You may find me posting more practical tips here than just stories (but the stories will continue in some manner). I will explain more about it in a future article. For now, I wanted to share what I think are my best tips on how to read God’s word.
I have spent many a day diligently reading God’s word but still finding myself lost and uncertain on how to retrieve its life-giving magical abilities. What I did not understand about myself that I understand now is that I read the Bible with my lenses on. I read it through my life experiences and allowed somewhere internally those life experiences to have a power over me that the Word did not. I read it with my views of God deep in the recesses of my heart affecting what it said. If I found in my heart that God was not good, then I could easily find that in the Bible.
The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It has the power to bring life or death, and there was a time when the Bible was more like death to me than life.
Over those years, God was in constant pursuit of my heart. Had He not been, I would not know Him as well as I do now. There is a sense in which God works using whatever method He decides is best in order to bring your heart into alignment with His goodness so that scales are removed for the eyes of your heart and enlightenment is free. When your heart is so corrupted that you cannot see God’s goodness, He will diligently prove Himself faithful to you as He sets you free from that same corruption. At least that’s been my story. As I’ve walked ever nearer, the Bible has come more and more alive to me.
If you follow me on Instagram, these tips will be familiar because I posted them there a while back. All my tips are Scripture based, and I use Scripture to pray when you see references posted to the side.
The Best Tips on How to Read God’s Word
- Be still before God. (Ps 46:10, 1 Pe 3:4, Matt 11:28)
- This is to position your heart rightly before God.
- You may have worries pressing on you that keep you from stillness. Release them or trade them for peace using Phil 4:6-7.
- This is a time to ask yourself if/where you need to repent.
- Scripture can be read to give death or to give life. You want to make sure you are ready to receive life.
- Pray before reading for an enlightened heart of understanding. Use Col 1:9-10 and Eph 1:16-18 as guides.
- Read the text you are studying. Underline anything the stands out or intrigues you.
- Dissect the sentences into smaller pieces. Ask who, what, where, when, why, how questions as needed to help you understand what goes where. Pay attention to words like so, but, and, for, that. Transition words answer the questions.
- Reread if needed. Think or meditate on things that don’t seem clear. This may especially be something God wants to teach you. Do this before going into a study Bible or commentary. Once you have an idea, use those resources to clarify your thoughts.
- Sometimes in step 5, you take space from the text. You go about your day in prayer and meditation of your reading and questions.
- Remember that reading the Word is to know God, not necessarily to know the Word for knowledge’s sake. One can meld into the other, but your primary purpose in reading is to develop your relationship with God.
- Everything you read has to be filtered through the knowledge of Jesus and His gospel message.
- The more you read, the more you grow to know Jesus.
- The more you know Jesus, the more you will understand the text.
- Be patient.
- After you read, draw conclusions.
- From those conclusions, find applications. What is God saying to me about my life and what wisdom is He giving me for current situations I am in?
- If a text is very difficult, slow down. Ask and answer two questions:
- What does this say about God?
- What does this say about man?
- ALWAYS read with the lens “God is good.”
On a really weak day, you may find yourself only on Step 1 or Step 2. While the goal is to get into the Word and therefore know God better, you have still spent time with God if you only spend time praying. It is okay to stop on step 1! Do not discredit the work God can and will do through you during moments of quiet. Your posture before God is important.
However, just like when you start a new exercise program, you will slowly work up to time in the Word, where the meat of your time with God will be. You may find that as you spend more time in the Word, more repentance is necessary! You will desire to shake off more and more sins. When you find yourself stuck in a sin you cannot remove, do not stop.
The Bible study I’ve written on Romans 8 will help you grow in biblical transformation. It will be available to you later this month. Check out this post on condemning thoughts. The first step to growth is setting your mind!