I wrote about prayer last week. I’m writing about my Bible study habits because both activities have to go together if you want to get to know God.
I began reading my Bible daily when I was fifteen. I had read somewhere if you read three chapters a day you could get through the Bible in a year. I kept to that schedule for a long time, so I learned the stories and passages really well. But I missed a lot of the meaning.
When I read Mere Christianity, it opened my mind to completely new aspects of my faith. I have read a lot of complimentary books to the Bible since then, and most have been helpful, but nothing beats actually reading and studying the Bible.
I think when we Christians don’t read the Bible regularly and work at understanding it, we imagine it means things that just aren’t there. If we stick to studying the Word, familiar passages will gain new meaning, and ones we don’t understand or don’t like may become clear to us. Or God may say we aren’t ready for Him to explain a problem passage. But if we stop reading, it definitely won’t get any easier to understand.
I now read a chapter of the Bible a day, usually before I start praying. I like reading first because it calms my mind so I can focus on the prayer. I used to read the Bible in order, but now I read the sections I feel moved to. When I was really depressed one spring, I read Lamentations. This summer I read the really short letters before Revelations because I felt I didn’t know them very well.
One thing I need to work on is learning Bible verses. I can relate stories and explain sections, but I don’t know actual verses well at all. Two I like are:
I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. Hebrews 13:6 NIV