The Bible is the most powerful book that has ever been written!
It’s a collection of 66 books, originally written in three languages over millennia. The Bible was inspired by God and through it He speaks to us today. It doesn’t simply teach certain facts; it gives God’s own words, introduces Him to the reader and helps the reader get to know Him.
The Bible is all about God’s plan of salvation in Jesus from start to finish (John 20:32). It is the life of Jesus Christ which divides the Bible into two: the Old Testament looks forward to His arrival and prepares for it; the New Testament tells of His life, death and resurrection, showing how they deal with the problem of sin. It makes plain that new life is possible for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Bible is to change our lives (2 Tim 3:16).
Getting to know God is the purpose for which we were made. In order to do this we need to spend time speaking to him and letting him speak to us. This is a brief introduction to reading, understanding and acting on what the Bible says.
Tips for Devotional study
Reading the Bible each day is a very personal thing. Different people will find different approaches helpful. The most important thing is that you do not just read it, like you might read and put aside a newspaper story, but that you listen for God’s voice through it. The following steps have helped many in their personal Bible study:
- Put aside some time each day to be alone with God. Start by praying that God will help you understand and learn from what you read.
- Read some Bible verses from the book of the Bible you are working through (or the passages of the Bible indicated in the Bible Reading Plan you are using)
- Consider what the passage has to say about God … is there a reason to worship Him all the more, an aspect of His character that leads to praise, comfort or greater trust or peace, is there a way that He works that you need to consider?
- Consider what the passage has to say about you … is there something you must do, must change, must seek God’s help for?
- Consider what the passage has to say about others … has God challenged you to pray for something in particular for another person? has God challenged you to speak for Him to someone? have you been challenged to encourage, teach, help another believer? have you been challenged about your attitude to someone else?
- After God has spoken to you through his word, speak to him in prayer. Pray that God will help you act on what you have learnt, and not forget the lessons.
Some ideas of where to get started
If you’re starting out, one of the gospels – Matthew , Mark, Luke or John (that tell the life story of Jesus) is a good place to begin.
Many people find it helpful to follow some Bible reading notes such as “Closer to God” or “Every Day with Jesus”, available from Christian bookshops.
Or, you can follow a daily reading plan. Street Baptist Church recommend one each year for those starting out to read God’s word for themselves. Alternatively, you could look at the many plans available at the YouVersion website or, if you like paper versions rather than electronic helps, look through the various plans listed at bibleplan.org and print off the one you chose.