Bible, Faith

How to Read the Bible

img_2843Followers of Jesus need to be in the Bible every day. We are told regularly to read The Bible. What should we read? How do we read the Bible? Where to begin can be overwhelming. If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, you may wonder what to read next. Maybe you want to study in a different way.

Thank God that the Bible has never ending wisdom and knowledge to gain. Just because you’ve read it all the way through many times, does not mean you’ve got it all figured out. That is impossible. We will be seeking truth in God’s Holy Word the rest of our lives. There is always something new to learn regardless of how learned we are. God will never stop revealing Himself in His Word.

Some Bible Basics:

There are 66 books of the Bible compiled into one volume with two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Old Testament

Law

 

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

 

 

History

 

Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther

 

Poetry

 

Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs

 

Prophecy

 

Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zachariah
Malachi

New Testament

Jesus

 

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

 

History

 

Acts

 

Letters

 

Romans
1 & 2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 & 2 Peter
1,2,3 John
Jude

 

 

End Times

 

Revelation

 

 

The Bible is about relationships.The Old Testament is about God’s relationship to His chosen people, Israel. The New Testament is about God’s relationship to the world through Jesus Christ.

The Bible has one theme. God’s passionate pursuit of a rebellious people.

When reading the Bible follow these steps.

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit. We cannot properly read and understand God’s Word without the Holy Spirit. Ask God what He wants to teach you today. Thank Him for who He is and humble yourself before the Lord.

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.     John 14:17, ESV

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   John 14:25-26, ESV 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.                 John 15:26, ESV

2.  Engage in a passage. Choose a book of the Bible to complete. Start in The New Testament with John, or any of the four Gospels. Or, start with a short book like Philippians or James.

Use the four “C‘s”

Chief people – Who is writing, receiving, or any other important names.

Challenges – What words, phrases or sentences don’t you understand. Underline them and write them down in a notebook.

Crucial Words – What words or phrases are repeated? Any comparisons/contrasts?

Cool Verse – What verse summarizes your study for the week? Underline that verse and memorize it.

 

3. Ask: Who is God? As you read through the verses look for any reference to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Look for His name, personal pronouns or His activities. Underline them.

Fill in the blank:

God is ___________

God _____________

4. Dialogue with God. Talk with Him. Pray.

Do I believe this about you? Why?

What truth do I need to remember about you? 

What are you doing that I need to be a part of?

How does what I read apply to me? In my relationships, work, school, etc.

Do I have unconfessed sin? Or areas of unbelief? 

Rely

Engage

Ask

Diaologue

This is a very basic breakdown of the books of the Bible and how to read it. This does not cover every thought, or idea on the Bible and Bible study. It’s simply a starting point. Most of this information came from a handout I received from my church years ago.

You will need a Bible that you can write in and highlight. Don’t be afraid to write in the Bible. Also, a notebook can be quite helpful to write down thoughts, questions, or what God spoke to you.

There are many versions of the Bible. I will not go into detail, in this post, on Bible translations. There are three main versions:

Word-for-word: NASB, ESV, NET, KJV, NKV

Thought-for-thought: CSB, NIV, NLT

Paraphrase: NIRV, MSG, GNT,

That’s not every translation. There are numerous ones. I like to use several. My favorite is my old, beat up, 1978 New International Version. It was my Mom’s when she was a brand new Believer.

I pray you will pick up your Bible today and read it. Hopefully with new eyes and new passion. It’s the most exciting book you will ever read.

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12, ESV

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God, Holy Spirit, Uncategorized

When God Whispers

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“I have had enough, Lord

Have you been at your wits end? You can’t take another moment of trouble, trial, pain, and hurting. I have been there countless times. I have cried out to God in pain I can’t take it anymore! Every time, God meets me right where I am at. He comforts me, encourages me, and speaks to me. God is faithful to respond to our pleas for help. He is not going to turn us away. How He responds to each of us may not always be the same.

God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. There are days when I would love that kind of certainty. Only God is going to talk from a bush that’s on fire. If that doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what would. I have not had that experience, and as far as I know, only Moses got that privilege. Moses also had the huge responsibility of leading the Israelites, so the talking bush makes sense.

God can and will speak to us in many different ways. Through His word, through Jesus, through other people, through circumstances, through nature, through the Holy Spirit. I see no limit to how and when God speaks to us. The issue is, are we listening?

I love the prophet Elijah. I’m kind of in awe of him and the hard things God had him do. Elijah came to the end of his rope. He told God he had enough. Elijah had killed all the prophets of Baal and when Queen Jezebel got word of this she was irate.

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 1 Kings 19:1-2

When you hear someone use the name Jezebel negatively this is why. She was not a nice lady. After marrying King Ahab, Jezebel became queen of Israel but still worshiped Baal. That’s a big no-no in the eyes of God and Israel, so she was despised. Jezebel also took Naboth’s land and had him stoned to death. Let’s just say as a woman, you don’t want to be called Jezebel.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:3-4

Elijah was done. He was tired and worn out just like we all get. Of course Elijah had the massive responsibility of being a prophet and God’s mouthpiece. So Elijah had given up and even prayed that he would die. But God didn’t give up on Elijah.

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” 1 Kings 5-9 

What happens next is one of my favorite experiences in the Bible. I love reading this and it always encourages me and I hope it does you as well.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 1 Kings 19:10-11

A powerful wind comes by tearing up rocks. The wind is so strong that it shatters rocks. That has got to be God, right? Nope. The Lord was not in the wind. Then an earthquake happened. Surely God was in the earthquake. Nope. Then there was a fire. OK, this must be it. God is showing up big in the fire. Nope. All this crazy stuff happens, and still no sign of God. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 

13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 1 Kings 19:13

God was in the gentle whisper. The King James Version says “a still small voice” to describe when God spoke to Elijah. God was not in the wind, or the fire, or the earthquake. He was the still small voice. How kind and loving of God to speak to Elijah, who was worn out, in this manner. It’s calm and you have to pay attention when God speaks quietly.

God can speak any way He chooses. God loves each of us so much, and has so much to tell us if we stop and listen. I have found that hearing God’s voice takes me stopping everything around me, and just sitting quietly at His feet. Not easy to do, but so rewarding. Hearing the Holy Spirit speak is powerful because it’s God. Those of us who know Jesus as Savior have the gift of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We have God’s Spirit in us! Incredible.

Sometimes, we need to be worn out and burned out to seek out God’s voice. Just like Elijah. If you are at the end of yourself, stop and rest at the feet of God. Ask Him to speak, and then wait and listen. He will not contradict His word, and it will more than likely be that still small voice. So quiet yourself before God, who holds you and the entire universe in His hands, and listen.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

Lord,

Thank you for your amazing love and grace. Thank you that you speak to us. Please help us to listen and know when you are speaking. Teach us through your Word, and the Holy Spirit, and whatever means you choose to speak. Give us wisdom and discernment to know your voice. Let us hear your voice above all the noise. We love you and praise you God.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

Living Water  A post I wrote last year on the Holy Spirit

All scripture was taken from NIV Copyright © 2011

Photo credit: Christine Sponchia from Pixabay