In its most basic purpose the Bible is a book that is intended to be read, and in expression of our love for Jesus and desire to know Him we should find ourselves routinely, not sporadically, reading His Word. Of course, as we do read the Bible we want to make sure that we are reading it in such a way that it will do its profitable and meaningful work in our life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, here are five quick tips on how to meaningfully read a text of scripture.
1. Read it prayerfully.
Before you open your Bible, pray. While your Bible is open, pray. At the conclusion of your Bible reading, pray. Approach every passage of scripture with a prayerful spirit, asking God to open your eyes so that you can see what He wants you to see about Himself. Perhaps, the greatest neglect in Bible reading is the neglect of prayer. As you’re reading, remember that God is talking to you through the words on that page. So, talk to Him as He speaks to you.
2. Read it patiently.
Take your time, and go slow. When we hurry through a passage of scripture then details will be missed, but we don’t want to miss anything that God has placed before us. We need to know everything God wants us to know. So, patiently read the Bible. Focus intently on the passage in front of you, not so much completing the reading plan ahead of you.
3. Read it repeatedly.
Perhaps, it’s a matter of slow comprehension on my part, but I find myself reading a passage of scripture over and over again. This is especially true before preaching through a book of the Bible. I will in most cases read through a book ten to twelve times consecutively before ever preaching the first sermon from that book. Saturating yourself with a passage will simply help you get as much as you can from that text. Don’t be afraid to go back and re-read a section multiple times before moving on to the next paragraph or chapter.
4. Read it contemplatively.
This is certainly our call to meditate on God’s Word, to be found thinking throughout our day on the scriptures we’ve read. I have found this simple question helpful to me as I seek to meditate on my Bible reading: “In this passage of scripture what does God want me to know, and what does God want me to do?” Blessed is the man who mediates day and night on God’s word (Psalm 1).
5. Read it studiously.
All of our Bible reading should lead us to fervent study of the scriptures. So, approach the scriptures studiously. Write your thoughts down, research words, and compare parallel passages. Become a student of the Bible!
I hope these five tips will help you go beyond checking off the daily passage in your reading plan to a special routine of meaningful Bible reading.