By Stefanie McGowan
“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.’” Luke 24:44-48
So that we could be witnesses for him…
He talked with his disciples.
He told them about how Scripture points back to Him.
How the law of Moses, all that was written by the prophets, all the Psalms… it all concerns Jesus.
He opened their minds to see Him.
He gave them understanding, that they might know that it’s all about Jesus. Every word, every law, every story, every praise. It’s all for Him and by Him. It was revealed by the One who fulfilled it all, on our behalf, so that we would be a witness of who He is: The Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Friends, if your heart is to know God:
If you long to know The Word, to read your bible, and to understand the Scriptures…
To hear God speak…
To know His heart…
To see His character…
in a real and intimate way…
You can find Him. He’s not far off.
His Word is a love letter, written with YOU in mind. Poured out by The Holy Spirit, to make you a witness of His Glory and His Grace.
Every story points back to Jesus. Every word displays His love.
His word has a purpose, and it will not return void.
And it’s not by accident, that your heart is drawn to know Him more.
God promises this, that: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) http://bible.com/1/jer.29.13.kjv
And that as you knock, seeking after God’s heart, you should: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) http://bible.com/1/mat.7.7-8.kjv
He tempts us to: “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalms 34:8) http://bible.com/116/psa.34.8.nlt
And as we do, God promises: “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 http://bible.com/59/isa.55.11.esv
He is The Word made flesh. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) http://bible.com/59/jhn.1.14.esv
“…and his name is called The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13) http://bible.com/1/rev.19.13.kjv
If you want to know God, spend time in the word. Spend time with Jesus.
Quick Tips for Reading your Bible:
- PRAY. It doesn’t have to be fancy; He just wants our hearts. (Here in Matthew 6:9-14, Jesus teaches us how to pray.)
- OPEN YOUR BIBLE. Start with a version you will read. Just remember: The version you’ll read is better than the version that will sit on the shelf. Many apps like this one, offer tons of different versions at your finger tips: https://www.youversion.com/ *I love this app, because I set it on the counter and use the little speaker icon at the top, to make it read The Word aloud to me as I do the dishes, or even go for a walk.
- ASK GOD FOR UNDERSTANDING. Pray first for God to open your eyes to see Him in all His glory and to learn the truth He wants you to know.
- START. Just read. Get your feet wet. Get your hands dirty. Just start. Give Jesus your heart and let the Holy Spirit do the growing. (1 Corinthians 3:7 - “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”)
- STUCK ON WHERE TO START? Check out the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Each one is a different view, a unique perspective from different angles. Romans tells of Jesus as our Salvation. Hebrews, of the freedom we have in Christ alone. Genesis, of how Jesus is our Creator, set apart from space and time. Wherever you start, be encouraged that The Lord is with you, spurring you on.
- LOOK, LISTEN, LEARN:
Some steps to utilize and some question to ask as you start reading…
Observation – put the text into context. Who wrote this book? Who is involved? What do their names mean? Where is this happening? When is it happening? Why is it happening? What is repeated and emphasized? What things are alike/different? Any lists, themes, repetition?
Interpretation – What does it mean? Define key words; investigate other verses, consult resource materials, dictionaries, concordances, commentaries (Blue Letter Bible: https://www.blueletterbible.org/) , literary devices, comparisons, ask questions)
Application – How does this apply to me? Examples to follow? Attitudes to develop, sins to avoid, commands to obey; truths to know; prayers to pray? Above all…what do I learn about who God is?
And remember, knowledge isn’t supposed to make one proud. Knowledge of God humbles us. It brings us to our knees in humility and obedience in a life anchored in mercy and changed by grace.
7. KEEP GOING: Study plans help. And prayer is powerful. And just as your body needs nourishing, your soul needs food also. Let God fuel your thoughts by giving Him the first of your day. You won’t regret it!
These websites offer great plans to guide you in the word each day: http://www2.bhpublishinggroup.com/readthebible/downloads/RBL-reading-plan.pdf
In your reading, let Jesus be the center as the Spirit teaches you. “But the Helper, The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) You have an advocate, Jesus promised; a Teacher of all things, a Helper when you need it. That through the love letter of the Word, you will find that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Planting the seed of the word builds faith. Seeds which are meant to produce a harvest for a life made new in Christ. Happy Reading, friends! I am praying for you as your roots grow down deep in the goodness and faithfulness of our sweet Savior. To Him be the glory!
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)