Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Key Questions to Help You Read the Bible


The Big Idea: Use 5 questions to guide you as you read the Bible.

Reading the Bible shouldn't be hard!

Have you ever opened the Bible because you felt you should, but you weren't sure what you were reading or how to study it? Don't you sometimes wish you had a private tutor or that Siri knew more about theology?

The Bible is the living Word of God with words of wisdom to grapple with for our everyday lives. It CAN be relevant when you open yourself to the Holy Spirit's impression on your soul. The Holy Spirit was key, breathing every thought to the human authors what to say, which they then wrote down in their own words.

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)

First ask God, the Holy Spirit, to speak to you as you read, opening up your mind and heart to understand. Expect Him to do this.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45 (NLT)

A couple key questions can get you on the road to relevancy and understanding.

1. Who wrote this book and to whom did they write?

Often the author's name, audience and a brief explanation is found in the first 1-2 verses of the book in the first chapter. Or you can find an introduction from a study Bible. You Version has an online introduction for each book when you use the New International Version.


2. What is being said about God in these verses?

Do you see something about God's character? Does He reveal more of Himself? Is there a promise He makes to His people? A declaration of truth?


3. What is observed about human nature in this passage?

The Bible is loaded with real people, not heroes that do everything right. People mess up pretty badly in the Bible. You learn a lot reading it about human nature, sin, temptation, frailties and discouragement, mistakes and family squabbles. God still seems to take great interest in us and wants to know us and intervene in our lives for His glorious purposes.


4. Is there a key word or phrases important to this passage?

Often if a word or phrases is repeated over and over, it is for a purpose. The author wants to grab the attention of the audience and explain what is important. What might this word or phrase be about? What does this word mean to you?


5. What is God saying to me?

It's OK if something profound doesn't jump out at you, but it is a good question to ask. What resonates with you from this reading? What surprises you? What brings you joy?


May you find great satisfaction reading the Bible. If you are not sure where to begin reading, check out this blog I posted a few weeks ago. May you discover so much you can't contain your pleasure!


Up Next: Trust the Bible Because of these Dead Guys

Previous Post: Have Problems with the Bible?



1. Is there a question here you never thought of before? How might this question be useful to you in your observation of the Bible?

2. Could you try this with a verse or two as sample, or test? Check out this verse. Remember to pray first for guidance.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Have Problems with the Bible?

The big idea: A response to reasons people give to disregard the Bible.

Why should I read the Bible?

Many find reading the Bible tough. People unfamiliar with it find it challenging for various reasons. Some believers also find a lack desire to read it or questions of its reliability. Recognize any of these?

  • Isn't it full of errors?
  • It's so old! It doesn't seem relevant today
  • I'm not interested in religion
  • It's boring
  • It's mysterious
  • I'm too busy

Let's take a look at these.

1. Isn't it full of errors?

Actually the Bible is very accurate. Doubt of accuracy stems from certain scholars who assume God is not real. They explain its inaccuracy due to its age, wide variety of authors/eras explaining it’s supposed in accuracy at great length. In reality the Bible which was written and recopied had so many checks and balances, the more recently discovered copies (The Dead Sea Scrolls) are remarkably accurate. Recent archeological finds and historical revelations prove more and more accuracy. Check out Ken Boa's helpful article. 

2. It's so old! It doesn't seem relevant today.

The Bible written hundreds of centuries ago to an ancient audience and setting was unlike our world. Scholars find it valuable for historical records and culture. Despite the ancient setting, themes, life lessons, principles and revelation about God, His desire to rescue us and be our friend crosses the ages. It helps to study cultural written periods to understand the intended message, but it is not limited by that. You may find one of my previous blogs helpful on 5 Steps to finding Biblical Timeless Truths.  Read the Bible seeking what you can learn about God and man.

3. I'm not interested in religion.

The book has been a best seller for centuries for both its stories and guidelines for life. Many historical figures many people already know such as David and Bathsheba. The central figure, Jesus, has been hailed by many world leaders and writers as the most influential person ever to walk the earth. You owe it to yourself to explore what the hype is about. The story contained therein is about more than religion.

4. It's boring.

There have been so many movies made about Biblical stories. There is a lot of action in many of the narrative accounts. If you read a very old version of the Bible, it may be clumsy reading for your mind. Try a more modern translation such as the New Living Translation.

5. It's mysterious.

Yes it is. The Bible is brilliant because of simplicity that children can understand, and complexities that challenge Christians who can discover a multitude of applications to a single verse. I have loved a verse from childhood, bringing truth and comfort to me in a fresh new way during various stages of my life. That is the magnificence of the Holy Spirit. We don't understand every detail, but then, we are not God. The first step of comprehension is trust.

The wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 1 Corinthians 2:7

6. I'm too busy.

In the complex era in which we live, life pulls us many directions. Even so, the Bible is more accessible to us now than in any previous era. One can listen to an audio Bible online, or watch a video with word for word narration of the Bible. One can read it in most any language or translation online. Reading one verse a day is how I got started. If you cannot do that, the issue is clearly that you choose not to.

 Up Next: Key Questions to help you Read the Bible

Previous Post: Where do I start?



1. What do you think of the Bible? What has shaped your understanding or lack of interest in it?

2. On a scale of 1-10 how much do you have interest in the Bible? What one thought do you think is a good point that might nudge you toward giving it more honor?


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Where Do I Start?


The Big Idea: Tips for someone new to reading the Bible who wonders where to start.


Like a Mini-Library

Considering reading the Bible? It is not an epic novel. It's more like a mini-library or a magazine.  Some pick it up to read it cover to cover and get bogged down in the book of Leviticus. That reads like a legal document! It's good background material but difficult reading for the novice.

The Bible has 66 books (Old Testament - 39 and New Testament - 27). Written over a thousand year span with varied themes and literary styles. The Old Testament is the back story to the New Testament. The New Testament explains how the Old Testament is fulfilled. Each is important to the other.


Start Here

1. The Gospel of John. It tells about the life of Jesus and His mission to mankind.

2. Genesis. The first book of the Bible is about the first man and woman, first sin, first murder, and so on. It is background for God and His love for people.

3. Ephesians. This writing from the Apostle Paul gives insight for how to live as God's people.

4. Proverbs. Practical advice for everyday life.

The four recommended books expose you to the Old and New Testament. Both are important. The New Testament may be more practical for a beginner. Reading one chapter a day in these four books would take just over 3 months (108 total chapters). 


Tips to Begin

1. Choose an easy-to-read Bible version. Electronic Bibles give options. The New Living Translation (NLT) is recommended. Whatever hard copy Bible you have works. All of the Bible is valuable. The King James version reads like people talked 200+ years ago. It's beautiful but some words are difficult to understand. Find one you love.

2. Find a consistent time to read each day. Choose a time when you can focus. That might be first thing in the morning, at a lunch break or night time after the kids are tucked in.

3. Find a comfortable place that is not distracting. Have a pen to jot down or underline what touches your heart or raises questions.

4. Decide where to start reading. Will you read one chapter a day? One paragraph? One or two verses? Or just read till something touches the need of your heart?  You can also listen to an audio Bible.

5. Ask a friend to join you. You can read the same passages separately. Then talk about your experience together.

6. Pray first and pray last. Before beginning, ask God to guide you and give you understanding. When done, pray, asking God to help you to live by His Word and for His strength.

May this give you courage to dig in!

 Up Next: Have Problems With the Bible?

Previous Post: Why Read the Bible?



1. Are these suggestions helpful or overwhelming? Why? If overwhelming could you take baby steps and start somewhere?

2. Which of the four books to read excites you most?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Why read the Bible?


The Big Idea: No matter what your belief, you should read the Bible. 

Why read the Bible? The skeptic needs a different reason than a Christian who has followed God for decades. No matter what, it is a worthwhile read. Here's why.

To the Skeptic

1. Best Seller: The Bible has been a non-fiction best seller for centuries. It was the first book printed in 1452 on the Guttenberg Press.

2. Influential: The Bible has influenced and inspired world leaders and many top literary minds in world history.

3. Moral Compass: The Bible gives moral and ethical guidance. It is basic. It is profound. It grounds us on what we know in our gut to be right.

4. Big Picture: The Bible gives big picture perspective. It introduces the higher power. It provides comfort and hope.


If You’re Just Beginning

The Bible is like a library with various literary styles like poetry/wisdom, stories, history, law, and apocalyptic writings. Some of the Bible is not exciting or inspirational. But it has purpose just like the tiny type in contracts. Be aware of this when you read it. Next week will be about how to begin reading.

1. The Encyclopedia. The Bible contains information on many different subjects. It contains history, Old Testament laws, and compendiums about wisdom.

2. The Cookbook. Some parts of the Bible read like a cookbook. Proverbs has recipes for young man to keep pure, and about business women contributing in both home and community. The New Testament has guidelines for marriage,etc.

3. The Storybook. The Bible has vivid stories of people who are not perfect. Some turned to God and it changed their life. Bible characters are not superheroes or villains. Ordinary people encountered God and made their choices.

4. The Spiritual Guide. The Bible is a spiritual book for the soul. It teaches how to get along with God and man. Our bad choices effect us and it shows how to choose a better way to live.


What Christians Believe

1. God's Word: We believe the Bible is the very word of God. The Holy Spirit has breathed the words through those who wrote the words down in different eras and places. It is surprisingly in sync as a unit.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16

2. Active: The Bible is living and active. Though it was penned long ago, it is dynamic, not static, and continues to be relevant no matter what the culture or era.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

3. Trustworthy: You can trust God's word to be true. God's promises throughout the Bible can be trusted as we rely on Him.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:1

4. Life Changing: God's Word teaches us how to be right with God. God wants to rescue us from the pit. Words like: rescue, save, restore, redeem, fulfill are about God's ability to change us from darkness to light when we trust Him.

Stand by me and set me free. Give me life again because of Your Word. Psalm 119:154 (TLV)

 I close with a quote from an Athiest Book Club discussion from Goodreads.

I happen to be an Athiest who has read the Bible from cover to cover more than once. Some may ask why I, a non-believer, would want to read the entire Bible. They should be asking why so many believers do not.


Open the Bible and explore it! 

Next week the topic will be on where to start reading.

Up Next: Where do I Start?
Previous Post: Watch the Bible


1. Have you read much in the Bible? If not, why not? OR if you read the Bible now, what was your excuse before you actually began.

2. Do you agree or disagree with my reasons for reading the Bible?

3. Are you willing to read something, even one verse, in the Bible each day this week? Try finding verses in the Psalms.