Every follower of Christ would agree that the consistent and intentional reading of Scripture is essential if we are going to grow in our faith and live the life of a disciple of Christ. The issue we face is how to go about doing that in the most effective way.
I am consistently saddened by how many followers of Christ I encounter that either;
A. Spend little to no time in the Word at all on a daily basis.
B. Find spending time in the Word daunting because they have no idea how to go about it.
In this post I will lay out a simple and yet powerful method for the devotional reading of Scripture that will take you deeper into God’s Word than you have perhaps ever ventured before.
1. Choose a book.
This method starts very simply with choosing a book of the Bible to read. I recommend that you choose one of the smaller New Testament books of no more than six chapters. Galatians, Colossians, and James are excellent ones to start with.
This method can be used for larger books of course–Romans for example–but you will need to break the book up into no more than four to six chapter segments.
2. The first reading.
Choose a time and place for your reading. It should permit you to read free from interruption. Take a few moments to pray that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes and heart to receive from God’s Word all that He has for you to receive.
Then read the book (or chapter segment) in its entirety. As you read, use your spiritual journal to write down any questions that occur to you about what you are reading. You will be using those questions in future readings.
When you finish your reading, spend some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word to fruition in your heart and life.
3. The 2nd reading.
The next day, read the entire book or chapter segment again. This time, you are going to read it with a single question in your mind:
What is God revealing about Himself?
As you read, use your spiritual journal to write down everything the book teaches you about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What insights do you gain into God’s character, will, glory, and power? Write them all down and as you do, worship Him.
4. The 3rd reading.
Again, read the entire book. This time you will read with the following question in mind:
What is God revealing about His will for me?
As you read, use your spiritual journal to write down everything God desires for you to do and be. Are there any…
- sins you need to repent of?
- commands you need to obey?
- promises you need to be thankful for?
- prayers you need to offer?
5. Subsequent readings.
In the days that follow, read the book again and each day you read, take one of the questions you wrote down in the first reading and read the book with that question in mind.
I’ve been using this method in reading the book of 1 Timothy in order to prepare my heart and life for the pastorate. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking as I read.
- How should a pastor relate to the people he ministers to?
- What kind of character should a pastor have?
- What is “sound doctrine?”
- What actions and attitudes comprise a pastor’s ministry?
As you read the book a 4th, 5th or even 6th time, more questions may come to mind. Write them down and read the book again looking for answers.
I recommend that you read the same book or chapter segment no less than 10 times before you move on, but you may find that you will read it much more than that depending on the questions you ask.
My brother recently used this method and read 1 John for 30 days straight before he felt he had gained all that God had for him in that book at this point in his journey with Christ.
I would love to hear how it works for you.