Something I hear regularly from my family, my students, and other people is that the Bible is boring… they just don’t get anything from reading the Bible…the Bible is confusing…etc… I get it. The Bible can be all of those things, and it can be hard to continue reading the Bible when it just seems like a jumble of words. So today, I have a few tips to make the Bible come alive:
Choose a Bible translation that is easy for you to understand and written for your age group.If you are a teen, a teen Bible will suit you well. If you are an adult that finds it hard to understand the Bible, I would suggest a study Bible like the HCSB or a paraphrasing Bible like the Message. If you have a good solid understanding of the Bible and are looking for challenge in your study, read the ESV or NRSV alongside the Complete Jewish Bible to further your understanding of the metanarrative of Scripture. Each of these translations (except the commentary included in the HCSB) can be found on the YouVersion Bible App or online through any number of Bible websites. Your Bible study must start with a Bible that works for you.
Pray beforehand!! “God is the giver of all knowledge and wisdom.” Y’all. You cannot read God’s Word without asking Him to give you understanding, knowledge and wisdom.
- In Judaism, their Scriptures are printed on scrolls, which are always sealed. The one who opens the seal has to ask God to make them worthy to open and read the scrolls. In Revelation, this custom is very evident as John watches the angel ask who is worthy to open the seven seals—and only Jesus is worthy.
- Every time you take up the Word of God, ask yourself, “Am I worthy to read the very words God breathed upon these pages? Is my heart prepared with authentic desire to learn, grow, and change by the Word of God?” Then, you ask God to make you worthy, to open and prepare your heart to receive His Word, and to fill it with His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. This is the single most important thing you can do to get the most out of Scripture.
Think about what you’ve read. Words are empty if they have no bearing in your life, no long-lasting effect in your heart. You have to use that big ol’ brain God gave you to apply and act on the Words of God. Some good questions to ask yourself are:
- What does it mean in the narrative timeline of Scripture?
- Does it relate to anything going on in your life?
- How can you learn from it?
- How can you apply it throughout your day?
- How can you pray about it?
- This is also where a well-written, well-researched, theologically sound Bible study like Impartial comes in handy. Many other fantastic authors to start with are Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, N.T. Wright, Max Lucado, and others who can be found through places like Lifeway. For those interested in a more scholarly understanding, find a commentary that is on your level: the New Bible Commentary is a great place to start.
Commit Scripture to memory. There are no others who memorize like the Jews. They know how to memorize; therefore, it makes sense that we identify their methods because they work. Orthodox Jews memorize the entire Torah by age 12. We have much to learn from them. They have three main practices when memorizing Scripture:
- Be active during memorization: memorization is a total body experience. If you are walking or running, repeating the words in time with your body’s motions gives it a rhythm like music and makes it easier to remember. Any activity works like this.
- Speak it out loud! You might get crazy looks, but there is power in speaking God’s Word out loud. Not to mention, when you need it, it will probably be needed in spoken form: in speaking with a friend in need, in providing evidence of your stand on issues, in comforting others, in guiding others to Jesus and reminding them of God’s love for them. If you practice saying God’s Word out loud, it will roll off your tongue easily in that moment you need it; If you only think it during your memorization practices, it is not so smooth a transition to speaking.
- Only work on memorizing a passage for a week at a time. You work on that passage every day for a week, then you’re done with it. At that point you’ve put in the work. After that, it’s God’s job to bring it back in your moment of need. The most amazing thing about God, is that we are partners with Him. He is able, yet does not desire to do it all on His own; we might have the desire, but are not able. He asks us to put in the work, and later He will do His part in pulling it out of your heart and into your mind when you need it most.
I would love to hear any questions you may have regarding your Bible study. Please ask away in the comments, or message me if necessary. Also, please give testimony in the comments to how God has changed your Bible study through the implementation of these practices.
I am rooting for you. I know God is rooting for you. There is an adventure to be found through your study of God and His Word. How I pray that you find it! Amen.