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HOW TO READ THE BIBLE
Attentively. Many people like to multitask (to do three or four
things at once) because they think they can get more done that
way. But researchers have shown that when we multitask, we don’t
do any of our tasks as well as when we do one thing at a time.
When you read the Bible, don’t multitask. Be fully engaged and
focused. Give God your undivided attention.
Carefully. Try not to skim quickly through the Bible. Read it
like a detective. Look for hidden clues and subtle facts. The best
insights come as we dig and think more deeply.
Be inquisitive as you read. Remember that God speaks
through his Word. Think of it as a conversation with him. If you
don’t understand something, ask him what he means.
Regularly. The more you keep coming back to the Word of
God, the more God’s truth will influence your thoughts, fill your
heart, and guide your decisions.
Experientially. For example, don’t just read about the time
Jesus and his disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee
(Matthew 8:23-27). Put yourself in the boat with them! Imagine
yourself in the scene. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Feel?
Expectantly. Remember this crucial fact: Through the Bible, the
God of all creation wants to communicate with you. So expect to
encounter him. He wants you to hear his voice, even more than
you want to hear him!
Are you wondering how you can begin to apply the truths you are
reading in the Bible to your life? Here are the steps.
First, read a story or paragraph. Then look for the . . .
The Bible is true, it’s for everyone, and God can use it to transform
your heart. Keeping all that in mind, how should we read it?
HOW TO APPLY THE BIBLE
PEOPLE: Find the people in the passage. If Jesus is talking to
the disciples, the obvious ones are “Jesus” and “the disciples.”
But consider who else might be there, listening in. Next think
about how the people in the passage might be like people in
your community, church, or school. And consider who in the
story you would be like if you had been there that day.
Next check out the setting (where this is happening)
and the story itself to understand what is going on. Almost
every story has a conflict, so look for that. It might be a prophet
confronting a king, Jesus talking with the Pharisees, or Paul
correcting a church. You can also look for similarities between
that setting and yours and think of similar conflicts in your life or
in the world today.
This is a very important step—determining the main
point or principle of the passage. Ask, “What does God,
Jesus, Paul, the prophet, or the writer want people to know,
think, or do?” Try putting the answer in a statement like this:
“God wants people to __________.” Or “Jesus wanted his
disciples to ___________.” Or “Paul wanted the _________ to
This is where you take the next step of applying
the Bible to your everyday life. This answers the “So what?”
question. Take the point and see how it relates to you and your
world. How does it relate to your faith, family, friends, fears, or
future? The truths of the Bible are timeless.
Plan: Now that you know the main point or points of a
passage, you need to answer the question, “Now what?” In
other words, what is God’s message for you, and what steps will
you take to actually do what he wants? What does God want
you to think, pray, or do?