“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105)
I have had the privilege of reading the Bible through several times. Sometimes I would read it through in one year, sometimes I would read it thorough in six months and a couple of times I’ve read it through in 60 days.
There is nothing super spiritual about reading your Bible through in one year. But if you are like me, unless l have a plan and a set timetable I will not usually read the whole Bible in a year. I am famous for getting stuck in a book or two for an extended period of time and studying it verse by verse. (“That’s also a good thing.”)
Since it has been a while since I have read the Bible through in one year, I decided to set a goal of reading the Scripture through in 2014. I chose a plan that has a daily reading in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament and a reading in Psalm and Proverbs. From the first day I grumbled because I didn’t like jumping around from Old Testament to New Testament. After I got through January, I stopped the grumbling and started listening for what the Lord wanted to show me from each morning’s reading.
(How long you take to read through the Bible is irrelevant. The main issue is that you make a deliberate choice to read through God’s Word and make it part of your daily life.)
The primary reason for my grumbling is because I was breaking my rules for reading God’s Word. I don’t mean rules as in legalism, but I am referring to a mindset I develop when I open God’s Word to read. Listed below are the things I do when I read my Bible. Maybe you will find these things helpful.
1. I ask the Lord to speak to my heart while I read. Since the Bible is a supernatural book, we need supernatural understanding to discern what He is saying. It is important to ask the Holy Spirit to illumine the Scripture so we can learn what God has to teach us in the passage.
For example, I was reading in Mark the other day about the disciples crossing the sea in stormy weather. All of sudden they saw Jesus walking on the water toward them and they thought it was a ghost. After Jesus got into the boat and calmed the storm, Mark writes, “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:52) The disciples were so unmoved and unaffected by the miracle of the loaves and fishes that it never crossed their mind that Jesus could walk on water and calm the storm.
From this passage, the Holy Spirit showed me that God wants us to count and remember all that He has done for us and in us. God wants us so focused on God’s goodness and grace that our first instinct, when trouble comes, is to trust Him and not worry about what’s going to happen.
2. Don’t read the Scripture with an unrepentant heart. Many years ago I heard a preacher say that “the water of life does not flow through a dirty vessel”. Given the context of the message, he was probably referring to our ability to be an effective testimony. But I believe it could also mean that in order for us to fully comprehend and understand the Scripture our heart must be right with God. Since the Scripture is a supernatural book, unconfessed sin hinders the flow of God’s Spirit and thus blocks us from Spiritual enlightenment. Also, I have found the Scripture to be the primary way God speaks to me. So keeping our sin confessed when we approach the Scripture is paramount to hearing His voice.
3. Look for Jesus in all of Scripture, both New Testament and Old Testament. One of the key principles I learned in reading Scripture is all Scripture points to Jesus. The Old Testament speaks of, points to, witnesses to, and testifies of Jesus. Jesus even said that “all Scripture points to me.” When you read the Old Testament keep in mind that many of the events, ceremonies, sacrifices and even the characters are types of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross.
4. Read the Bible in context. There is an old saying, “When you read the Scripture out of context it becomes a pretext. A pretext had no value.” When you read the Scripture consider to whom it was written, where it was written, why it was written, and the culture they were writing to. Some books are written to an individual and some to a church. It is important to understand the context as you read the Scripture.
5. Reading the Bible slowly. The Bible is full of interesting and relevant stories but it’s not a novel. It should be read slowly and deliberately, keeping in mind the context and then considering how the Scripture could apply to you. That’s one reason I don’t chose to read the Bible through every year. I find myself reading it too quickly to get through my assignment. The Scripture is meant to be understood, comprehended and applied. And that is difficult to do when we are reading it like a best seller novel.
I am often surprised how many believers’ neglect reading the Scripture on a regular basis. I would often tell my counselees that the Word is a remedy to their doubt, fear and weak faith. The Word of God increases my faith, reveals my true identity, aids in the tearing down of strongholds and reveals that fellowship with the God is possible.
I trust the Word of God will be a lamp unto your foot that lights your daily path.