Go Beyond Reading

Often, we think in order to properly study our Bibles we need to read Chapter upon Chapter or spend a certain amount of time reading, and while it is definitely good to spend time EVERY DAY in God’s Word, it’s not the quantity, but the quality that really matters most. It’s not doing any good to read three chapters of a particular book and then not be able to draw any application to our own lives from it, or for that matter, barely remember what has been read.

It is also important to understand the context surrounding the verse. In previous posts, I’ve provided a couple of examples of this and the mistakes that come from taking a verse and attempting to apply it out of its original meaning. To understand the context, we need to know who is involved, what is happening, where and when it is happening, and why things are happening. But we also must not try to interpret what the biblical writers wrote through the lens of anything other than their frame of reference; their worldview. If we attempt to interpret Scripture through a Baptist lens, a Catholic lens, or any other man-made religion, we limit the potential impact of God's Word for us.

When we use such lenses, then we face the consequences of such poor interpretations such as in Jeremiah 29:11 that so many believe is about how God wants to prosper you.

Bible study is so much more than just reading. Don't let your goal be complete a certain amount of Scripture reading each day, but instead look to fully understand a verse or two of Scripture from the point of view of the writers themselves. Ask God to help you find the relevance for you today.

Consider Psalm 52:1. In the first part we see boasting on the part of man. But who in particular? Doeg, the Edomite. What's his story? See 1 Samuel 22:9. What about the word "boasting"? What does the Bible say about boasting? Is it always bad? Here's a good word study to tackle.

Then look at the second part of the verse. It speaks of the love of God as being steadfast. Look up goodness and the love of God. It may take you to such verses as Romans 2:4 and several others. If you study this through, you will see a connection from God's goodness to His plan repentance and of salvation. 

Just in this short verse, you can use this to show someone the way to God's forgiveness.

So, you can see how a method such as this is much more powerful than simply ensuring you read you quota of verses for the day. However, ANY reading of God's Word is profitable (Isaiah 55:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:16), so do not take what I say here as a condemnation against simple reading. Far from it. Read every day, but study every day as well.

“Read the Bible, my friends, as if you were seeking for something of value. It is a good deal better to take a single chapter, and spend a month on it, than to read the Bible at random for a month. I used at one time to read so many chapters a day, and if I did not get through my usual quantity I thought I was getting cold and backsliding. But, mind you, if a man had asked me two hours afterward what I had read, I could not tell him; I had forgotten it nearly all.” 

                                                                                               ~D.L. Moody