5 Signs of a
Loves the Word
1. Read it
Reading the Bible on a daily basis is a wonderful habit to take up. It will give you a daily time to reflect on what God wants you to know about life. Although LifeWay Research reports that only 19 percent of Christians read their bible regularly, you can choose to rise above that statistic. Don't settle for mediocre, because when you seek after God with your whole heart, the Bible promises that He will be found. However, it takes a deliberate effort. Here are a few tips to get started.
A. Find a time that works for you
The best way to make it a habit is to set aside a time to do it every day. Many people find it works best for them in the mornings. Find a quiet place and put your Bible there. In the morning go to that place and read and meditate. For some it is at work during lunch. They have a Bible with them and read some scripture. Many people like to read before going to bed. The best thing is to find a time of the day that can be consistent and block out some time. Don’t think you have to read large chunks at a time. Better to start with a chapter a day and really read it and understand what it says. If the chapter is too large, take a pen and put a dot where you left off. The next day continue from the dot. It’s not a contest on how much you can read. It is reading in order to hear from God. A little bit everyday can go a long way to building a lasting habit.
B. Get a translation that you understand
There are many translations that you can choose from. Some are in a older form of English, others use more current language. I personally recommend the New Living Translation. It is accurate and easy to understand. There are many other fine choices. The point is to get one that you don’t have to labor to get through. You want to read it for inspiration and not have to keep wondering what it is saying. As you get more familiar with the Bible you may want to get a study Bible that will help you learn some of the historical and geographical background of the scriptures. For now, just read the scriptures and let God speak to your heart.
C. Get off to a good start
So many people start in Genesis or in the Book of Matthew. Why? Because they are the first books in the both the Old and New Testament. However, in both books there are a lot of Jewish history and genealogy. For someone not accustomed to reading the Bible this can be a rough start. Instead I think you should start with some parts of the Bible that will give you a grasp of what is going on and at the same time inspire you. I would recommend that you start with Psalms in the Old Testament and the Gospel of John and Ephesians (followed by Philippians and Colossians) in the New Testament. This will get you off to a great start.
2. Meditate on it
The Psalmist was right when he wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalms 119:11. Meditating on scripture is a wonderful way to hear from God and to receive personal nuances that apply to your life. There are different ways to do this. No matter how you do it I feel it is important to pray first and ask God to speak to your heart. It is His word and He will make it real to you.
I like to read my Bible with a pen in hand and a journal next to me. As I read something that speaks to my heart, I underline it. Perhaps an * or “Yes” in the margin. If it really strikes me and gives me an epiphany or causes me to think of something I need to do, I write it down.
Another way to meditate is to read it out loud and repeat slowly those parts that are speaking to you. Let it sink it, and then pray and talk to God about it. Commune with Him.
Some people like to read devotions. I think this is great. I write one (Moment In The Word, on Amazon) and many people share how it has helped them. But as good as devotionals are, there is nothing better than reading the Bible and letting God speak to you through it.
3. Apply it
One of the saddest things about reading the Bible is that we can read it and yet not do what it says. The Bible wasn’t meant to be read like a novel or history book. It is more like an instructional manual with illustrative stories and historical background. In the book of James, James admonishes believers to, “Be doers of the word, not just hearers” (James 1:22). Jesus Himself said, "Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice." (Luke 11:28)
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). Notice what Paul is saying. He is saying that the proper application of God’s word, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, teaches us what is right. It also shows us when we are doing wrong.
But it doesn’t stay there. It corrects us, or shows us how to do the right thing, and then teaches us how to continue to live for Him. I heard it said this way. The Bible shows us the road we should go down, warns us when we get off the road, shows us how to get back on the right road and then continues to help us stay on the road. This is what applying the scriptures will do. Don’t just read the Bible, make a deliberate effort to live it.
Love is an action word. If you are going to love the Bible, then you need to read it, meditate on it and apply it to your life.
One of the beautiful aspects of Christianity is that we are not left alone with only our imagination or superstition to guide us. God has provided a wonderful resource for us to read and follow. It is the Bible. If we are going to be healthy Christians thriving in a healthy church, then we must study God’s word. These three steps will help you love the Bible, God’s holy word.