The Importance of Reading and Studying Scripture
I was very blessed as I was growing up. I went to a church whose pastor preached in an expository manner through the Bible. I didn't even know what "expository preaching" meant then; but I've since learned that it means that a pastor preaches through sections of the Bible, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, instead of just preaching on various topics. I did know that we were always encouraged to read and memorize parts of the Bible. I also went to a Christian school- part of the church- where we were taught Bible every day and had chapel once a week. I was very familiar with the Bible. In high school especially, we were expected to read and memorize large portions of the Bible. By the time I was in high school, I was regularly doing the read through the Bible in a year. I kept it up through becoming a young mom. There were a few years when kids were little that I took longer than a year to read through. But reading through the Bible has just always been what I did.
As I became an adult, I realized that reading through the Bible wasn't common place for everyone. There are many, many Christians who haven't read through the Bible even once. And, I realize there are many churches and many pastors who have different styles of preaching. I don't think I rank any higher on the "spiritual meter" for having read through my Bible many times. (In fact there's no such thing!) But, I do believe that reading Scripture is very important for us as Christians. God tells us many times through the Bible how important it is to know His Word. And Jesus, by example, shows how important it is to know Scripture. Digging into Scripture is very important for us. I feel really blessed to have grown up in a church and family where it was the norm.
Scripture tells us it's important to read God's Word.
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119: 16
Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119: 11
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.Hebrews 4: 12
Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action). 2 Timothy 3: 16
Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Matthew 24: 35
But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. James 1: 22
It's pretty obvious that God wants us to know His Word. And we can't do that without reading it.
Ways to dig into God's Word
So, how do you dig into Scripture? Read it. That sounds simplistic, but it's true. Make a plan and stick with it. Find a reading plan that works for you. In depth Bible study is good also, but make sure that your Bible study really focuses on reading Scripture. Some daily devotionals are good, but many just have one little verse of Scripture and then an inspirational writing. There isn't anything wrong with that, but it isn't really getting into Scripture. Choose a plan that actually has you reading Scripture. Bible Gateway.com has many reading plan choices. You can read a lot or a little each day. They'll also send you an email with your daily reading if you choose.
Currently I'm reading through The Voice Bible. It is a Bible paraphrase (close to the New Living Translation), and the plan is a three year plan. It goes much slower than most of the plans I've used, but it is good to be able to read through slowly and consider what I'm reading.
I have also enjoyed reading through the Bible in 90 days. I've done this five times over the past few years. I began when a fellow blogger started a Blogging Through the Bible in 90 Days group. I loved the reading plan, and I just kept on doing it. Kathryne- my 14 year old- has done it twice with me. It is a very intensive reading program. Obviously to make it through the Bible in 90 days, there is quite a bit of reading each day. The nice thing, though, is that you are getting a complete picture of the Bible. You are reading it like a novel, like a history book (which it is).
This post was originally linked to Blogging Through the Alphabet with Marcy at Ben and Me.