This week I share part two (of four) on our series on ‘how to make a great start to 2015’ – Bible reading (you can read the previous post on Prayer here). It’s something that most Christians struggle with, yet the Bible is absolutely central to growing as disciples.
Here’s five simple ways to help grow our Bible reading:
- Regular Pattern of Time. Adopting a regular time and place for reading helps it become habitual (and is a clearer goal to work towards).
- Regular Pattern of Reading. Having a reading plan of some description will provide focus and assist you to read the Bible in a more constructive way. You could start by simply reading the Gospel of Mark (try this 30-day Gospel of Mark Reading Plan) or through an app (e.g, YouVersion) or book (“Mark for Everyone”).
- Pray Before and After you Read. We read the Bible in the recognition that God equips us with his Holy Spirit to help bring understanding and transformation. Accordingly, asking God to help you in your reading, understanding, and application is really important. After reading, commit everything to prayer that God will use it powerfully in your life.
- Reflect on Three Simple Questions. As you read, try to ask three questions: (a) OBSERVE: What does the text say? (b) INTERPRET: What does the text mean? (c) APPLY: How do we respond to the text? A Study Bible will be a great help with all of these questions.
- Carry the Reading in Your Heart and Mind During the Day. Throughout the day, try to think about everything you last read and prayed. Memory verses are a great help! If you keep thinking about it throughout the day (with prayer), you will be amazed at the effect on understanding. ‘Inwardly digesting’ takes time!
- A Study Bible: The NIV Study Bible is excellent and matches the translation we use at church, available at Koorong and Book Depository. The New Interpreter's Study Bible is also an excellent study Bible (using the NRSV translation) (available at Book Depository).
- Book: How to read the Bible for All its Worth (Stuart and Fee). An excellent introductory guide to reading the Bible which will really help you get the most out of your Bible. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Book: The Bible Book, A User's Guide (Nick Page). This book is an excellent resource that moves through the Bible, book-by-book. It's a handy source to refer to as you tackle new books of the Bible. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- App: You Version. An amazing app for your phone and tablet that has almost every translation of the Bible as well as reading plans that will help you. Available on iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.
Three bonus resources particularly for our Gospel of Mark series:
- Book: Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Book: The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus by Michael Bird. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Thirty Day Reading Plan for the Gospel of Mark (in PDF).