Grow5: Read the Bible

Reading the Bible is one of the core pillars of our Christian faith. It is through the scriptures that God speaks to us. But what is it about this book that sets it apart from any other book ever written?

A book about Love: At its core, the Bible is about God and mankind. A story about His faithfulness, and how we always seem to mess up our relationship with Him. And most importantly, it is a book about God’s plan for our salvation, redemption from the sins that separate us from Him, and His plan for reconciliation that will lead to eternal life with Him.

Recorded by men, inspired by God: The Bible is perhaps the most complex book ever written. It cannot be classified like other books. It contains history, poetry, song, science, philosophy, legal guidance, and an overarching message of God’s love and promise. It has one author (God), but 40 men to whom he used as an instrument to record what He wanted us to know, over a period of 1500 years. These men came from all walks of life, Kings, physicians, prophets, teachers, fisherman, priests, shepherd. Many of them were persecuted and martyred for their faith. Yet despite the wide variety of men used by God, the message is consistent through out the entire book.

Attacked like no other book: There were many attempts by the enemy of God to dilute, subvert, and even eradicate the Bible. Through out history God placed the right men in the right positions to discover, and ensure that His word would survive intact.

Translated more than any other book: The books of the Bible were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Subsequently it has been translated into nearly every known language on our planet. Throu th the years God has provided wise men who learned the language and customs of the original scribes, and in turn have translated the Holy Scriptures into our languages and the nuances of our languages as they have changed over time. Some prefer to read the KJV version as translated in the 1600s , while others prefer more modern renditions that also include translations of cultural idioms.

Inspired more subsequent works than any other : The Bible has inspired more books, some written directly about the Bible, and other literature that borrows ideas and themes for the purpose of instruction, and sometimes fiction. No book has inspired more songs than any other. No poetry than any other. And even the documents that form the foundations of our government. Many of the first and most respected scientists of our history started their study with facts and concepts introduced in Scripture, and even today we continue to discover that the scripture is right amount many things we are yet to fully comprehend.

Studying the Bible is a lifelong pursuit. It is not a book that can be read once and discarded.

So how do you get started reading this fantastic work of God? A mentor can help you. Joining a Sunday school class also gives you a forum where you can ask questions.

As a starting point, consider the following reading strategy:

1. The book of Proverbs contains short passages that convey Biblical wisdom. Chapters 1-9, and 30-31 are topical and best read a chapter at a time. Chapter 10-29 have one or two verse nuggets of wisdom. Endeavor to read a new nugget from these chapters every day as you have breakfast, and read it again as you finish your day.

2. The book of psalms is rich with poetry and early song. Many were actually sung. Pick one chapter or section per week, and read it several times throughout the week. It will amaze you how you can connect with the writer of the words.

3. The Gospels. In particular, John, Matthew, Mark, and finally Luke. They all tell the story of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each told from the perspective of a different apostle (Mark was written it is though based on the recollections of the Apostle Peter as conveyed to John-Mark). Set aside time to read each gospel a few chapters at a time. You could even read a gospel straight through, then go back and reread it carefully in small sections.

4. The epistles. These are letters written primarily by apostles to the early church that provides guidance on Christian living and expounds on the topics of salvation and God’s grace, and His new covenant with us as believers. Acts is a direct continuation of the Book of Luke and provides good overall context of the early church. Roman’s is rich with concepts about our salvation. Hebrews was a letter to Jewish believers. Paul’s 13 letters (Corinthians 1&2, Galatians, Timothy 1&2, and others) are rich with theology and advice on Christian living.

Once you have done a first pass through the scriptures given above, you can expand your Christian education by studying our beginnings in Genesis, and the birth and early years of Israel in Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1&2, Kings 1&2.

Explore the law given to Israel in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

There are many other parts of the Bible to explore. What is given above should get you started on a lifelong path of exploring the scriptures.