5 ways to Intake the Bible

bible intake 2INSERTION:

  • I believe Bible intake is the most important Spiritual Discipline that all believers in Jesus Christ must exercise. Why so? Why not prayer? Church attendance? Reading the Bible will lead us to prayer, fellowship, the local church, serving, giving, loving our neighbor, and more. Yet, there are many people who spend A LOT of time in prayer or in church (like Muslims, & Buddhists Monks), yet their beliefs are far away from Christ and His atoning death on the cross.
  • The most transforming practice available to us is the disciplined intake of Scripture
  • “Sadly, the worst dust storm in history would happen if all church members who were neglecting their Bibles dusted them off simultaneously.” (Donald Whitney)
  • Why is scripture intake one of the hardest disciplines to practice? “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Granted: many people don’t like to read. At the same time, many assume that the only way to “intake” the Bible is by reading. Yes, reading is one of the ways we intake the word. But, we must also engage with the scriptures in 4 others ways. Here are 5 ways to intake the Holy Bible:

1. HEAR SCRIPTURE

bible app

  • But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28
  • Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
  • Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.1 Timothy 4:13

There are so many ways you can listen to the Bible, and YOU DON’T even have to purchase cds! I utilize my “YouVersion”Holy Bible App, which allows me to listen to the Bible while Im driving, jogging, or just laying in bed.

 

2. READ SCRIPTURE

  • But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
  • This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
  • For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Jesus, while speaking to the crowds, expected them to read and know the scriptures. He often said, “Did you not read….” Here are some examples:

  • “Have you not read what David did…” (Matthew 12:3).
  • “Or have you not read in the law…” (Matthew 12:5).
  • “Have you not read, that he which made them…” (Matthew 19:4).
  • “Have you never read, out of the mouth of babes…” (Matthew 21:16 ).
  • “Did you never read in the scriptures, the stone…” (Matthew 21:42).
  • “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God” (Matthew 22:31).

3. STUDY SCRIPTURE

Reading scripture gives breadth, but study gives depth.

  • For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra 7:10
  • Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39
  • Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11

Apostle Paul, who wrote 2/3 of the books of the New Testament, spent much time studying scriptures. Even during times when he was imprisoned & writing letters himself, he asked Timothy (2 Timothy 4:13) to bring books & scrolls (scriptures), so that he can continue to study.  Keep in mind, this same Apostle Paul:

  • Has seen heaven
  • Has seen the resurrected Christ
  • Had done many miracles
  • And wrote Holy Scriptures himself

There are many great ways to study scripture.  One resource you can read to find out ways to study the Bible is a book by Rick Warren “Bible Study Methods” (http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Warrens-Bible-Study-Methods/dp/0310273005)

Logos Bible Software (http://www.logos.com) is probably one of the greatest tools available today to study scriptures. Though it may seem costly, the Bible software is well worth every penny! As soon as I pay off my Bible College loans, I will start saving to purchase my access to this great software.

4. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURES

“But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God…” (Matthew 22:29).

– When scriptures are stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to our attention when we need it most.

– New Testament witnessing and preaching (example: Peter’s sermon on Pentecost) was primarily quotes of scripture.

– If you don’t have a verse memorized exactly, you lose confidence in using it in conversation and witnessing.

– I encourage you to memorize some key scriptures, and during times of fear, doubt, confusion & struggle, quote scripture!  Here are just 2 examples in my life, when scripture memorization has played an important role:

  • when I am in fear, I always start quoting Psalm 23 “…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.” Especially when I was younger and I was walking late in the dark, this is the scripture that was always on my lips and brought me comfort.
  • Our very first pregnancy with my wife ended with a miscarriage. That brought us a lot of fear about our future ability to have kids and, if we did have kids, what their health would be.  At times when doubt and fear would set in, my wife and I would just begin to quote scriptures, such as Exodus 23:26 “None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days” and Psalm 91 “No evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.” These scriptures brought comfort & peace during a season of a dark valley.      

5. MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:10-11

Though “Study” of scripture and “Mediation” of scripture seem similar, they are quite different. Studying scriptures means using commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, going back and forth with many scriptures, and using other tools. Meditation on scripture is taking one simple truth, a couple of words, one verse, and meditating, thinking about it. Lets take John 11:25 as an example. Meditating on that scripture could include emphasizing a different word, as you read it several times. This is what it would look like: stress the “italicized” word, every time you read the verse:

  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.

Next time you do your daily Bible reading, choose one verse you’ve read, and meditate on that scripture the rest of the day.

CONCLUSION and TIPS:

– If your growth in Godliness were measured by the quality of your Bible intake, what would be the result? The truth is, your growth in Godliness is greatly affected by the quality of your Bible intake. John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth.”

– A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it. DL Moody

– Make time for scripture intake. It takes about 72 hours to read the whole Bible. The average American watches that much television in less than 2 weeks. Sadly, most CHRISTIANS don’t read through whole bible in their lifetime. This is PRIMARILY an issue of discipline & motivation. If you cant always read, listen to it. If you spend 1 hour in traffic a day, in 72 days (just a little over 2 months), you will have listened through the whole Bible!

What is one thing you can do or change to improve your intake of God’s word?

Many ideas and quotes in this blog were taken from the book “Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney. I have written a book review/recommendation for this book, here is the link: https://russellkorets.com/2013/04/04/book-recommendation-spiritual-disciplines-for-the-christian-life/ 

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