We call the Bible “God’s Word,” and that is what it is. And yet, too often we treat it as a history book, a book of wise sayings, or a self-help book. What if I told you that your life depends on reading it? How would that change the way you read it? Would you read it more frequently and with more intentionality? When you read it, read the Bible for life!
Your life really does depend on reading the Bible. When you open God’s Word to listen to God, He changes you from the inside out. Did you notice the key words, “listen to God?” Study without listening and obeying (living in relationship with God) leads to greater guilt at understanding without obedience (see the parable in Matthew 21:28-32).
Read the Bible for Life
A common reason given for not reading the Bible is not understanding it. And yet, I have seen people get out the dictionary to look up words in a love letter or a letter from grandma. I have seen others spend hours memorizing technical drawings and explanations for a work project. Relationship, with the one sending the message, matters. It impacts how we read it, how intentional we are when we read it, and what we do with what we read.
In many ways, that is the premise of a 2010 book (video and group study), Read the Bible for Life, by George H. Guthrie (yes, it is still available). It was “written to help you learn how to read the Bible more effectively, in a way that produces real fruit in your life” (page 5). The study book will lead you to practice a three-part life-giving formula:
This formula will become natural as you study both “about” the Bible and study Bible passages. To understand better the scope of Read the Bible for Life, the nine-week-study workbook includes these chapters:
- Reading the Bible for Life
- Reading the Bible in Context
- Reading the Stories of the Old Testament
- Reading the Law and the Prophets
- Reading the Psalms
- Reading the Stories of the New Testament
- Reading the Teachings of Jesus
- Reading the New Testament Letters and Revelation
- Reading the Bible for Today.
I recommend the study as a group. Each week, the workbook includes five easy daily readings (2-4 pages each) with questions. The personal workbook also includes a weekly listening guide for watching the DVD along with group experience questions (for the leader).
Bible Reading Matters
LifeWay did research that showed that the number one predictor of spiritual progress was daily time in God’s Word. As a result, I want to recommend this study to help you get more out of that time. Grow as a disciple. Make disciples!