When asked, “What is more important: Prayer or Reading the Bible?” I ask, “What is more important: Breathing in or Breathing out?” – Charles Spurgeon
In 2 Chronicles 34, King Josiah takes the throne in a time that most of Israel had fallen away from God. The temple had been destroyed. Neglect of the Scriptures (housed in the Temple) had led to a loss of access to the Scriptures when they became lost and buried in the wreckage. King Josiah, at age 16 began to seek the Lord, and at age 26, he commissioned a crew to restore the temple. That team discovered the long abandoned Scriptures. Finding them led to repentance and obedience throughout the nation.
Neglect of Scripture led to loss of access to Scripture.
King Josiah had been seeking the Lord and was doing his best to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but once he discovered the Word of God, he learned that he had still been missing the mark, and it broke his heart. BUT! God poured out mercy for Josiah as He does for us, and assured him that repentance and obedience would keep Israel from judgment.
We're in the same boat as Josiah was. If we truly want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, we need to know what is right in His eyes. If we want to know whether God is trying to tell us something, we need to know His character and how He operates. We can only do that by digging into Scripture for ourselves.
Reading Scripture can seem daunting, so Here are a handful of resources to help make it a daily part of your life.
The first struggle many people have is deciding which translation of the Bible is good for them. The most helpful tip I can give you is to find one that you can comfortably read without doing mental gymnastics as you go. A helpful test is to choose any verse and read it in a few different translations to see which you prefer. Click here for a helpful breakdown of different Bible Translations to find the one that's best for you.
There are more tools than you could count out there to help understand Scripture better. I've listed just a few in the graphic below. They help with:
Learning the meaning and significance of words
Learning historical and context within the text
Discovering what to do with it in your own life
Not mentioned on the list above, is other believers. It is so helpful to look at Scripture along with others - each of you will notice things others miss. It's also a wonderful bonus when someone has real-life experience that can help add context to the truths found in Scripture.
Here are some steps to keep in mind as you read Scripture.
Pray before you even begin; ask God to give you understanding.
Read the passage you've selected.
Observe every fact you can from what the text tells you.
Interpret what the Lord would have you do with the text today. For example, how should it form your thinking, your decision making, your words and actions?
I hope these tips and tools leave you feeling equipped to dive into Scripture for yourself! Below are some slides I shared in a live training. They include instructions to "choose one" because of time constraints, but please use them as you see fit to practice Bible study!
*Tip - When looking at a Gospel passage, often other Gospels tell of the same event from a different perspective and can fill in gaps or answer questions.