Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Practical Points on Bible Reading and Reading for the Central Line

What I intend to present in this post are the practical points that have been most helpful to me in reading the Bible.  I have taken these points mainly from “Reading the Bible,” the sixth chapter in Lessons for New Believers  by Witness Lee. (You can read it yourself at www.ministrybooks.org, under “Additional Titles by Witness Lee” – listed alphabetically by title.)  There are twelve points that have greatly helped to enrich my practice of reading the Word. These I have divided into three categories: 1) the proper attitude, 2) some simple ways, and 3) some tips on time.

The Proper Attitude for Reading the Bible

The following three points have helped me to have a proper attitude in reading God’s word:

1. Have the attitude of contacting God Himself;  be inwardly prepared to meet God, with a true and sincere heart to draw near to God, and a quiet and open spirit to fellowship with Him; it’s good to begin with a short prayer— John 5:39-40; Matt. 5:8, 3.

2. Have the attitude of coming to receive the life supply; open your spirit, the deepest part of your being, to take in the bread of life from the treasure store of God’s word—Psa. 119:93; Jer. 15:16; Matt. 4:4; John 6:63, 68.

3. Have the attitude of coming to receive enlightenment; this requires both your heart and your spirit; it helps to pray when you read the Bible saying, “Lord, I come to Your Word to contact You. Cause my heart to incline toward You and my spirit to open to You. Cause me to love You more than knowledge and doctrine. May my inner being be nourished and enlightened by Your Word”—Psa. 119:130; 2 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:17-18.

To help you to have a proper attitude for reading the Bible, you may also want to read my post, “The First Step Toward a Vital Practice of Reading and Studying the Bible.”

Some Simple Ways to Read the Bible

 The following simple ways to read the Bible have rendered me considerable help:

1. Read the books of the Bible sequentially, consecutively and not randomly.

2. Don’t read too much at one time; rather, consider your own situation and develop a workable schedule; the most important thing is to be persistent; avoid impulsive reading. (Personally, I use a custom reading schedule that I made using www.readhisword.com.)

3. Blend reading of the Word with prayer; the moment you receive inspiration, briefly stop your reading, turn the inspiration into a short prayer and then continue reading.

4. Underline precious verses and portions that impress you; you may want to use different colors of pencils to highlight different topics; for example, verses on Christ’s titles, person and work might be one color.  I’ll try to cover this more in my conclusion.

5. Don’t seek too much understanding when reading the Bible which may cause you to be preoccupied with matters that you are not yet prepared to understand.

6. Muse on the Word; when time permits, muse on the Word by prayer, recall it and consider it with other portions of the Word; this doesn’t need to take place while you’re reading the Bible, but during any free time—Psa. 119:15. For more on musing on the Word you might enjoy my post “Discovering the Lost Art of Musing on the Word of God.”

Some Tips on Time

The following are a few points that I have employed in setting a regular time in the Word:

1. The best time to read the Bible is in the morning; when we come to the Bible every morning, we are actually seeking to touch the Lord and receive Him as the bread of life; this may be likened to the children of Israel gathering manna each morning—Psa. 119:147-148; John 6:33, 35; cf. Exo. 16.

2. It is best to read the New Testament in the morning and find another time during the day, for example, after dinner or before bed to read the Old Testament.

3. Try to set apart at least ten minutes at a time; twenty to thirty minutes is better, but start with what you can maintain and build up as your capacity grows; remember “the tortoise wins the race.”

These practical points on Bible reading are not a part of the central line of the Bible, so they are not points of contention. They are just a number of points that have rendered some help to me over the years.

The most important point to me  is having a proper attitude in coming to the Word. The ways will change and develop over time but our attitude should only deepen as we look for the wonderful Person revealed in the pages of this unique Book.

Focusing on the Central Line of the Bible by Using the Recovery Version

In bringing this post on practical points back to the view of the central line, I would say that we should “bridle” our reading according to the central line of the Bible. That is, we should direct our focus  to the Word of God, the Triune God, the economy (or plan) of God, the all-inclusive Christ, the life-giving Spirit, God’s complete salvation, the Body of Christ, the kingdom of God, and the New Jerusalem. If you direct your reading to these great points, you’ll discover “the diamond” in box of the Bible. Look for these points. Pick them up and gaze on them. Pray and muse over them. Underline verses that relate to them. I’d recommend using a different color pencil for each one.

To help you focus on this central line and to get much more out of your Bible reading, I highly recommend reading the Bible with the help of the Holy Bible, Recovery Version.  This has been the most helpful tool in my practice of reading the Bible over many years.

You can get a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version online at:  www.bfa.org. You can also purchase the Holy Bible Recovery Version online at the publisher’s site: www.lsm.org. (The Recovery Version has rendered me the greatest help because of its understandable and accurate text, enriching and supplying footnotes, and exceptional and enlightening outlines.)

May the Lord richly bless your Bible reading with His dear presence, making it so fresh, nourishing, and enlightening to you, such that you’ll always want to come back for more.

I have drawn these points mainly from “Reading the Bible,” the sixth chapter in Lessons for New Believers  by Witness Lee. (You can read it yourself at www.ministrybooks.org, under “Additional Titles by Witness Lee” – listed alphabetically by title.) 

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling (Creative Commons)

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

12 Replies

  1. Dear brother,

    I have been enjoying this same thing recently, and especially the points you mentioned under “Some Simple Ways To Read The Bible.” God’s Word is good for food! It is so helpful to realise that we can focus on the “meat” instead of being distracted by the “bones”!

    Another great help to me has been to start the same Bible-reading schedule with a sister, so we can encourage one another and share our enjoyment from reading the word. We are following a schedule printed on a handy card by BfA, which goes through a few verses and footnotes from the New Testament Recovery Version every day. I find that it is helpful to pace myself and not read too much at one time, and I hope we can keep this up in a consistent and regular way.

    For any readers you may have who are on this side of the pond, it is also possible to receive a free New Testament Recovery Version in the UK by visiting amanaradio.org.uk, or to purchase the full Holy Bible Recovery Version from Amana Trust Books (the website is currently down for maintenance, but orders can be made by phone or in person).

    With grace in Christ,

    Sarah

    (Amana Trust is a registered UK charity that hosts trainings, seminars and conferences for the advancement of the Christian faith, distributes free Bibles, and sponsors the broadcast of Life-study of the Bible on Premier Christian Radio. Publications are also available in other European countries and languages, and links to relevant websites can be found on amanaradio.org.uk.)

  2. Tom,

    This article really encouraged me not only to read the Word but to look for a time to regularly incorporate a second daily reading time. His word is so sweet to our taste! Thanks for posting. Hoping to write a related post on the benefits of sequentially reading the Bible soon.

    1. Tom Smith

      Merrill, Your comment about the Word being sweet to our taste is really a key. We need to not only have a schedule to read the Bible but a prepared inner being. My recent post “The First Step Toward a Vital Practice of Reading and Studying the Bible,” addresses the matter of being poor in spirit, pure in heart, hungry and thirsty and asking the Lord for a sweet taster of Himself in His Word. My prayer is that so many younger believers would be encouraged to come to the Lord’s Word, a little each day and would taste Him each time they do. This kind of taste will keep them coming back again and again.

  3. Milan

    Hi I got saved 8 months back. But since 4 months I have been far from God and I have been facing old life again. How can I again feel His love?

    1. Tom Smith

      Praise the Lord for your salvation 8 months ago! Now you have a wonderful journey before you. There are many steps before you and the Lord will lead you to take one small step at a time. I have published articles on many of these basic steps including and effective baptism, knowing the two spirits, feeding on God’s word with prayer, and praying to absorb the Lord as your life, confessing your sins, and meeting with other believers.

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