CQ Synapse September 2013

“The life of each of us is a story. And the Bible is about your story and mine.”

God's Passionate Story

By Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti

The Bible is one of the best-selling books of all time, if not the best. Bibles are given to babies at their birth, to students when they graduate, to couples when they marry, and to newly baptized church members. Furthermore, many Christians want several different versions and paraphrases of the Bible.

How many Bibles do you have? Do you read and study from any of them? Have you tried reading the Bible from cover to cover only to get lost somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers?

The Bible isn’t a rule book that we’re supposed to measure up to. Neither is it just a book of lovely promises. Instead, it’s a book about life, and life is full of drama, emotion, and mystery.

The life of each of us is a story. And the Bible is about your story and mine. Plus, we are all a part of God’s passionate story about His love for us.

So how should we read the Bible to gain the most from our personal stories and from God’s story?

1. Read the Bible in a version you’re comfortable with.

2. To help you understand what you’re reading, purchase a reputable Bible handbook that has an outline and a brief introduction to each book of the Bible. Some Bibles already come with this type of information. A good Bible handbook or study Bible also should have expository notes that explain the important and well-loved passages of the Bible.

3. Book clubs are quite popular now, so join a group of people who also are interested in studying the Bible together.

4. Get organized. Find a routine. You might enjoy one of the many Bible reading plans that are available online.*

5. Read broadly to get an overview. But also read deeply: (a) What does the passage say? (b) What does it mean? (c) How can you apply it to your life in general or to a particular situation you are currently facing?

The Bible itself has this to say about spending quality time with it: (a) Job wrote in Job 23:12: “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; / I have treasured the words of His mouth / More than my necessary food” (NKJV). (b) In Psalm 119:50, David says to God, “Your word has given me life” (NKJV). (c) Jesus said in John 5:39, “ ‘Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me’ ”(NKJV). (d) In Revelation 1:3, we read, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near’ ” (NKJV).

Hopefully you will emerge from your Bible studies thinking that it’s truly the best book you’ve ever read!
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* http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=NIV (accessed August 26, 2013).