How can we read the Bible and get more enjoyment and wisdom out of it?
With Application for You
When I read the Bible, the Bible reads me. When I go through the Bible, the Bible goes through me. The Word of God cuts me to the core but it cuts in order to heal and that is what the Bible is for, first and foremost. It is to take for the intake and the upkeep of the soul. Just like Ezekiel took of the scroll and ate it, we also must feed on the Word of God for it is the Bread of Life which is Jesus Himself. You cannot separate the Word of God from the God of the Word for they are one and the same. God told Ezekiel “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (Ezk 3:3). The same thing happened to John in his vision where he “went to angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour” (Rev 10:9-10). The Word of God sometimes comforts the afflicted but it also afflicts the comfortable and it may be bitter times because it convicts us but it also is sweet as honey and is does us much good. Read the Bible as a letter written directly to you because it is. Jesus said that “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35) and in fact, He was the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:51).
The Wisdom Literature
I don’t believe it is coincidence that there are thirty one chapters in Proverbs. I have a friend that reads one at least chapter every day but he also reads at least two of the psalms daily because they are also part of the wisdom literature and the very wisdom of God. If you get into the wisdom literature, the wisdom literature will also get into you. These books include the Book of Proverbs, the Book of Psalms, the Book of James, the Book of Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, the Book of Job and a few others. The fear of the Lord is the very beginning of wisdom but it is more than just fearing God, which is a deep, holy, reverence and respect for God and not a fear of being destroyed. Psalm 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” The point being, it is good to get wisdom but a good understanding only comes from “those who practice it.” In other words, we can read a book on how to play baseball but until we begin practicing it, we’ll not gain an understanding of how to play the game. Having the knowledge of something is good but having the wisdom on how to practice or act on that knowledge is altogether different. Solomon wrote “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth” (Prov 4:5). Here Solomon equates wisdom with not turning away from the words of God. The source of all true wisdom is not in human thinking, empty philosophies or rational logic but from the Word of God.
Read it Chronologically
I have a routine every morning. I read some out of the Old Testament and some out of the New Testament and I read it in the order in which it was written. I have a Chronological Bible that places the books of the Bible in the same time sequence in which they were written. In this way, I get to read the story flow, see the context, and understand the movement of the plan of God as it is revealed chapter by chapter and book by book. For me, it is better than any novel because I know it’s factual with real events, places, and people in times when and where they occurred. It helps the Bible come alive for me because it is living and active and cuts down into the inner most recesses of the human mind and soul (Heb 4:12). The Word of God is as alive as God Himself is and it is here to stay as Jesus said “I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt 5:18). Peter writes that the “the word of the Lord remains forever” (1st Pet 1:25). The psalmist declares “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (119:89). Indeed “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
These are three of the main things to me that allow me to get enjoyment out of it and to glean wisdom from it and I wrote more comprehensively on these three things because they seem to make the Bible impart wisdom to me and I get more enjoyment out of it in the ways that I described. I hope this helps you too because sin will keep you out of the Bible but the Bible will keep you out of sin or at least help you to do so for it is the very power of God (Rom 1:16) and accomplishes just what God designed it to do (Isaiah 55:11) so I urge you to take full advantage of it.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.