Summary: A practical discussion of techniques for getting more out of your Bible study time.
Recently, Tyndale House Publishers conducted a survey asking Americans their opinions regarding the Bible. Among their findings were that the top three reasons people don’t read the Bible are:
1. Not enough time.
2. Too hard to understand.
3. Find it irrelevant.
The top three frustrations associated with Bible reading were:
1. Hard to understand.
2. Hard to relate to my life today.
3. Too long to get through.
So, what we see is that there are a lot of Christians who are discouraged for a lot of different reasons when it comes to reading the Bible. What I want to do this morning is very practical. I simply want to talk about how to read the Bible, how to discover what God has for you in the Bible, how to read the Bible for all it’s worth.
I have outlined these practical suggestions in your sermon outline for this morning.
Now, I figure we’ve got three groups in the congregation this morning: some of you have never read the Bible on your own before. You’ve never tried to have a time each day where you sit down with the Scripture and find out what God has for you. Let’s be honest: thinking about trying to read the Bible on your own for the first time can be overwhelming and scary and confusing, because you don’t know all the details of how to do it in an effective way and we all hate to try something and fail. I hope to help you in taking those initial steps into the Scripture by pointing you in the right direction, helping you to avoid some of the most common pitfalls, and giving you some clues toward learning to get what God has for you in His Word.
There is a second group of people in the congregation this morning that consist of those of you who are reading your Bible with some regularity right now or have been in the recent past, but you don’t really feel like you’re getting much out of it. For you this morning, I want to hopefully provide some insights into getting more out of the reading that you’re doing: moving you from the place where reading the Bible is an empty ritual or a boring chore and into the place where the Word begins to become more vibrant to you and begins to speak to your situation.
The third group here this morning are those of you who are reading the Word regularly and are getting what God has for you out of it. Now, you may still want to write down the outline toward helping others who may ask you for help in their Bible reading, but you’re
primary job this morning is to nod your head and maybe even say, “Amen,” occasionally as I’m talking about all that we can get out of the Scriptures so that those here this morning who are wondering if anyone actually can get anything out of the Scripture can see that we actually have some people in this church who are getting something out of the Word.
Although it would be nice to think that the majority of folks here this morning are in that third group, research by George Barna indicates that no more than about 20% of Christians read the Bible on a daily basis. So let me give those of you that don’t fall into that 20% some encouragement toward getting into the Word.
At the top of the sermon outline, I have listed a few “Prime the Pump” passages that contain God’s promises to us regarding what He will do through His Word and what impact God’s Word can have on us:
I’m not going to take the time to go over those right now, but they are there if you desire a little
motivation in believing that God really will speak to you through His Word in the way we’re talking about this morning.
I have divided what I want to share with you this morning into three areas:
- getting ready,
- getting into the Word,
- and keeping at it.
Let’s start with “getting ready.”
1. Get a good translation that you are comfortable with.
- good translations:
- New International Version
- New American Standard Bible
- New Revised Standard Version
- New Living Translation
- New King James Version
- King James Version
- Living Bible
- The Message
2. Consider investing in a study Bible.
- you can greatly benefit from the helpful notes.
- The NIV Study Bible
- NKJV Nelson Study Bible
- Thompson Chain-Reference Bible