Holding to Truth

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

12 Practical Points on Bible Reading Plus One Awesome Tool

Why do so many people who own a Bible read it so infrequently?  The answer is often, “I don’t understand it” or possibly, “I don’t get much out of my reading.”

In this post, I’ll share twelve practical points that have been the most helpful to me in reading the Bible over a number of years…plus one helpful tool.  They’ve kept my taste for God’s Word and kept me coming back again and again.

The Proper Attitude for Reading the Bible

The twelve points that have greatly helped to enrich my practice of reading the Word can be divided into three categories: 1) the proper attitude, 2) some simple ways, and 3) some tips on time.

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 5:39-40Matt. 5:83. Here is a related song. Be sure to click “View Lyrics.”

2. Have the attitude of coming to receive spiritual nourishment; open your spirit, the deepest part of your being, to take in the bread of life from the treasure store of God’s word—Jer. 15:16Matt. 4:4; 1 Tim. 4:6 and song.

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. 119:1302 Cor. 3:16Eph. 1:17-18 and song.

To help you to have a proper attitude for reading the Bible, you may also want to read this 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.

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 this 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; John 6:33, Exo. 16:13-21.

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.”

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.

Reading the Bible with the Help of the Recovery Version

To help you  get much more out of your Bible reading, I highly recommend reading the Word 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.

I like the Recovery Version with the footnotes because the notes have helped me to enter into many truths in God’s Word. For a better appreciation of its value, you may want to check out the Topical Directory in  the Illustrated Guide to the Using the Recovery Version distributed by Bibles for America.

I’ve also received much spiritual nourishment through the help of the  footnotes. They often lead me into enlightened prayer and fellowship with the  Lord. They also solve many of the common and hard problems in the Bible and open up the books of the Bible so its easy to study them.

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: livingstreambooks.com.

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 the twelve points mainly from “Reading the Bible,” the sixth chapter in Lessons for New Believers  by Witness Lee. (You can read it for 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!

28 Replies

  1. teresa sandoval benitez

    Hola mi nombre es teresa sandoval…es precioso y practico esta manera ..me gusta para poder practicarla con mis hijos..es una guia divina ..
    gracias por ayudarnos
    el Señor este con todos nosotros..Amen

    [English translation:]
    Hello my name is Teresa Sandoval is beautiful and practical … so .. I like to practice with my kids .. is a divine guide ..
    thanks for helping
    The Lord be with us all .. Amen

    1. Tom Smith

      Teresa, may the Lord bless and your children as you read God’s Word together. I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me a godly mother like you who read and studied God’s Word in a daily way.

      Google translation:
      Teresa, que el Señor los bendiga y sus hijos mientras usted lee la Palabra de Dios juntos. Estoy muy agradecido al Señor por haberme dado una madre piadosa como usted que leer y estudiar la Palabra de Dios de una manera cotidiana.

  2. I just read a chapter from “How to Enjoy God” by Witness Lee which stressed point 5 – “Don’t seek too much understanding”. In it, WL emphasized that the Bible is our food. If we spent too much time studying the food but not eating it, we will miss its benefit. In fact, understanding is not necessary to receive the benefit of the food we eat. The same applies to our spiritual food. Just eat the Word (Matt 4:4) with much prayer (Eph 6:17-18).

    1. Tom Smith

      Good point. If we see that the Bible is a book of life (John 6:63, 68), we will appreciate that we can receive spiritual nourishment from God’s Word even while reading passages that we don’t fully understand. By using our praying spirit in addition to our understanding mind we can contact the Spirit of the Scriptures and “eat God’s Word” (Jer. 15:16). Thanks for the enriching comment.

  3. Between ages 12 and 21 I tried several times to read the New Testament but never got far. Then I contacted Christians who lived in spirit (their human spirit regenerated by and mingled with the Spirit). After being with them a short while, I began to read the NT again and was able to complete it. That year I read the whole NT three more times. Being in an atmopshere of the Spirit with our spirit means so much to for reading the Bible and for receiving nourishment and enlightenment from it.

    1. Tom Smith

      Very true. How we come to the Bible makes a big difference. If we just come to the Bible with our critical mind, we’ll not find spiritual nourishment. But, if we use our spirit mingled with the Spirit to contact God as we’re reading, His words will become spirit and life to us (John 6:63). When we enjoy the Word as food to live by, we can’t help coming again and again, even multiple times a day. Thank you for this helpful point.

  4. I like this matter of blending our reading of the Word with prayer. Recently, I enjoyed this quote by D.L. Moody on the this very matter:

    “If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.”

    1. Tom Smith

      This is a good reminder to us all in Bible reading. Don’t just read without praying. Neither should we only pray without reading God’s Word. If we blend the two—reading and praying, we will grow in the Lord’s life to be built up in His love, with a proper understanding of the mind and will of the Lord. Thanks again for an enlightening comment!

    2. Love the D.L. Moody quote. Many brothers in the 18th and 19th century period had a voracious appetite and love for the Bible that is certainly admirable. I remember reading in John Wesley’s journey that he would wake up at 4am, and read the Bible for an hour, then go back to sleep for a time. He said this time of Bible reading was a source of supply to him during the day. I love a saying from another brother as well. He has said something like, step one to reading the Bible is open the Bible; if your Bible is open you have a chance. Amen to reading the Bible.

  5. Todd B.

    Most excellent advice! My favorite breakfast in the morning is reading and enjoying His word prayerfully. Yum! And the Recovery Version is my best companion for helping me digest the word with understanding. The footnotes, and the outline with each book are solid gold mines.

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for another encouraging comment. I hope that many more believers would appreciate the Word and benefit from all of it’s positive functions. I’m especially impressed that it’s only by receiving the Lord’s Word, such that His written Word becomes a living spoken Word within us, that we can fulfill His will. Such a Word will sanctify and beautify us to be Christ’s bride (Eph. 5:26-27). It will also become the sword to slay God’s enemy and make us corporate warrior (Eph. 6:17-18) to fight with Him and bring in His kingdom reign.

      1. anwar

        i Love the post in his life giving word , may the Lord prepare His Bride wz washing us by his living word!

        1. Tom Smith

          Amen. We need to see that our coming to the Lord’s word is not merely for our personal holiness and victory but for the beautifying of Christ’s bride. FOr more appreciation of this point, you may also enjoy reading, “Why Read the Bible? To Become Christ’s Bride.” May you continue to enjoy the washing of the water of the Word!

    2. Todd, recently in my NT reading I finished John. In chapter 21 the phrase that stood out most, and more than any time before, is “when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said.” A good spiritual breakfast prepares us for the Lord’s speaking. Lord, keep us eating every morning.

  6. I love this post! I have a blog as well and post ministry every Monday. I would love to link up to this post- would you mind? Thanks and much grace!

    1. Tom Smith

      Feel free to link to the post. I’d be happy to have you share the Word with a further audience.

  7. I just wanted to let you know that I blogged about this post today! Much grace!
    http://www.oursomethingbeautiful.com/2012/08/ministry-mondays-12-practical-points-on.html

  8. Christa Webb

    Hi, is this the Tom Smith from Missouri Baptist? I was just on an internet search for practical points for the Bible, and came across this web page. Thanks for the input, and I hope all is well. (This is Christa Webb, daughter of (Mrs. Webb, librarian.)

    1. Tom Smith

      Crista, I’m not the same Tom Smith that you’re looking for, but I am really glad that you’re search for practical points for the Bible brought you to HoldingtoTruth.com. We really want to help people like you get a deeper appreciation for truth in God’s Word and enter into more subjective experience of the indwelling Christ through the opening of the Word. We hope that the posts here would bring you much spiritual nourishment to grow in Christ. Tom

  9. Tom Smith

    The Bible is an awesome book! And regularly reading it can have wonderful, long term affects on a persons life. Personally, reading God’s Word began to have noticeable affects on my life starting from around junior high age and continues to bless me to this day. I’d like to encourage everyone I can to get into a proper Bible reading habit as indicated in these 12 practical points…plus one awesome tool–the Recovery Version. Thanks for sharing the post.

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