The Bible: How to Get The Most From Reading Scripture

 

The New Year is often a time of spiritual reflection. And when searching for answers on life’s deeper meaning, many people turn to the Bible.

While I have a seminary education and study the Bible on a regular basis, I still feel like what I don’t know far exceeds what I do know about what its truths.

But I will say the scriptures have proven to be a reliable source of guidance for every single area of my life. Its teachings are practical, inspirational and eternal in application. So here are 3 guidelines to help you get the most from reading the Bible.

The Bible Is Relevant To Modern Life

Critics point out that the Bible is thousands of years old. An ancient document about ancient people speaking on far removed events not relevant to modern life.

But read it from cover to cover and you’ll discover eye-opening similarities between then and now. Okay, some of the Old Testament books get a bit dry.

But no other document in the world speaks with its candor about the reality, the struggles, the tragedies and triumphs of human life. All the events that took place thousands of years ago are taking place today.

The Bible covers every issue we face today and pulls no punches. It is transparent…even raw in how it honestly addresses…

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Adultery
  • Incest
  • War
  • Sexuality
  • Eternal Life
  • Money
  • Success
  • Power
  • Relationships
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Contentment
  • And the list goes on

The Bible speaks with authority. Offers practical insights and advice. And in spite of all life’s difficulties, still presents hope. There is no other book that is more relevant for life today.

The Bible Considers Itself Absolute Truth

This is probably the biggest reason the Bible is rejected in our modern society. It is written as a prescription. It should be followed according to doctor’s orders.

But many of those prescriptions are uncomfortable and culturally unpopular. Love my enemies? Seriously? I’m struggling to love my family and friends.

So rather than conform our lives to its teachings, we conform its teachings to our lifestyle.

How?

By calling truth relative and treating the Bible like a menu selection. Pick and choose the parts you like and reject the ones you don’t.

Not how the Bible is designed for use, but still a worthwhile endeavor. Because truth is truth. And when you follow it…even in parts…even simply as good advice…you’ll benefit.

Because treating other people the way you want to be treated is not only a Biblical truth. It’s a sound principle that pays off in positive, practical ways.

But if you want to experience the Bible’s complete effect. If you want to experience its full, healing power. Then you have to follow the complete prescription.

Why?

The Bible Claims There Is Power In Its Words

The Bible claims to be the very Word of God. And it says those words are alive and active…penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit…judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Wow. Pretty deep, huh?

To be honest, I can’t fully explain what that means. I can say, God’s Word is not a magic formula. Words you repeat like hocus pocus, abra cadabra and poof, things occur. I will also add my own life is not a perfect example of any of them. Same is true for everyone else.

But they are words you embrace. Practices you put into effect. Principles you follow. Many of them are very simple. Hardly any are easy.

I will also say they are personally transforming. At least, it’s true in my own life and I’ve observed it in others too.

The key is in how you approach the Bible. If you read it like a historical document. Or looking for loopholes, special exemptions or to justify your behavior, you’ll probably experience limited benefits.

But if you read it with an open mind. With a willingness to receive it as absolute truth. And follow its prescription. It will change everything. Beginning with you.

 

Chip Tudor is a professional copywriter,
author and Pastor of Community Life
at Fairhaven Church in Dayton, Ohio.

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