How We Read The Bible
The Bible is a book for the common man. You do not need a college degree or specialized training to benefit from the Bible, however these practical steps will help you go deeper, faster in your understanding of the Bible.
How We Read the Bible
You don’t have to be a professional.
I’m wearing a sport coat today, which I don’t normally do. I’m wearing one today for the sake of illustration. When I first came to Faith Church I wore a suit and tie every Sunday. I even viewed wearing a sport coat and tie as a little too casual.
What’s crazy about is that just 5 years previously, you never saw me in a tie unless it was mandated by my school for a special occasion. I lived in a pair of vans, jeans, and a t-shirt. On Sundays to bit a little bit more dressed up I would wear a collared button up shirt.
What changed in the middle was that I went to Bible College and I came to be a professional church man. When I arrived here, I wanted the people in the congregation to believe I was a professional, that they had hired someone who knew what he was doing, even though I clearly didn’t…
When I came to be the Pastor I found out that someone who was supposed to be a mentor to me had spoken to the leaders of the church and said, “he’s just a kid.” Plus, with my baby face, I looked like 3 kids on one another’s shoulders in a trench coat…
I tried to be a professional.
I hadn’t been in Chandler very long when I was going to somewhere and I was wearing a suit and tie and someone in a store asked me, do you have court today? They didn’t think I was a lawyer, I looked to young for that. They thought I was a perp.
I also noticed that when a visitor would come to church and I’d greet them in the back of the church they would often say things like, I’m sorry I’m not dressed up or please excuse my clothes…
It occurred to me the cultural context of Chandler was different and I began to become more comfortable in my own skin. I was trying less to prove that I was a pastor and trying more to reach people far from Jesus, so it just made more sense to forego the suit and tie most of the time.
Now, I always wanted to give the impression that this matters to me and I’m prepared for our gathering, so for that reason I never wanted to appear sloppy or look like I just rolled out of bed and walked to the pulpit…
However, I wasn’t trying to prove myself to be a professional.
The Apostles weren’t professionals.
I’ve found myself to be in pretty good company because what we see in Acts 4 is that the Apostles weren’t professionals either.
Read Acts 4:5-13
The Apostles are surrounded by the professionals. The priests, the elders, and the scribes. They were the professionals. The educated. However, it was the unlearned and uneducated that proclaimed the gospel powerfully.
You don’t need a degree or a high school diploma to be able to know the truth of God and proclaim it!
God has chosen to make the high truths of heaven accessible to all mankind.
I think He even gets a kick out of it.
1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 1:27
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
James 4:6 God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
For some of you, the greatest detriment to your Bible reading is that you think you know it all. You were incredibly blessed to grow up in Sunday School, to maybe even go to a Christian School, or even Bible College and you think you know the Bible.
All you have is cursory knowledge of the stories, of the facts and figures, the people and places, and the Bible hasn’t had an impact on you.
You can know the Bible without knowing Jesus.
You know how I know this is possible?
Because the people surrounding Peter and John in the moment were the teachers of the law! They were the experts on the Scriptures.
The scribes were there! They copied and kept the scriptures.
No one knew the information better than these guys!
Peter and John weren’t professionals, but they knew Jesus.
The elders were professionals, but they didn’t know Jesus.
I also know this is true, because I attended Sunday school as a child, was blessed to go to a Christian School, and even got to attend Bible College and I can list names of people I knew in all 3 venues who know a lot of Bible, but they don’t know Jesus.
How do we read the Bible?
We read the Bible to know Jesus.
If we have that understanding from the beginning, we’ll start off on the right foot. We’ll get started in the right direction.
The Apostles were marked as men who were uneducated, but they were marked as men who had been with Jesus. If we read the Bible to come across as impressive or intelligent, we’ve missed it. We should read the Bible to be with Jesus.
Now, Peter and John had the incredible blessing to walk with Jesus in the flesh and hear his teaching audibly, in person. That must have been amazing. They have taken the words and acts of Jesus and written them down so that we can experience them as well.
The way that we spend time with Jesus is through His written word.
How do we understand what we read? How do we read the Bible?
We read the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Well, there’s an important element the disciples needed. They spent this time with Jesus and heard His teachings in person and they watched Him fulfill prophecy, but even with that advantage they didn’t get it. They didn’t understand what was going on. Even at the very end when Jesus is amending they were asking questions that showed how they didn’t get it.
However, then the Spirit arrived.
In Acts 4 we see some of the Spirit’s work among them.
They have reported back to the other followers of Jesus and then began to pray.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
The Spirit empowered them to understand and teach. Jesus even told them
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
You can not understand spiritual truths if you haven’t had a spiritual awakening.
When I was in High School I went along with a couple friends who were going skiing with another church. It wasn’t the church the 3 of us attended, but on these guys was dating a girl who went to this church so we went along.
Kevin Bass was the guy who was dating the girl and she had been skiing many times, so she said come with us Kevin I’ll show you how.
Webster and I went to the ski school for beginners.
They used language like make your skis look like a pizza. I was standing next to small children.
After the lesson was over, I fell several times but I had a great time.
When we got back to the van that evening for the drive home, Kevin was miserable. His girlfriend had hauled him up to the most difficult slopes and he still wasn’t sure of what he was doing. Kevin had spent the day stopping by falling down. He was sore.
He had neglected using a guide, someone who could show him the ropes.
God has sent the Spirit to be our guide in reading Scripture.
For some of you, your problem is that you can’t read the Bible because you have never made the decision to follow Jesus.
That’s where you have to start.
You can’t understand spiritual truth without spiritual help.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Once you’ve got the guidance of the Spirit, you can approach reading the Bible with helpful resources and tools.
Read the Bible with tools, not rules. – Matt Chandler
Set time and place to read the Bible.
Psalm 119:62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Choose a Bible you can read easily.
Psalm 119:16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Paraphrases: Message, The Living Bible
Thought Translations: NIV, NLT
Word for Word: KJV, ESV, NASB, AMP
Read the Bible with pen and paper.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
Read the Bible using a reading plan.
Psalm 119:96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
“Reading Genesis in January is the Christian version of joining a gym in January.” – Karl Vaters
Understand the setting of the Bible book.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Study Bibles, Bible Project Videos,
Discuss your reading with others.
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
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