Studying the Bible
At times when I’m reading Scriptures, the words jump off the pages and become almost three dimensional. I’ve always assumed that was the Holy Spirit quickening me to those verses to be applicable to my life. Is that a safe thing to do?
It’s safe if you don’t ignore the other Scriptures that aren’t popping out of
your Bible. So, no, I don’t think that there’s a problem with that.
I think that the safest thing to do is do what Paul the apostle did and that is
in Ephesians chapter 1, “Pray that God would open your eyes, He would give you
the spirit of wisdom and revelation and the eyes of your heart would be
enlightened to know the hope of your calling.” Ephesians 1:17, 18, 19. Pray
Studying the Bible
When it comes down to new Christians and when it comes down to reading the Bible, is it good to start with the New Testament and then go to the Old Testament or which way can you go about reading the Bible?
I think that for most of us, when we get saved, we should start reading the
book of John. When a person becomes a Christian or decides they really want to
start serving God and understanding the Bible, they should start in the book of
John. It’s the life of Jesus, it’s simple and easy to understand and it’s
powerful (of course, the entire Bible is powerful). But I think that it has a
real significant impact for people that are just starting out reading the Bible.
So I would start in the book of John in the New Testament.
Now, if you want to understand the Bible even better, I want to encourage you to
order our tape series called “How to Read and understand the Bible” where we go
through specifically how to truly read it and how to truly understand it because
it can be complicated sometimes. Like one of the people said to Phillip, “How
can I understand it if nobody shows me or nobody teaches me?” If you are
interested in truly understanding and digging deeper, I encourage you to order
that tape series.
Studying the Bible
I’m not religious, but I’ve felt like I need to get to that. My family is religious. I find that if I go to church or if I try to read the Bible, I get confused easily, so I’m just wondering if there’s any literature that will help me understand the whole religion. I’m Catholic, so I want to stick with that, but I want something that’s going to help me to understand it a little bit more.
You are not alone. There are many people that want to understand the Bible,
they want to understand Christianity. Let me give you a synopsis and then I’ll
give you some referrals as well.
The religion of the Bible, the Christianity of the Bible, is all about having a
relationship with a Father. God wants to be your Father and He wants you to be
His daughter. That is what the Bible is all about. It’s all about God wanting a
family and being in a relationship that is not “We lowly beings down here on
earth and God, this heavenly being up in heaven and never the ‘twain shall
meet.” It’s not like that. It is that God is a Father and He wants to know you
as His daughter and have an intimate relationship with you that is stronger than
any relationship that you have with anybody.
Oftentimes we get an idea, we get our view of God from the relationships that we
have had with our parents. And how wrong that is because in many cases, many of
us didn’t have good parents. And our parents might have meant good, but they
didn’t know how to give good. They didn’t know how to treat us right or
discipline us right or love us properly. And so, we have unhealthy,
dysfunctional upbringings and therefore, we have an unhealthy, dysfunctional
relationship with God and God truly wants to be a loving Father to you and He
wants you to be a daughter to Him.
The greatest story in the Bible, in my opinion, is the story of the Prodigal Son
who left his father’s house, spent all of his money and lived as a sinner. And
then, when he ran out of all money and he ran out of all hope, then he came to
his senses and said, “I will return to my father’s house and perhaps my father
will allow me to even be a servant in his house.” And as he came back to his
father’s house, his father saw him from afar off and came running to his son and
embraced his son with arms open wide and kissed his son and hugged his son and
welcomed his son and said, “I’m going to make a feast for you, a banquet for you
and our friends and we’re going to celebrate your return.”
And that is the picture of what Christianity is all about. It’s about you coming
to your Father and Him with his arms open wide welcoming you back and receiving
you back into His arms. That’s what Christianity is all about. That’s what the
Bible is all about.
And when I give you the next things that I’m going to encourage you to do, you
need to keep in mind what I just said more than anything else because that is
the filter from which you should read the Bible and the filter from which you
should listen when somebody’s preaching or teaching in a church. Everything
should be filtered through this Christianity that is a relationship between God
as my Father and me as His daughter.
Then here’s what the next step is. We did a series called “How to Read and
Understand the Bible.” And if you go to the Online Bookstore section of our
website at changinglives.org or call the prayer line at 847-645-9700, and you
can request that tape series and it really will give you the right perspective
on how to truly figure this out and how to understand this Christian life.
Studying the Bible
I was addicted to alcohol and also to drugs at one time and I’ve overcome that and I recently reattended church. I’ve tried to read the Bible and it becomes overwhelming. I don’t know where to start and I just was wondering if you could help me with maybe starting out what I should do and what steps I should take.
The first thing that I would encourage you to do is start reading the book of
the gospel of John. That’s the best place to start in the Bible. And then, just
keep reading through the NT. But start in John and take your time.
But that’s not the only thing that I’ll tell you to do. The other thing that I
encourage you to do is, we have a little booklet called “The Power of a New
Life” and it takes you step-by-step on how to establish the foundations of your
Christian life so that you can be strong and that you can make sure that you
have a firm foundation.