What does it look like to grow in knowing, loving, and obeying the message of the Bible? Here are three tips I try and live by myself, and three tips I’d recommend to anyone wanting to engage the Bible well. (For those of you that can appreciate some alliteration, watch out for the R’s. 😀)
1. Think "relationship."
Here’s what I mean by this: The Bible is written by God to help us know Jesus and live in a way that honors Him. The Bible isn’t some artifact to study at arm’s length. It’s not just about collecting information for trivia night. It’s not just a rulebook designed to take away your fun. God gave us the Bible to reveal Himself, so that we might know Him and live the full life He designed for us! As you engage the Bible, remember that it’s written to form and strengthen a vibrant relationship with the living God.
2. Read responsibly.
If you just flip your Bible open at random and start reading wherever you land, or if you read a single random verse here and there, you’ll miss out on the grand story of the Bible in such big ways! The Bible will become a candy dish rather than a three course meal.
Did you know that the Bible is actually a unified Book composed of 66 smaller books, written by different inspired authors in lots of different styles - history, poetry, Gospels, and letters? All of it tells a true, single story of who God is and what God is doing in and for the world.
A couple of great ways to read the Bible responsibly are to read it in context - start with whole chapters of the Bible at a time - and to read it in community with others who want to follow Jesus. If you’re looking for a place to start reading the Bible, the first place I’d point you is Brookside's 365 plan you can access when you download Brookside’s app or find on our website.
3. You're not done until you respond.
Certainly we respond to God in prayer - talking to Him about what we’re reading. (For more on this, see my "Bible Intake and Prayer: Just roommates? Or a healthy marriage?")
And we respond in obedience. This is the Bible engagement tip that holds our feet to the fire with what passages like Matthew 7:24-27 and James 1:22-25 talk about - not just hearing, but applying. Living differently because of what we read. Letting the truth of this Book influence our thoughts and attitudes, our relationships, and our actions.
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Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.