G & F Episode 4: Reading Scripture
Welcome to the #GoodandFaithful Movement! We inspire, educate, and train God’s people to leverage ALL that He has given us to bless the nations and advance His Kingdom!
This week we’re discussing a subject that is near and dear to my own heart. We’re talking about reading Scripture! We’re instructed to rightly handle the Word of Truth. And so we will, because we ARE the Good and Faithful!
In this episode I briefly share a portion of my testimony in order to explain why I am so passionate about reading Scripture. And while I know for certain that salvation is ultimately a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, I still hold a strong stance that as Good and Faithful servants, we have a responsibility to do our best to present ourselves to God as ones approved, workers who have no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). With that being said, it must be noted, in fact, it must be emphasized, that no amount of Scripture knowledge replaces our need to actually KNOW the Lord personally (John 5:39-40).
As for HOW to read Scripture, I’d like to share three general approaches. I’ll define each method, explain why I think it’s important, and then give you a brief example to help you visualize the practice for your own walk.
- Reading/listening to Scripture to know what it says
- Rigorously studying Scripture to understand what it says
- Reading/listening to Scripture to draw near to God and learn to discern His will for your life
Reading/Listening to Scripture to Know What it Says
This is as superficial as it is meant to sound. This is NOT and in-depth Bible study. This is not Scripture memorization. It is simply exposing your mind to the information that is contained within the Bible.
The reason for incorporating this practice into our lives is because the human mind was designed by God to lay out neural pathways that help it better retrieve information. With more repetitions, more exposure to the same information, those pathways become more engrained. By increasing our exposure to Scripture, simply reading through it, listening to it over and over again, we make the information more familiar. This increases our little brain’s repository of Bible references that it will naturally turn back to throughout our day as we experience life under the mercy of God.
To give you an example. As a student, I have learned the value of “reading ahead.” There is so much information that gets thrown at us, trying to comprehend it all becomes very challenging if we’re also being exposed to the information for the very first time. That’s why a useful practice is to read the lecture material ahead of time so that my brain isn’t working twice as hard during lecture. The read-ahead is not meant to be thorough. It’s just increasing the number of repetitions my brain gets with the information, making it easier to recall when I need to. Should not our brains be so equipped with Scripture?
Rigorously Studying Scripture to Understand What It Says
This approach is the common Bible study. This is where we really dig into passages to grasp their original historical, linguistic, and cultural context. This is treating Scripture for the hefty piece of historical literature that it is.
Christians should make this common in their handling of Scripture because it truly enriches faith. It also helps us measure the validity of many would-be teachers out there (myself included) against the truth of Scripture, keeping us from being tossed aside from every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:1-16). Additionally, just like a Physician Assistant needs to read his medical books, or how a Chef needs to understand recipes, should not a Good and Faithful servant be well versed in his or her Master’s instructions as laid out in His Word (Psalm 119)?
There are many methods for effective in-depth Bible study. In the show I share my own. But it’s enough to say that this method really requires intentionality and attention. As a starting point, I recommend using a Bible version that aims for a more literal translation and that shows cross references in the margins so that you can see how Scripture interprets Scripture.
Reading/Listening to Scripture to Draw Near to God and Learn to Discern His Will for Your Life
This final approach is where I hope to exhort you to live in. Up until this point, you may have noticed I said nothing about prayerfully reading. That is because the first two approaches, while perfectly legitimately, do not necessarily REQUIRE that we pray and ask the Lord to help reveal to us the treasures found within His Word.
Here’s what I mean. We know full and well that many people know what the Bible says, and yet, they don’t know Jesus. We know people who pray before they study, but they display no fruit of the Vine. Knowing biblical information and thoroughly understanding biblical passages is not the same as knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.
The third approach is where the union of reading/listening Scripture to know what it says, studying Scripture to understand what it says, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit of God come together.
I’m not sure I need to address why this is important for the Good and Faithful servant. But I do want to stress that this approach to Scripture is neither “hyperspiritual” nor is it “cessational.” Not too far to the left, and not too far to the right. Somewhere in the middle where Jesus is found.
To illustrate what it looks like for me, I will briefly write what a day in my life is like with the Scripture. I start my days early. As soon as I awake, I thank the Lord in my heart for the day and ask Him to draw me into His presence and allow me to hear His voice, see His hands, and obey His will. I get coffee going and I press play on my Bible app. I have a morning exercise routine I follow to help manage my chronic pain. During that routine I’m listening to Scripture. If at any time during that routine, the Lord impresses something upon me, I interrupt what I’m doing, pray for clarification, and begin to search the Scripture for a reference of what I believe He was saying to me. This is what I like to think of as the beginning of our treasure hunt (Proverbs 2:4).
For the rest of the day, until I uncover that treasure of wisdom that my Father has hinted at, I ponder the passages I read all day. Any spare chance I get, I pull out my Bible to read the passages again and again, asking God to show me what He wants me to see (Matt 7:7). Throughout the day, new passages may come up in my mind. I look those up. I start to see the connections as I meditate on them and reread them. I’m listening all day, observing my interactions with others and the experiences of the day, believing in faith that God is working all things for my good. And what could be better than the sweet discovery of the treasures of wisdom that He wants me to discover in His Word?
This treasure hunt can go on for days or even weeks. During this time, any free time I have I go back to those passages. I am convinced that until I find that treasure of His wisdom, nothing I desire can be greater (Prov 8:11). And so, I reread and reread. Listen and listen again. Study and study some more. All until I understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Prov 2:5)
With that, before I conclude this post. I want to make a quick note about specific Bible versions/translations. I personally cannot get behind any camp that insists that one version is utterly superior to others or that there is one single anointed version, and all others are heretical. If that’s you and you’re worried about me, pray for me, because I’m worried about you and I’m praying for you haha. My little mind cannot comprehend how Almighty God condescended from His throne and took on sinful flesh in order to reveal His good and perfect will to His people, and now a mishap in translation is going to serve as a primary obstacle to people getting to know Him. There are some versions out there that are questionable, and I address those briefly in the show. But I just want to encourage you to not allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking that God cannot overcome linguistic challenges.
Thank you again for reading today. For more on how to handle Scripture, check out the full episode! I provide greater details regarding each approach and more examples to help you understand HOW to get started reading Scripture daily. You can also check out the FB Group or follow us on Instagram.
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