Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks
In addition to learning how to read…
- Better & Faster
- As for the first time
- As if reading a love letter
Use these strategies to gain a better understanding & advantage to what you are reading:
1. Read Thoughtfully
Put your thinking cap on. The God of the universe who created you wants to have a relationship with you & here He is communicating DIRECTLY, one on one, with you. This is not the gossip or sports pages. What God says really matters.
2. Read Repeatedly
The great thing about the Bible is that it is never old! It has staying power. You can read it time & again & find new insights into what God is speaking to you. When you read a book of the Bible, start at the beginning in order to get the full flavour and context. Use different translations or paraphrases and versions. Read the Bible out loud – this can make an amazing difference.
3. Read Patiently
You can’t read Leviticus for the first time & expect to come away with all of God’s truths! Remember that the fruit to be taken from Scripture needs time to mature & ripen. Don’t give up! This is not a race! Building relationships (yours to God) is going to take a lifetime.
4. Read Selectively
Understand the Who, What, Where, When, Why & Wherefore (or in other words, the “so what”) of the text. As you ask the questions while you read the text, it will begin to come alive for you.
5. Read Prayerfully
Prayer & reading the Bible should go hand in hand. Start off with prayer before even opening up God’s Word. “Lord, what would you have me learn about you today.” “Teach me Lord.” “Lord, show me what to do about…as I read your Word.”
6. Read Imaginatively
Bible reading should not be boring. If you say or think it’s going to be boring, it will be. Just get that out of your mind. As you look at God’s Word, let your mind put together the words into brilliant pictures. Put yourself in the middle of the action. Again, use different translations or paraphrases to get different views using sometimes different words that help you to understand the passage. If you know another language, get a Bible in that language – nuances between words meanings vary and add subtleties that we may miss in English.
7. Read Meditatively
Reflect on what you’ve just read. God Himself is speaking to you. Have you listened or just heard? Repeat back to God in prayer what you believe He is trying to teach you. What you think, you are (paraphrase of Prov. 23:7). Be careful of what you think!
8. Read Purposefully
ALL scripture is profitable! 2 Tim. 3:16 – 17. TRaCT. Teaching. Rebuking. Correcting. Training. Notice that each builds on the next. The Bible was “constructed” purposefully. There is tremendous structure to the Bible – grammatical as well as literary. It’s not a “willy nilly” collection of stories and nice sayings. If you’re looking for meaning, what better place to look than God’s Word?
9. Read Acquisitively
Are we reading just to read? More than just reading purposefully, we need to read God’s Word as to acquire or possess everything that God wants us to have! Claim His Word. Make it YOURS. Try “re-writing” the text in your own words to help make it more “real” for you – but without changing the meaning! Use a Bible dictionary or Atlas. Learn about the culture and geography.
10. Read Telescopically
In other words, read the parts of the Bible as a part of the WHOLE Bible. Every verse is integrally related to the entire message that God is presenting to us. Breaking the Bible down into smaller fragments is OK but remember that there is a greater context – put it back together to form the Whole Word.