My Introduction To The Bible
The night I gave my heart to Christ, the woman who had led me in prayer gave me a New Testament. She wrote the date on the inside cover, saying, “This is your rebirthday! You’ll want to remember it.” Then she handed the book to me and said, “The Bible is God’s Word. You need to read it.”
So I did.
And at first…it was hard.
I loved to read, but this was the King James Version. It sounded like I was back in high school English, reading Shakespeare again. All the thee’s and thy’s weren’t jiving with me. I understood very little of what I read back then.
But I persevered. After a few months I went to a Christian bookstore and asked if there was a more “modern” Bible. Back in those days there weren’t too many choices, and the owner sold me the Revised Standard Version. I read that for many years, until the New International Version came out. Since then I’ve read several different translations, with increasing understanding and enjoyment.
The First Step
So the first step to getting into God’s Word is to find a translation of the Bible that’s right for you. We’ve come a long way since my experience in the early ’70s. Now there is a wide variety of Bibles available, at various reading levels. Find one that’s easy for you to read. Another tip is to pick one with a large font (maybe it’s my age, but small print is harder to read for any length of time). If you have difficulty reading (or just don’t enjoy it), you can even get audio versions downloaded right to your phone! If there isn’t a Christian bookstore in your area, I recommend http://www.chistianbook.com. They’re sure to have a Bible that’s right for you.
Why is it important to read the Bible? Perhaps the evangelist D. L. Moody said it best: “The Bible was not given for our information, but our transformation.” Romans 12:2 tells us, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Bible has the power to renew your mind and bring transformation! I am a living testimony to that.
Another famous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, noted, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” No matter how often you’ve read the Bible, there’s always new treasures to discover. Your understanding increases the more you read it. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Romans 15:4 explains, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Who couldn’t use some encouragement and hope these days!
Isaiah 40:8 tells us, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” The Bible is the best thing to build your life upon. According to Theodore Roosevelt, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” If you want to pursue wisdom, you’ve got to get into God’s Word!
The Second Step
A surprising number of Christians know that the Bible is the Word of God, and yet they’ve never developed the habit of reading it on a regular basis. Some Christians read the Bible haphazardly, without a system or plan. It reminds me of a joke about a man who decided to read the Bible and do whatever it says, believing that God would speak to him through the Word. He flipped open his Bible at random and pointed to a verse. It was Matthew 27:5, “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” The man thought to himself, “Well, God certainly wouldn’t tell me to do that!” So he opened to another random page and pointed. This time his finger landed on the second half of Luke 10:37, “Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Randomly reading verses is not recommended! You need the whole truth. But where do you begin?
Fortunately we live in the Information Age, where everything is at the tip of our fingers courtesy of the internet and Google. You can search “Bible reading plan” and come up with a huge selection to choose from. You can find one to read through the entire Bible in a year, or a plan that arranges your reading in chronological order. You can find a reading plan for just the New Testament, or for certain books in the Bible such as Psalms or Proverbs. You can find topical Bible reading plans, too. Believe me, there’s a reading plan for everybody– and that’s the second step to getting into God’s Word.
My wife loves using the yearly Prayer Diary from http://www.ywampublishing.com, which combines a journal format with an extensive Bible reading plan. Walk Thru the Bible Ministries has plans that will take you through the entire Bible or just the New Testament in a year, as well as a chronological reading plan, and a “30 Days With Jesus” reading plan which explores His life and ministry (this would be a great starting point for a new believer) https://www.walkthru.org/resources/free-resources/bible-reading-plans/.
There’s even a Five Day Bible Reading Plan, which will take you through the whole Bible by reading five days a week, leaving two days each week to catch up on anything you might have missed. There’s also an option for just the New Testament if you want to start off slower. Highly recommended! https://www.fivedaybiblereading.com/five-day-bible-reading-schedule/
The Third Step
Once you have a Bible of your own and you’ve selected a Bible reading plan, the third step is to invite the Holy Spirit into your time with God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will guide us to understand the things we need to, when we need to. Ask God to give you the enlightenment you need. It’s a prayer He delights in answering.
A favorite verse of mine is Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Start getting into God’s Word today. He has wonderful things to show you!
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