. Read it expectantly
Do you come to the word of God expecting to hear God speak to you? This is very important because if we do not read it expectantly, then our reading will be merely academic and superficial.
5. Read it desperately.
You may wonder why I choose this. Sometimes we face problems in our lives that are too big for us to handle on our own. Sometimes it is in a dispirit situation that we receive the motivation to call upon God and seek a solution. It is then that we find the answer that we need. Remember Jacob prayed that prayer and the result was his name was changed (to Israel “Prince with God’).
6. Read it thankfully
There's something about hearing God speak that brings great refreshment to our souls and produces lives of Thanksgiving in us.
So whatever method you choose to use, observe these principles and receive the blessing that God wants you to have through reading his word.