Reading the Bible in 2016: Knowing How to Read

As 2016 gets underway, many of us are starting a new Bible reading plan (and you can even start today though it’s January 7!). What is essential to making your Bible reading worthwhile this year? There’s a lot we could say, but let me boil it down to three things we must do: we must read successively, thoughtfully, and prayerfully. First, read successively. By this I mean read whole books of the Bible at a time. The Bible is a collection of 66 books with unique genres, and specific themes, tones, and purposes in mind. Each book was written by unique people who had their own personalities and … Continue reading Reading the Bible in 2016: Knowing How to Read

Listening Is the First Thing

Here is an encouragement to all who make it their regular rhythm to read and listen to the Scriptures. Not to mine it for religious information or obscure facts or historic controversies or proverbial nails in your friend’s doctrinal coffin. But for shaping. For transformation. For God. This comes from Eugene Peterson’s introduction to The Message. “Revelation” means that we are reading something we couldn’t have guessed or figured out on our own. Revelation is what makes the Bible unique. And so just reading [the Bible] and listening to what we read, is the first thing. There will be time enough for study later on. … Continue reading Listening Is the First Thing

Roundup of Posts on Scripture Application Questions

Over the past several days, I wrote several posts about questions to ask to help with meditating on and praying Scripture. Ultimately, these questions help us to aid in heart-level application of Scripture. This is the only kind of application that will have lasting value. Now, these questions are not the only ones we should ask, but they are important ones. For quick reference, here are the links to those posts with a brief summary. Moving from Reading to Relating. Asking questions to help get us from information to life transformation. Law and Gospel: Four Questions. Asking questions to help us feel the weight … Continue reading Roundup of Posts on Scripture Application Questions

Law & Gospel: Four Questions

Yesterday, I wrote a post on how to ask questions that facilitate meditation and prayer when you are reading Scripture. In that post, the focus was on the character of God (utilizing the A-C-T-S acronym): What is God like? What does a text reveal about him? The questions below are related, but slightly nuanced: what does God require of us? This nuance gets at weight of the law and the glory of the gospel. It’s important to recognize this when reading Scripture, so let me briefly explain this concept known as “Law and Gospel.” In some way, every Bible text is calling us to be … Continue reading Law & Gospel: Four Questions

Moving From Reading to Relating

The most difficult aspect of personal Bible meditation, application, and prayer is that most of us simply do not know what to do after we have read a passage. You look at it. You look at it again. You close in a prayer. Five minutes has gone by. While basic Scripture reading is always helpful (God’s word is alive and will work!), this may keep us limited to intellectually knowing Bible stories or facts. But if we want to know the God of the Bible, if we want to love and obey him, then the word must dwell in us richly. This happens through meditating (i.e. thinking deeply) on Scripture and turning that meditation … Continue reading Moving From Reading to Relating