The purpose of this article is to provide tips that can enhance your scripture reading in 2022. Oh, what a treasure chest of spiritual riches God has placed within our reach! Now more than ever, may the Word be sweeter than honey and more precious than gold.
Here are seven tips to help you read the Bible this year.
TIP #1: Read the Bible like any other bookMy first suggestion is to embrace what I call “A Better Way to Read the Bible.” Simply put, a better way to read the Bible is to read it like any other book, which means we read everything. Think about the last time you read a book that you really enjoyed and benefited greatly from. Did you read it all or just a part? Did you read only a few sections or did you start from the beginning and work your way to the end? I state the obvious, but to truly understand a book, isn’t it better to read it through?
TIP #2: Read the Bible like no other bookMy second suggestion is to pray… before, during and after reading the Bible. This is one of my favorite prayers to read the Bible: “Open my eyes that I may see the wonders of your law” (Psalm 119:18). The word “law” can mean “instruction” or “teaching.” The Word of God, like no other book, contains God’s instruction and teaching. While the Bible should be read like any other book, it should also be read like no other book, because there is no other book like the Bible. It is the only book written by God, and we need his supernatural help to understand it.
TIP #3: Get the big pictureWhen reading the Bible, always keep in mind what Jen Wilkin states so succinctly: “The Bible is a book about God.” I take this to mean that the Bible is first of all gold mostly about God It is His autobiography. Until a few years ago, this was a new idea for me and a hard pill to swallow, so I know it may surprise some. But like life itself, the Bible is not primarily about us. Sure, we’re there too, and the Bible has a lot to say about you and me. But we are not the focus. Gods. Therefore, each time you read the Bible, ask yourself, “What does this passage teach about God (Father, Son, and Spirit)?” And then ask, “What is my response to this teaching about God?”
TIP #4: Write down your thoughtsWrite your answers to those two questions in Tip #3. Keep a Bible reading journal. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Record your thoughts in a word processing document or spiral notebook. I always learn and retain more when I interact with the material I’m reading. Don’t just read and pray. Whenever possible: Read, pray and write. Even better: pray, read, pray, write and pray.
TIP #5: Commit to reading the entire Bible (or at least the New Testament)Yes, I go back to Tip #1: to understand any book, it is best to read it through. Resources abound to help you do this. Bible reading plans are a good place to start, so search online and find one you like. So… Go ahead! By the grace of God and to the glory of God, it can be done.
This is how I have been approaching the task of reading the entire Bible. For several years I have been reading the entire New Testament in one year. This can be done by reading one chapter a day, five days a week. Then every two or three years I read both the Old and New Testaments in one year. This is how I have been doing it for the last 15 years, and it has worked well for me.
If you’re new to the Bible, or if reading the entire Book seems too intimidating right now, why not start with the New Testament? Eventually, however, you will want to read both Testaments; Your understanding of the New Testament will skyrocket to a new level when you read and understand the Old Testament. And when was the last time you read only the last 25% of a book?
TIP #6: Get help understanding what you readHowever you read it, take advantage of the many wonderful resources that can help you understand the Bible. God has given the Church many gifts. One of those gifts is knowledgeable Bible teachers who have spent years studying the Bible so they can help God’s people understand it.
The Bible is both a Book and a Book of Books. As you read the Bible, take time to get the big picture of each individual book. A good study Bible should have an introduction and an outline for each book, which you would do well to read and use to navigate that particular book. Another important aspect of the Bible is the variety of literary genres found in the Scriptures. Again, find a study Bible to help you learn what these genres are and how they differ.
TIP #7: Search your heart for the answer to this great questionFinally, let’s not forget the “Why” question. You are reading this article because you want to read the Bible. That’s such a good thing, or so it seems. But why? What is your motive? That is such an important question. It is a matter of life and death. I think about this a lot because I know that my reasons for reading the Bible have not always been pure.
And you? How do you answer the question, “Why do I want to read the Bible?” The true believer reads the Word of God primarily to know and glorify the God of the Word. There is a big difference between reading for the purpose of knowing God and reading to know God. Let the latter be your motive, not the former.
Here’s to a grace-filled and God-blessed New Year, and may you know God better in 2022 through reading His Word.