Hello friend and welcome back to my Sunday blog. I am in the middle of a 6-day stretch of off-days here at home and loving spending time with my family while sharing God’s Word. I hope you’re having equally loving times of refreshing in your homes.
Last Sunday we talked about how we can allow ourselves to be found by God. We found that simply asking and inviting Him to reveal Himself to us will start us down the path of being sensitized to His presence. As we sense Him near, a need will start to arise within us, an awakening, a seeking to know who this gentle presence is. The place where we can have this need met and the rising questions answered is in His book the Bible, often referred to as ‘The Word’ or The ‘Canon’ of Scripture.
The Bible can be both intimidating and overwhelming as a book -where does one begin? It has a total of 66 books; 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Old testament simply refers to a time Before Christ (B.C.) while the New Testament cover events After Christ, or as we say in Latin, Ano Domino (A.D.). I don’t want us to get bogged down with the history of the Bible, but for those souls that seek to understand its origins deeper, here’s a link that covers the subject in depth.
Initially when I read the Bible, it would usually occur in the context of a sermon, which ultimately focused on a few scattered verses here and there. I eventually chose to read the whole Bible just so I could tie all the stories together and have a better understanding of the overall story and the underlying theme of God’s word. This time around, I am doing both at the same time. During my Bible study hour, I read from Genesis onward and other times, I dart about while zeroing in on a particular subject as need arises.
Oftentimes we find that we each have our truth. There’s your truth, my truth, their truth, and so on and so forth. God’s truth neutralizes all our truths as His Word stands as the only truth, the ultimate truth, our one true North. For this reason, we want to study God’s Word so we can live freely in His truth. Indeed John 8:31-32 offers us this very promise if we choose to study His word: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I’m not sure about you but I’m all for this free way of life.
BEGINNERS BIBLE STUDY
But how does one go about reading the Bible as a beginner? I bought my son Jan his first adult Bible a few months ago -he has had Children’s Bibles before because I raised him in church. I had him start with Proverbs because I felt it would offer him guidance and wisdom that was applicable immediately in his daily life. He enjoyed it so much that even when he would call me from his vacation in Japan, we would talk about some of the verses that had stuck out to Him.
When you do a Google search, apparently, it’s advisable to begin with one of the four gospels in the New Testament, authored by Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke and Saint John respectively. While these four gospels tell similar stories of each of these disciples’ time with Jesus Christ in their midst, each telling it from their own perspective, there seems to be a consensus to start with the Gospel written by Saint John.
In all honesty, I hesitate to give a definitive book that one must start with as our Father is not limited in the ways He chooses to reveal Himself to us. I doubt it would have done much for me to begin with the Gospels as believing in Christ was one of the things that happened much later for me. In my time, the books of Kings and Chronicles were a much more interesting read for me as I found the history so very interesting.
My advice would be to pray about it and then let the Spirit guide you. Pick a book in there and start reading, some will appeal to you more than others. Eventually you will read the whole Bible if you feel so inclined, it certainly is a noble and most rewarding exercise. In my humble opinion, the Bible weaves a story of God reaching out to man. It’s story of a Father’s undying love for us His children, even when we do wrong, and His salvation plan for us. To help you decide which book to begin with, here’s a link that explains the theme of each of the 66 books of the Bible in a sentence.
⇓ PRACTICAL APPLICATION ⇓
Once you’ve picked a book to start with, always start with a prayer. Simply ask God: “Father, reveal Yourself to me as I read Your word. Send me your Holy Spirit to guide me as I seek to know You through Your word. Draw me close to You through Your Word.” Equally important, be consistent in your Bible study. Find a time that agrees with you, whether that be morning, afternoon, lunch-break, evening or night. Find time daily to go into your secret place and meet with your maker; He longs to be with you.
If you’ve been praying to your Father to draw you in and to reveal His love for you as we discussed last week, reading His word is the next step, for that is where He will be found. Avail yourself to be found by Him through reading His Word daily. Eventually you will learn to hear His voice as His word promises, but that will require knowing how He speaks first so you can identify His voice when you hear it. When that time comes, you will need to match what He’s whispered in your heart back to His written Word so you’re sure it’s Him as He doesn’t contradict Himself. It was through my persistent reading of His word that my heart quickened to His voice, something I had previously been oblivious about.
Have a go at this beautiful Proverbs [4:20-22 TPT] and tell me if this is not music to your ears: “Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you, and pay attention to all that I have to say. Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.” See the promise here? Now who wouldn’t want that?! It’s a most wonderful experience and I am enjoying my journey of getting to know Him more and more through His word. I want the same for you dearest friend. Let’s walk on, our journey continues. Cheers, Ms. Grey xoxo