In this culture of flash advertising, instant messaging and headline news, the Art of Reading has begun to disappear.
The average pew sitting church member only reads the bible about once every two months and then only in a cursory fashion. Reading through a few verses or even a chapter during a rough night only to forget what was read by the next morning.
When it comes to reading the scriptures there are basically three way you can read.
- Casually reading for a few minutes now and then. This is relaxed reading of the Word, just for the sake of reading the Word. Reading the Bible for fun and to fill time without digging deep is still reading the Bible. Jesus told His disciples about the Holy Spirit “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, whatever I have said to you.” You and I were not there but His words were recorder for us and it is through those words that the Holy Spirit will bring to life remembrances. So ANY regular reading of the bible give Him something to draw from.
- Contemplative reading. Contemplatively of meditative reading takes longer but can be greatly revealing and infinitely rewarding. Whenever you read the Bible it is a good idea to pray of understanding and illumination before you begin but with this type of reading you need to take time when you are done reading, whether a verse, line or book, and reflect upon what you have read and what it might mean in your life. Look at the eternal lessons, the today in my life lessons, what does this scripture reveal about God and His character and what does it reveal about me and my character?
- In depth study. This is when you read not only the verses or chapter but ask the big questions and do word studies. Get out your dictionary and your concordance and start looking at the meanings of the words in the Greek and Hebrew. Look up the historical significance of the region where the event took place. Find out what you can about the people being addressed, were they farmers, shepherds, Pharisees or Samaritans? What did the original hearers actualy understand the teaching to mean.
Reading the Bible in a well rounded fashion includes all three of these methods. The focus may change over time as to which one you give the greatest effort and importance to, but to some extent all three must be present in your life to get the most from God’s love letter to his bride.
May the Lord bless you and your household.