Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But what if I dont like reading the Bible?

Thanks for dropping by my blog today! I am so glad you are here. If you read todays Proverbs 31 Devotion, Ancient Words, you will understand title above! Todays devotion is about how important Gods Word is in our lives, and how we should treasure it as priceless antique.

(pssst......Look for a chance to win a free gift at the end of this post!)

But the fact is, that not everyone reads the Bible, even Christians with strong faith. Why? Actually we can come up with lots of excuses, such as.... it can be confusing! It can be intimidating. It can challenge our intellectual intelligence and even cause us to doubt our grammar skills as we muddle through all the names of biblical characters and cities. It isnt in order of events. It is often repetitive. It doesnt apply to real life. I am already a Christian. I already know the Gospel.

Lets be honest now - have you ever found yourself thinking or saying any of those excuses? I know I have!

However, God has certainly done a work in my heart over recent years when it comes to reading His Word. The Bible no longer seems like this looming responsibility hanging over my head, sitting on the coffee table collecting dust, eerily calling out my name, making me feel guilty and faith-less because I dont grab it for pleasure reading. Now I realize that the Bible is a treasure, and it is alive with Gods Word, packed with more action than Indiana Jones and more passionate love stories than The Notebook!

Sometimes people are under the impression that the time they spend at church, fellowshipping with Christian friends, praying, daily email devotions, and reading inspirational books is surely sufficient for getting a strong dose of Gods Word - but nothing is a viable substitute for the real thing.

Are we actually told in the Bible that we should read the Bible? Yes! Lets look at a few examples:

John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV)

Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (NIV)

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (NIV)



These verses above are just a few of the countless verses in the Bible that reiterate that we are to spend time in Gods Word. But for some people, this truth can cause immediate stress! Some people begin condemning themselves because they dont read the Bible, even if due to simply not knowing where to start.

If that describes you, then help is on the way! Here are a few tips to get started on learning how to read the Bible:

* My P31 sister, Wendy Blight, is beginning an on-line bible study on her new book Hidden Joy. Moody Publishing is providing ten free copies of the book for the first ten people who sign up for the study. The study will begin on June 17th and go through the summer. Wednesday will be the day that Wendy post her thoughts on the chapter for the week and the questions. Visit Wendys blog for all the details on how to get involved!

* Pray before opening Gods Word. Ask for discernment to apply His Word to your life.

* If something seems confusing, read that passage several times. Read some
commentaries on line to help discover the true meanings.

* Dont try to read large amounts of the Bible all at once.

* Start with the New Testament first (people who try to start with Genesis, usually never continue reading through to Revelation). Below is an idea you can try:
-Read "Mark."
-Read "Matthew."
-Read "John."
-Read "Luke" then "Acts."
-Read "Galatians."
-Then read the rest of the New Testament starting at Romans and going to
Revelation.
-Then you can back and read the Old Testament.

* Purchase a Chronological Bible, where the Bible stories are actually arranged in the order in which they occurred,with designated daily readings to help keep you on track.

* Purchase a Devotional Bible for Women.

* Form a small bible study group; pick one book of the Bible or a few chapters, per week or month, and read and discuss the details.

* Join a bible study at your church, and dont get intimated by the titles or the authors.

* Do a topical study for yourself; look up words like hope, faith, anger, or topics that are applicable to current struggles in your life.

* Keep a journal of what God leads you to read and what verses seem to jump off the page; keep track of prayers and answered prayers; this is very motivating when you find yourself in a reading rut.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Still wondering if you should start reading the Bible consistently? Here are a few other reasons to consider.

Because Gods Word is alive, and the more you expose yourself to it, the more God will expose Himself to you through it. The Bible is His message to us, and if we want Him to hear what we have to say, we should also listen to what He has to say.

Because God speaks to us in varied ways that we can understand, and can also speak directly to our hearts, but if we have His written Word in our hearts and minds, we will better be able to judge whether it is His voice we are hearing, or just the enemy trying to deceive us.

Above all, because God wants a relationship with us, and He is not going to love us any more or any less because we do or dont spend time in His Word. Reading the Bible is for our own gain, and helps us grow spiritually.

The best way to get started with reading the Bible, is to take that first step, whatever the best first step is for you, and just get started! Your increased faith and closer relationship with Christ will be well worth the effort!


** I will have a drawing on Friday for everyone who subscribes to my blog today! Just look for the side bar on the left of the screen to find the subscribe button. The winner will receive a free copy of a book called The Asended Life: When the Position Becomes A Relationship, written by Bernita Conway. it is a great first step to taking your faith walk to the next level!

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16 comments:

Joy in The Truth said...

Thanks, Tracie. I think "to know me is to love me" is key with God's Word. When one starts investing time in reading it and soaking it in, you fall in love with it...and more importantly... with the Author.

"You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word." Psalm 138:2

Another great resource is Mike MacIntosh's book "Falling in Love With The Bible".

Luke 24:45
"Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures."

Thank you, Tracie, for encouraging us toward the Ancient Words of continual Truth!

Leigh said...

Thanks for the perspective, Tracie, and for the P31 devotional today. I was at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference last week and Lynn DeShazo was our worship leader. Wow, that was great! I wasn't familiar with "Ancient Words" either, but we sang it several times and knew it quite well by the end of the conference. It's appropriate for all of us, but took on another layer of meaning for us writers who are trying to stay true to those Ancient Words and bring people closer to God.

God's blessings to you this week!

Anonymous said...

Timely devotion! I struggle with being consistent reading God's word, but I am always so blessed when this is a regular habit. At the minimum I try to read a chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so even if it's hit and miss after 2 or 3 months I have read all of them.

Thanks for your encouragement!

Tammy Nischan said...

I hope I subscribed correctly!!!! I definitely tried!! :)

I loved your devo and Ancient Words is one of my FAVORITE songs to sing in worship!!!!!!!!!

Wow! I can't imagine how moving that must have been as everyone lifted their Bibles!!! Awesome! I just loved that moment in your story!

Love you! See you in August!

Tammy Nischan

On Purpose said...

Great devotion and post today! Time spent in His Word is time well spent! Thank You for leading women towards Him today!

Van said...

I came over to let you know I am praying for you and your family. I know life has thrown you an overwhelming curve ball. I'm standing in the gap for you sister. In the Word - a great place to spend quality time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tracie for your words of encouragement to us all on how important it is to read our Bibles!!
Gail

Vern ~ Inspired said...

I use to struggle greatly at comprehending the bible and it was very frustrating to me to spend time in the word. As the Lord called me into ministry I wrestled with Him because of my inadequacies. He then took me on a journey of praying for wisdom and understanding. I purchased a bible that was easier for me to read...and began to look up all the scriptures on wisdom. It was a great place for me to start at and quickly I began to get lost in the word and excited because I was understanding what I read and wanted to know more!!
I have never been a person that liked to read...so this is victory!
I recommend using tools that are online such as BibleGateway.com and other commentaries that help in expanding your knowledge of the word.

Thanks for the story about the Ancient Words...what a powerful worship experience that must of been!

Anonymous said...

I loved your devotional today! I have a Michael W. Smith Worship album that has that song on it. What a great reminder to treasure The Word. I also liked your suggestions about where to begin Bible reading. I'd like to add that Psalms is such a great book! My hubby and I started reading a chapter each day from Psalms when I was suffering through a period of depression and it was so helpful to me. To hear David alternately praising God and lamenting his distress made me realize that God knows our ups and downs and holds us tight through all of it.
God bless you!
Jenn

Lynn cowell said...

Tracie,
I am one who is SO glad for the Word. It is the one sure thing; one true thing. Thanks for the reminder of just how precious it is to us!
Lynn

Wendy Blight said...

Tracie,

I love what you said about reading God's Word and how it enriches and blesses us when we invest time in it and with it's Author!!

A special thank you for sharing the Hidden Joy on-line study with your bloggy friends. Already a few have stopped by.

Thank you for nudging us closer to the heart of God today!

Blessings to you sweet friend,

Wendy

suzi.wollman said...

Aw, Tracie, I have a problem. I tried to subscribe to your blog, but it goes directly to iTunes, where it gets rejected because it isn't audio. I'm not sure why, but I've been unable to figure it out. Anyway, I'm a follower, even if I simply have to go to your blog everyday! :D

Susannah
suzi@suziwollman.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your daily words of inspiration Tracie. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,
Thanks,
A Nice feeling from the Holy Spirit came over me when I read your blog today..... A couple of weeks ago I've been encouraging some family members to read God's word. Those were some of the exact verses I used to give them. Just seems a little powerful feeling inside of me.

I feel the same way with alot of what you write about. The day befores article..... "on the way the kids dress today.".... We have 2 teenage sons. They can sure challenge us. Feel we have a lot in common.....Alot of times we feel like we are the only parents who care how they dress. Thanks for letting us know we are not. It breaks my heart also to see the skimpyness in the clothing today.

Thanks again Tracie. Love your encouragement. Some encouragement right back at yhea!! Keep loving your children.
Sirach 30:1-3,"He who loves his son chastises him often, that he may be his joy when he grows up. 2He who disciplines his son will benefit from him, and boast of him among his inmates. 3 He who educates his son makes his enemy jealous, and shows his delight in him among his friends.

God Bless!!
sisters in spirit.

Sarah said...

I really enjoyed your devotional today! Thank you for sharing and writing such beautiful, God-honoring words.

BTW,vI LOVE that song. I fell in love with it a couple of years back at a women's retreat. Very inspirational.

Have a great day!

Joyful said...

This post made me think of Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Treasure Island". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXKHd8vc-ZM

His Word is filled with treasures waiting to be found,
Joy