But, how do I read the Bible?
Have you learnt how to read the bible for yourself and understand what the author, or God, is trying to say?
I’m not even talking about understanding theology or smart sounding Christianese… I’m talking basic English skills that will help you understand the text better.
I grew up in (and still go to!) a great bible-based church who love people reading the bible for themselves - but I have never been taught how to read it for myself. Learning some basic frameworks of learning made is so much easier to understand what the Bible was actually saying when I read it by myself.
Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Read the passage and ask;
What does this say about God?
What does this say about mankind?
Knowing these things, how does it change my life?
If you've never read the bible before, some helpful facts to get you started.
The Bible is actually 66 books, written by different people, over thousands of years. It all tells one, unified story.
The Bible is split into two sections: Old and New Testament. Old Testament is before Jesus was born. New Testament is the story of his life, and christianity as we know it today being spread.
There are four books called the gospels. They are the same story, written by different people - Jesus life, teachings, death and resurrection. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are great places to start reading - even though they're near the end of the bible!
To get the most out of your bible reading, try immerse yourself into one book of the bible at a time. Read smaller chunks at a time and see how much you can draw out of those few verses.
2. COMA method
There's a great book called 'One to One Bible Reading' by David Helm that I find really helpful when I'm reading the bible with someone else, but also for my own study time.
Context: What's happened so far in what you’re reading, what’s going on at the time of the writing, what’s the main points communicated so far, etc.
Observation: Can I learn anything about the characters, is there a problem being spoken about, is there a main point, anything significant happen?
Meaning: Has the writer (or author) made any comments about what’s going on, is there anything to learn, what does it say about God or Jesus, how would you sum up the passage?
Application: What can you learn from this passage about God, Jesus or yourself, do you need to change anything, what have you learnt about what it means to follow Jesus?
There’s a helpful link here that you might like. It is this framework, and slightly changes the questions based on what type of book you are reading (https://www.csmedia1.com/gfcdonmills.ca/onetoone-coma.pdf)
3. Risen Motherhood’s Abide Method
I personally like using the one page summary and write onto a blank piece of paper, but have a look at all they shared.
What I like about this one, and COMA, is that it gives a helpful framework to reading the bible. After a few months of following this method, you will know the questions and structure, so when you are just sitting and reading, that way of thinking is rote and you’re able to understand the text a lot easier.
Here's the link to the free resource: https://www.risenmotherhood.com/abide
4. Go Local
Is there a bible study leader or pastor who could teach you?
Perhaps theres others in your church who want to learn too?
Could you seek out an older woman in your congregation and ask her to teach you what she does?
What about your husband? Could you read and learn together when the kids go to sleep?
ABOVE ALL ELSE
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Ask God to be working in you, drawing you to himself through the Holy Spirit.
Ask for wisdom and understanding.
Ask for the time you sacrifice to be fruitful in you knowing more about God.
Ask for your brain to be clear and distraction free.
Ask for the desire to sacrifice time.
Ask for God to reveal more of himself to you.
Ask God to work in you.
Ask God to reveal truth through his Word.
God is a good God who loves us being in a relationship with him.
He will help you.