"And the Lord shall be King over all the earth ..."
Course #36 - Daily Bible Reading
The Bible is like a deep well of clear water - a well so deep that you can never reach the bottom of it. You will never come to the time when you feel you know it all, and there is no more need to read God's Word.
Look at how people received the Word of God.
How carefully we should read this book!
God is speaking to us in the Bible! It brings us a hope of life through the gospel.
The Bible and Jesus
Jesus, of course, had only the Old Testament. But how well he knew it! In every problem and difficulty, he went straight to the Word of God for an answer. Look at these examples:
Growing in the knowledge of Jesus
Peter tells us to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). We can only get to know Jesus by reading about him, and each of the four gospels tells the story of what Jesus said and did, and how he gave his life for us.
Other books in the New Testament help us to understand about all that Jesus did for us in dying on the cross, and how we should live a new life in Christ.
But it is not possible to understand these things without reading the Old Testament too. The very first verse of the New Testament (Matthew 1:1) speaks about "Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham". We have to go back to the Old Testament to find out who these men were, and why Jesus is called their son.
Jesus read the Old Testament; we must read it too
We need to read every day
The apostle Paul tells us how vital the reading of the Scriptures is to our lives:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable (useful) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16,17)
God provides us with food that our bodies need day by day. Jesus reminded his disciples of this when he said to them:
"Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? " (Matthew 6:26)
In the same way, our new life in Christ will grow if it is fed - and the food it needs is the Word of God.
It would be disastrous if we were to go without food for a week, and then try to make up by eating a whole week's food at once. In the same way, we need to feed our minds with God's Word every day. If we do that, it will build up our understanding of His ways, and we shall grow in grace and knowledge.
Reading the whole of Scripture
Some parts of the Bible, like the Psalms and the gospel stories, are a joy to read. But other parts tell grim stories of wickedness and warfare, and we do not enjoy reading them so much. Other chapters have long lists of people and places, and we may well wonder why they are there. But, as we have read in 2 Timothy 3: 16, all Scripture is profitable. Men and women have many different needs, moods, circumstances and experiences and the Scriptures satisfy them all.
From the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of Revelation, the Bible is the inspired Word of God. If we were to choose for ourselves, we would only read the pleasant chapters. We would never come to understand some of the most important teachings of the Bible: the wickedness that is in man, the great holiness of God and the reverence and obedience He demands from us.
The Bible Companion
Many Christadelphians do their daily readings from a little book called The Bible Companion, which can be sent to you by sending us a letter. This reading plan will take you through the Old Testament once, and the New Testament twice each year.
Christadelphians all over the world read daily from this plan and all are seeking to grow in understanding the Word of God, so you are not alone in your reading.
Useful ideas for Bible reading
How to read
It is a good idea, when you sit down to do your daily Bible reading, to read the day's chapter straight though first, to find out what it is all about. After you have read it, shut your eyes and say to yourself, "What have I just read?" Sometimes you will remember quite clearly; sometimes you will find it difficult. Then you need to read the chapter through again.
Remember - every word of Scripture is important!
Other helps to Bible reading
If your Bible does not have marginal references or maps, or is set out in a different way, it does not matter - you still have the Word of God. However, for those who do have these extra helps in their Bibles, the following notes will help you to use them:
(a) Margin references
Some Bibles have margin references, and these can be a help. You will find a small letter or number by a word: and that letter or number can be found in the margin. Here it will give you a chapter and verse which is connected with what you have just read. If you look it up, it may help you to understand the chapter you are reading.
(b) Chapters and verses
(c) Use your maps
Read your Bible prayerfully
Whenever you sit down to read your Bible, ask God for His help in understanding His Word. There is a verse in Psalm 119 (verse 18) which is a prayer. It says:
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of they law."
We need God's help in understanding, and He is always ready to give it - so do not forget to ask!
Hearing and doing
God will teach us through His Word. But reading it is not enough. James tells us we must be "doers of the Word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22). Jesus speaks of some who called him "Lord, Lord", but they did not do what he said they should. (Matthew 25:31-46.)
Matthew 7:24-29 tells about two men who both built the same kind of house. The man who hears the sayings of Jesus, and does what he says, is like the wise man who built his house on a rock.
Come to the Bible with a humble and open mind
God has said:
"To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isaiah 66:2)
God will teach the man who comes to Him with a lowly mind, ready to learn: He will have nothing to do with the man who thinks he knows it all!
Read the Bible -
Chapters to read: (Psalm 19; Psalm 199:1-40; Mark 8:34-38)
Good verses to memorise: Psalm 119:33,34
"Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea I shall observe it with my whole heart"
If you have questions or comments about this lesson, please feel free to e-mail us with them.