To read the introduction and foundation to this post, click here.
1. Firstly, when we read, we need to go wide by reading the whole bible from beginning to end. This is important because the Bible interprets the Bible. We need to know what is in it and how the different parts relate each other. For example, we can learn a lot by comparing Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 and 5. As we start to see connections throughout the Bible in the revelation given to separate men who lived thousands of years apart the story of God will begin to come alive in our minds and hearts. It will! It really will!
2. Secondly, when we read it is important to also go deep. We need to study and meditate and memorise single verses and chapters and books of the bible until they seep into our subconscious, we digest them and begin to live and breathe them.
3. Finally, we need to turn the word into prayer. The Hebrew word for ‘meditate’ means ‘to utter or vocalize’. In those passages that we love and that we’ve studied deeply we need to turn them into prayers back to God. It’s through prayer that God begins to soften our hearts and move them with delight.
1. Set a goal to read a certain number of Bible chapters every day. While I was serving full-time in the House of Prayer I read 10 chapters a day. However, now that I am working I don’t have the time or energy to read that much and only read 1-2 chapters a day. Set a goal that is manageable and sustainable. Start at Genesis and read to Revelation. As you read, if there are times you find your mind wandering, don’t go back and reread the bits that you didn’t take in. Just keep going. If you go back you’ll quickly become discouraged. As you read look for connections between the different passages and books.
2. One of the most enjoyable ways to go deep in passages of scripture is to find an aspect of the story in them that moves you. To do this start with the stories in the gospels. Choose a story that you really like and then in your imagination or on paper (by writing or drawing) turn this story into a little movie script. This involves the following steps:
- You need to know the passage really well so read it out loud to yourself a few time.
- Ask questions about things that don’t make sense in the passage. Write them down and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the answers to you (it may take time for the Holy Spirit to respond so be patient). For example John 9: Question: Why is the blind man begging if he has parents? Answer the Holy Spirit gave me: The parents were too poor to look after the son anymore and so he had to go and beg for a living. Can you see how this begins to open up a whole storyline? Now you begin to wonder, so why were the parents so poor?
- Now try to visualise the whole story in your imagination or write it on paper.
- Example to follow next week!
3. There are two main kinds of passages in the Bible: promises to believe and exhortations to obey. For example:
A biblical promise: John 15:9a – As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you…
A biblical exhortation: John 15:9b – …abide in my love.
Start by focusing on God’s promises. Thank God for them and ask Him to help you experience the power of them in your life. For example, with John 15:9a pray: Jesus, I thank You that You love me in the same way that the Father loves You. That You love me with the same intensity of love that the Father loves You. Father help me to experience more of Your love. We can know about God’s promises without ever really experiencing them. Ask Him for an event to take place in your life that will allow you to actually experience a particular promise to the same degree of reality that you experience the affection of loved one through a kiss or a hug. This is actually available! God actually wants to bring the promises of His word alive to this extent in our lives!
[Photo credit: Nathan Lam @ thegloryofgodismanfullyalive.wordpress.com]