On Bible Reading

by Jerry Senn

While reading our Bibles daily, we can very easily fall into the “rut” of letting our minds focus on something else, or we may wait until something familiar in the reading “jumps out” at us. Or, it may be an interesting “nugget” that hits our curious button. Such Bible reading is somewhat helpful, but only minimally so.

For instance, if we read a letter the inspired apostle Paul wrote to one of the first century churches, we should recognize it as having been addressed to a specific church or person who needed some specific help or encouragement. So, if we have no idea about his purpose in writing, we may not connect with what he is trying to say. If so, we won’t get much of the meaning, and more troubling still, we may even misunderstand the meaning and inadvertently misuse or apply it wrongly.

Perhaps we should read Paul’s epistles as we read letters from friends or loved ones. Letters from friends or loved ones are usually read differently. First, we have knowledge of them, so we read every word, sentence and paragraph and page to drain all the meaning possible. Then we re-read it several times. Then we think about it for awhile, and go back and read it again for clarification.

It is helpful to remember, as we read God’s Word, that it is a communication from our heavenly Father to believers who dealt with issues much like the ones we face today. So, “thinking” is involved . . . deep reflection . . . repetitive pondering for practical ways to apply truth to our lives. Reading is fine. But thinking is better!!

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
— Hebrews 4:12