Ever struggle with how to read the Bible? Well… I assume you know how to read or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. What I mean is where to start and how to try to get something meaningful out of it.
A great place to start is the book of Mark. It is about 3/4 of the way back and can be found sandwiched between two books called Matthew and Luke. Why Mark? Mark was the first Gospel to be written (roughly 66-70AD). Some have called it the ‘shortest and most action-packed Gospel’ written ‘in the form of a story’ making it easy to read. Another reason is because New Life is currently working our way through Gospel in 90 where we are reading one chapter of a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) each day through the summer and on July 1st we start Mark.
So reading one chapter a day is pretty easy. It should take you between five and ten minutes. But this isn’t just a fictional book. We want to learn something to draw closer to Jesus. We want to hear His voice in these words so we can follow Him better. Many people think they have to become a Greek scholar and really “dig in” to the grammar and historical context and cross reference everything all over the place in order to learn more. Those aren’t bad things but can be a barrier for many people and sometimes allow us to hide behind intellectual knowledge when what God really wants is a heart change. So what’s one to do?
One approach we like is to use the ACTS acronym. As you are reading each day, ask yourself: Is there a(n)
- Attitude to change?
- Command to obey?
- Truth to believe?
- Sin to confess?
Maybe as you are reading you realize your attitude isn’t Godly or that there’s something you need to start doing or stop doing in your life. Maybe you just need to accept the truth the biblical author states as true and/or confess something to God that you need to change about your life. These four questions can go a long way to helping you get more out of reading the Bible.
There are lots of other approaches you can take as well and that’s fine. The important thing is to find one that works for you. This is just one approach we have found useful. It’s simple. It’s easy to learn. It’s easy to share with someone else if you decide to read with a friend… which we highly recommend by the way. Maybe you just let each other in the morning and share one thing that you heard God say. It could be as simple as:
As I was reading Mark 1 this morning I was struck by how the disciples “immediately” obeyed Jesus when He asked them to follow Him (verse 18). I’m never like that. Sometimes He has to hit me over the head 15 times before I finally do what I knew I needed to do all along. This is something I need to work on.
So what do you think? Do these ideas help? We’d love to know. Hit us up on facebook and let us know how it’s going.