Following is an English transcript of the message from this morning.
Thanks for the encouragement from those of you who shared that these messages are useful for you. God is faithful to bless those who seek Him. Even if only one person is encouraged, that is enough motivation to share the Word with you.
Last time we looked at why and how we can read the Bible. I want to quickly go over the main points before moving into the next part of this message.
Why should you read the Bible?
1. Read the Bible to know God.
2. Read the Bible to know God’s desires.
3. Read the Bible to understand yourself.
4. Read the Bible to understand others.
5. Read the Bible to understand history.
6. Read the Bible to be saved.
7. Read the Bible to know the next right thing to do.
Those are some reasons why we would read the Bible. But how should we read the Bible?
1. Read the Bible in devotion.
2. Read the Bible to have something to share.
3. Read the Bible to get a deeper understanding of the meaning of teachings, of principles, even of prophecy.
4. Read the Bible to memorize it.
5. Read the Bible a whole book at a time.
6. Read the Bible chronologically.
7. Read the Bible consistently.
We now know why we read the Bible, and we’ve learned several ways of how we can read it. I would now like to consider when you should read the Bible.
1. Read the Bible every day.
The Word of God is spiritual food. The believer must be eating daily and regularly in order to stay alive spiritually. Sadly, you can survive on only a little intake, but just as in the physical body, the less you eat healthy portions, the weaker you will become. You can die spiritually from starvation by not maintaining a connection to God. Read every day to stay alive.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.””
John 6:51 NLT
“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.”
Psalms 145:1-3 NLT
2. Read the Bible to begin your day.
Many of us are busy. You may think you have no time to add something more to your schedule. When can you fit in time to read the Bible? These are all thoughts from our carnal selfishness and from the devil to destroy us spiritually. Getting up fifteen minutes or half an hour earlier in the morning is something you can do.
Starting your day with God gives you strength. It gives you something to feed on so you will not faint spiritually later. Would you consider going into the workday starving physically? Even more so, prioritize your spiritual health. Begin the day in God’s Word and set your mindset accordingly.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:1-3 NLT
“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”
Psalms 57:7-10 NLT
““I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.”
Proverbs 8:17 NLT
3. Read the Bible when you have a chance throughout the day.
Read the Bible when you can in the middle of the day. You stop for a midday meal for your physical body. Don’t you think your spiritual man could be nourished, too? This is not difficult to do if you plan to have a Bible with you wherever you will happen to be. This is especially easy to do with smartphones.
Again, you may be tempted to think that you have no time, but this is deception. Especially for those who have smartphones, you are already spending time eating something. Consuming Facebook conspiracy theories will kill your spiritual life. Replace that with feeding on the pure and living Word of God.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”
Proverbs 4:23-27 NLT
“I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.”
Psalms 101:3-4 NLT
4. Read the Bible at the end of the day.
God’s Word has a cleansing effect. During the day, we are beset with temptations. We may be weakened or sullied by evil. We may fail and sin. Coming to the Bible at the end of the day helps to strengthen, cleanse, and reset our hearts.
“to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.”
Ephesians 5:26-27 NLT
5. Read the Bible when you are afraid.
There are tremendous promises for the believer throughout the Bible. The enemy of our souls will try to discourage and destroy us in any way possible. Fear is one of the devil’s greatest tools. Searching the Word of God, we can find the truth that will set us free from fear.
“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.””
Isaiah 12:2 NLT
6. Read the Bible when seeking direction.
I talked about this earlier. How does God’s Word have the answer to what you should do next? Should you do this thing or that thing? Often, you will not find a direct answer that tells you which choice to make. In many things, God leaves us free to make our own choices, but in many more things, God provides direction based on the principles of truth He’s established. Knowing the Bible well will make many of life’s choices clear for you.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
7. Read the Bible to worship.
Part of our relationship to God is that of reverence, gratitude, and worship. There are many passages that are devoted to that position of the heart. Some are records of worship services. You can read those and join in worship in your heart. Others, like the Psalms, include direct worship and praise.
“Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.”
1 Chronicles 16:29-30 NLT
The final aspect I want to consider is where you should read the Bible.
1. Read the Bible alone.
This is what your Bible reading will be and should be most of the time. God wants a personal relationship with you. He wants to be your friend and your king. He wants to live with you in your heart. Meet Him there.
“Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
John 15:6-8 NLT
2. Read the Bible with others.
If you are part of a family unit, read the Bible with them. I read the Bible with my family after supper before going to bed. That is a good way for us to be drawn to God together. It also serves to draw us closer to each other.
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”
Psalms 78:4-7 NLT
3. Read the Bible when you are waiting or traveling.
There are many minutes of our days when we are in transit from one place to another. If we’re sitting in a taxi for twenty minutes, take that time to draw close to God. If you’re driving, there are many free applications that allow you to play the Bible out loud on your phone. You can also do this while doing some work. This would be an excellent way of redeeming or buying back your time.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT
4. Read the Bible in place of social media or novels.
You are what you eat. For example, if you consume sexually charged media, which is what most movies are, you will not be strong spiritually. If you consume social media with all its drama, deception, and division, you will be destroyed spiritually. Fill your mind with life, and you will live.
“Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NLT
5. Read your Bible when you’re sitting bored.
This is a hard one for many. The world is filled with entertainment, and many have that entertainment in their pockets at all times. Entertainment feels good in the moment and becomes addictive, but it leaves you empty and starving spiritually. It’s like physically eating nothing but sugar. Discipline yourself to fill your empty moments with worthwhile things. Reading the Bible when you’re feeling aimless is an excellent choice.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Psalms 1:1-3 NLT
6. Read the Bible on the walls of your home.
This is an easy one to do and can be very powerful. Writing out your favorite scriptures, perhaps verses of promise or encouragement or challenge, and placing them around your house will be a boost for your spiritual health. With time, we come to ignore things, so it is good to regularly move or replace mottos or notes you have on the wall or on your bathroom mirror. They do not need to be fancy or expensive; you can write them on a simple piece of paper. This can be helpful in memorizing verses, too.
“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NLT
7. Read your Bible in church.
Believers need other believers. God has designed believers to be part of a body, the church. We go to church to be edified, encouraged, and instructed in the Word. Reading and studying the Bible with other believers is a strengthening and unifying act.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT
I hope these truths about God’s Word will motivate you to read the Bible more and every day. It has the power to change your life into something of great blessing. Seek the Lord, and you will find Him.
“Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT