I’ve come to believe that many Christians suffer in their understanding of the Scriptures, and for a couple of reasons. First, many simply do not read their Bibles regularly! A recent study suggests that less than 50% of Evangelical Christians read their Bibles even once a week. Second, and the focus here, is that those who do are often following devotional guides that are thematic, or match a few verses per day to a particular thought.
For many who are reading this, I would like to suggest we take the time to study a book at a time, as a whole. Each book was written by a particular author, during a certain time, to a particular audience, with certain goals in mind. You may wish to begin with one of the Gospels (such as Mark), or Paul’s letters (such as Galatians). Read however much you can handle in a sitting, that allows you time to dig deeply and digest what you’re reading.
If you take this approach, a couple of resources will be essential. We need help in understanding author, audience, key points and circumstances. I would suggest Fee and Stuart’s “How to Read the Bible Book by Book” as an excellent help in framing each book of the Bible.
For digging deeply into some difficult verses, a commentary will be necessary.
Here I’d suggest the NIV Application Commentary:
Or more advanced, the Pillar NT Commentary:
More advanced still, the New International Commentary series.
One of these days, I’m going to try using Facebook live video to study through a biblical book, and see if anyone is interested in following along. In the meantime, happy reading!