Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you wear glasses. One day, out of curiosity, you try on a different pair. What happens? The glasses distort your vision. Instead of helping you see better, the glasses make your vision worse. If you wear these ill-fitting glasses long enough, you may get a headache. But when you place your glasses back on, you see the world clearly.
The Bible serves as our glasses. It is the exact prescription we need to give us a worldview and perspective that line up with God’s perspective of reality. When we “try on” different perspectives, no matter how good they may look on the outside, our vision blurs and we no longer see clearly. Confusion sets in. Seeing clearly is a top priority for all of us.
In John 5:39–40, Jesus was talking to the religious leaders of the day. He told them that they searched the Scriptures (the Bible) to find life and that the Scriptures pointed to Him, but they did not respond and come to Him for that life. Wow! Basically, the religious leaders of the day had a ton of head knowledge but lacked a relationship with God. They missed the fact that God Himself was talking with them.
Our reading of the Bible is not just for religion’s sake. The Bible actually points us to Jesus Himself and helps us to know when God is speaking to us. The Bible also equips us for every good work that God has in mind for us to accomplish. In fact, God speaks to His children primarily through the Bible. What an amazing gift!
Why is it important to read and study the Bible?
Reading the Bible daily is a vital component to your spiritual health and growth as a Christian. Therefore, it is a high value for us at Family Life. Our goal is to see all of our church family reading the Bible every day.
We are going to be very practical in this lesson. Below are some really interesting facts about the Bible. After that are some great practical tips on beginning your connection with God through Scripture.
Interesting Facts About the Bible
- The Bible is made up of 66 books written by more than 40 authors who were inspired by God to write it. Despite the many authors, the Bible is the most reliable book in all of antiquity.
- The Bible is the number one best seller of all books and the most read book in the world.
- The Bible is made up of different types of writing, such as history, poetry, prophecy, letters, law, wisdom, etc.
- The Bible was written over a time period of more than 1,500 years.
- Some Bibles have the words of Jesus written in red to distinguish them from others’ words.
- The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119, with 176 verses. The shortest chapter is Psalm 117, with only two verses. Incidentally, the middle chapter of the Bible is also Psalm 117.
- The longest book of the Bible is Psalms, with 150 chapters, or psalms. It contains 43,743 words. The shortest book is 3 John, with only one chapter and 299 words.
- The longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9, with 90 words. The shortest verse is John 11:35, with only 2 words: “Jesus wept.”
- There are more than 168,000 Bibles either sold or given away each day in the United States according to the Gideons, Wycliffe International, and the International Bible Society.
- The Bible has been translated into more than 1,200 languages.
- There are more than 3,200 verses of fulfilled prophecy either within the Bible itself or since the Bible was written. This would be mathematically impossible if the Bible were not true.
Six Effective Principles to Enhance Bible Study
- Make an appointment with God. Give Him your first. If possible, make your appointment in the mornings. If that doesn’t work for you, find a time that does. And remember, God is with you all day, not just during your study time. What time will work best for you?
- Make preparation for your Bible study. Select a place that you enjoy being—a room in your house where you can be alone, somewhere that you are comfortable and like to be. Where is a good place for you to have your study time?
- Have all your materials available. You will need an easy-to-understand version of the Bible. We recommend The One Year Bible through YouVersion. It’s an easy app to download on your Apple or Android device, and you can also read it from your computer.
- Keep a journal of what you read and what God speaks to you each day. Use your computer to research topics that you are struggling with or interested in learning more about. YouVersion and Blue Letter Bible are great Bible apps to help with reading and studying. Go ahead and download one or both of those apps. Try it out. What do you think?
- Prepare your heart. Ask God to speak to you and to change your heart so that you might believe His Word and correct any lies that you have believed.
- Learn to hear the voice of God. Although studying the Bible is really important, remember that you are in a relationship with a living God, not a book called the Bible. The Bible points us to the person of Jesus and helps us discern when God speaks to us. Learn to listen to the voice of God as you read the Bible. We will talk more about this in the next lesson, “Devotion to Prayer.”
Bible Study Tips
- Plan to read through the Bible in a year. This reading will not allow time for study, but it will give you a good overview of the Bible. The more you read through the Bible, the more you will start connecting dots and seeing things that you didn’t see before.
- When you do take time to study the Bible in more depth, read it slowly and carefully rather than quickly and carelessly. In our fast-paced culture, we often want to get to a point of understanding as quickly as possible, but once you select a passage for study, read through it slowly.
- Ask basic questions about the passage being studied. The typical journalistic questions may be helpful: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Try to determine the main subject of the passage being studied: Who wrote it? Who originally received it, and in what context? Is there a key verse that could sum up the passage being studied? What are the insights that pertain to God, Christ, human nature, or behavior in general? Is some aspect of the passage relevant to your own life on a practical level?
- Studying the Bible alone is helpful for personal devotional times, but make sure your Bible study also involves others. Attend a small group (men or women’s group or Wednesday night group). Many times other people have the same questions about the Bible that you have. As a result, studying and discussing the Bible with other believers helps everyone grow in their faith.
- Try not to jump around too much in your study times. Instead of reading brief, isolated verses from different books of the Bible, concentrate on longer passages and books. You may wish to select a broad theme or topic to study, such as God’s plan of redemption. In general, however, studying the Bible book by book is better than jumping around from section to section.
Application of the Bible
Application is why we study the Bible. We want our lives to change; we want to be obedient to God and become more like Jesus Christ. After we have observed a passage and interpreted or understood it to the best of our ability, we must then apply its truth to our lives.
As you study a passage of Scripture, ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the truth revealed here affect my relationship with God?
- How does this truth affect my relationship with others?
- How does this truth affect me?
- How does this truth affect my response to the enemy, Satan?
Work to implement the answers to these questions into your daily life. Remember, Scripture helps us to see life from God’s perspective and equips us for every good work that He has for us. The Bible is a great source of information, but information alone does not bring about life-changing effects.
Happy reading, and may God bless you with His presence and revelation as you read His written Word.
- The Bible (a miniseries produced by the History Channel)
- The Chosen (viewable on The Chosen app) Android / Apple
- Most worship songs are written from a revelation that comes from God as we read Scripture. Listen to your favorite worship song and research it. In what Bible verses is that song based?