Reading the Bible
If you grew up as a Christian in contemporary Nigerian society, then the concept of praying for the downfall of your enemies would not be foreign to you. When something goes wrong in your life, it is common practice to attribute it to the presence of enemies, and so ordinarily you are taught to pray against them. Imagine my surprise when I was reading my Bible one day, and came across Proverbs 24:17 which says “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.” This instruction is supported in the New Testament in Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Thus what I grew up hearing about enemies is contrary to what the Bible says, and this discovery shed light on reasons why I should read my Bible: I need to know God and His word for myself.
When you read your Bible under the guidance of the Holy spirit, God reveals Himself to you, and this helps you foster a personal relationship with Him. God tells you who He is, who you are to Him, and what He expects of you in your daily life. If you want to know how compassionate God is, read the story of the adulterous woman. If you want to know how He works miracles, read the story of the wedding at Cana. If you want to know how God cares for you, read Psalm 23. Additionally, the Bible is alive and extremely relevant to our lives in many ways. It tells us about marriage, hustling, family, friendships, money, talents, God’s promises for us, and much more. The Bible speaks to us in our different moods: whether we’re anxious, happy, angry, grieving or grateful; It always has something to say. Remember that the Bible is open to multiple misinterpretations, and thus is easily misinterpreted. Don’t rely on what people have told you about God or what the Bible says; read His word and find out for yourself.
How to read the Bible? I’ll tell you the ways I know how, but doing more research about this will surely help. Firstly, my parents taught me to always pray before I study God’s word. You can call on the Holy spirit; tell God to speak to you through His word. A short prayer will do; the goal is just to invite God to be present with you so your reading would be fruitful. Secondly, find a method of reading the Bible that works for you. In the past, I’ve done “Bible Series” where I would read a particular book for a period of time. For instance, if I decide to do the “Ephesians Series”, I would read a chapter or 2 everyday until I was done with that book. The good thing about this method is you already know what you’re going to read that day, and you get to know the Bible in-depth because you’re diligently working through entire books. The downside is that it could get monotonous, and you miss out on the spontaneity of reading a different section each day. Another method, which I currently use is the spontaneous method. I ask God to show me whatever He wants to show me for the day, then I open my Bible. This method shows you that the Spirit is truly one. There are times when the pages I randomly open show me exactly what I need to get through the day. Also, the Bible App is great! It always has a “verse of the day”, so I just read that verse, and the entire chapter the verse is taken from. My top tip that you should keep in mind whichever method you decide to use: get a notepad so you can write down Bible verses ! I’ve been writing down Bible verses for almost 3 years now, and trust me they come in handy. Some days, I just flip through my notepad, and it’s beautiful to have useful Bible verses together in one place.
When to read the Bible? I think this should depend on your schedule, and how long you want to read the Bible for. I’ve tried reading it in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night, so I can honestly say that the morning is the best time! Having said that, the important thing is to have a set time in the day when you’re sure you can read it, and be disciplined about it. So for instance, if you know that you may or may not be awake by 7am, that’s a bad time because the day you sleep in, you go the whole day without reading it. I now read mine at a set time in the afternoon, and it’s worked so far. Also, you can read it for as long or as short as you want.
I know this post is longer than usual, but I hope you find it somewhat helpful. I cannot emphasise the importance of reading the Bible; it’s enriched my spiritual growth and I know it will enrich yours too! If you have any questions, please ask xx