4 Keys To Read, Study & Apply The Bible That Will Transformation Your Life!
I absolutely love reading the Bible! If you’re reading this, then you might feel the same way, or maybe you secretly don’t enjoy reading the Bible but you feel guilty about that and want to figure out how to love reading it and how to really be able to understand and apply God’s word?!
Psalm 119:103 (NIV)
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
In this quick article I’m hoping to help calm your fears and unknowns around reading the Bible. Because if you can find your way into a daily habit of engaging with the Bible and applying it to your life, just like I’ve discovered, then I’m confident that you’ll find the fulfilment, peace and transformation!
I grew up in a home where love for God’s word was modeled by my father and mother, and even though I loved the Bible, I was also inconsistent with my reading until I figured out a specific couple strategies that really helped me unlock a consistent Bible reading game plan, which I’m going to share with you. I’m so passionate now about helping people really know and follow God’s word that I included a whole chapter on The Bible in my book called, “Following Jesus” which focuses on the 7 essentials to following Jesus.
In this article, I’m not going to specifically take the time to prove to you why the Bible is the true and the authoritative Word of God, but here are two great books by one of my heroes, Lee Strobel, that I’d highly recommend that you check out if you’re wanting to learn more: The Case For Christ, & The Case For Christianity- Answer Book.
So, let’s get into some simple and practical ways that you can begin to read the Bible and see your life completely and fully transformed into all that Jesus intended it when He said in John 10:10 that he came to give us life to the full!
John 10:10 (NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
WHY WE MUST READ OUR BIBLE!
I’m not saying you MUST read your Bible because I’m going to introduce some religious rule, but I’m saying that you MUST READ YOUR BIBLE, because of how powerful and transformational it is.
There’s so much that could be said about the Bible and why I encourage you to fully get into it, but I’ll just focus on this, that the Bible is the way I connect with God, it’s my road map for a fulfilled life, and it’s authority by which I push back the work of the enemy and establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth!
The Bible is My Direct Link to God!
Some often ask or make a statement like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we just had a direct link to hear from God?” or wouldn’t it be nice if God could talk to us every day? Well, the truth is that is exactly what the Bible is; it’s HIS WORDS TO YOU. Every time you open up the Bible, God is speaking to you! This is the first and most important reason that I read the Bible, simply to hear from my creator and father! There’s something powerful that happens in a child’s life when they hear from their father and it’s the same way when we hear from our heavenly father through the Bible. It infuses us with life and strength!
The Bible holds the Authority & Power of God!
We know that God is powerful, but the Bible shows us that His Words is infused with and is a carrier of the power of God. So, when we use the Word of God and when we speak out the Words of God, they carry power and authority that shift and impact the world around us!
Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
4 Keys To Read, Study & Apply The Bible For Transformation!
1. Prepare Your Heart
How we approach the Bible really changes what we receive from God’s word. Approach your reading of God’s word with anticipation of the truth and life that God wants to bring to you. My dad (George) taught me to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me and reveal the word of God to me as I read it.
2. Read To Respond
The transformation is in the application. We don’t want to just read the Bible to check off a box, because we don’t see any changes in our lives. The power of God’s word begins to really change and transform us once begin to listen and follow what God is saying.
James 1:22-25 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
3. Stay Consistent
My goal, and I encourage you to do the same, is to read the Bible every day. The more time in the word the better. Now, is reading the Bible once a year good? or once a month? Yes, of course, but our life needs way more than that to stay healthy and thrive. Imagine only eating once a year or once a month? Your physical body would be starving and most likely dying. In same way, if you want to get stronger spiritually, you want to get a daily intake of God’s word!
4. Use a Reading Plan
There are many different ways to help stay in the Bible daily and for me, one of the big ways was is using a daily Bible reading plan. I created a Following Jesus One Year Bible reading plan on YouVersion Bible App, which I use. You can even read it with a friend to help with accountability. The reading plans help me stay consistent and doing the one year plan helps me make sure that I get to read the whole Bible each year. So I get the full force of the truth and power that God has available to me through His Word.
My Favorite Bible Study Strategy That Everyone Can Use!
Years ago when my friend Chad Veach and I were both youth pastors in cities near each other in the Northwest, he introduced me to my favorite Bible reading strategy that I also included into the Following Jesus book, called, S.O.A.P. It’s a way to study the Bible. It will be a huge help for you and it’s an acronym that stands for, Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Let me explain how you use it.
What you’ll need: Bible (or Bible App), a note pad of some kind and a pen and I encourage the one year following Jesus Bible reading plan.
Begin your Bible reading time by selecting the reading plan for that day or just any portion of scripture from the Bible. Then use the steps below to study the Bible.
Scripture: (Focus one one verse)
Whether you’re reading one verse that day or you’re reading 4 chapters from the Bible, your goal is to focus in on the one verse from your reading that sticks out to you. Once you find that, write out that verse on the top of your page or in your digital notes.
Observation: (What are you seeing, feeling and observing that’s happening in this verse)
What are the people doing, what is God doing. What seems to be the focus of the verse?
Application: (What will you do now?)
With this observation that you have, what are you going to now do with that? How are you going to live today in response to what you just read? What decisions or changes do you need to make to follow what the Bible is saying?
Prayer: (Confess and declare)
Based on what you just read and the decisions you’re making to follow what God is saying to you, take a moment to pray and declare and ask for God to empower you to obey God’s word. Also, there may be something you need to confess to God now that you’ve just read that verse. And there may be a new passionate declaration of faith now that you’ve just read that! Ask for the Holy Spirit’s power to help you!
That’s it! Here’s what I promise you, if you apply this strategy to your Bible reading, you’ll begin to see your world shift in no time because of all of the application of God’s Word into your life. Imagine if you read the Bible this way and applied it to your life once a week. That’s 52 little tweaks and upgrades to your life, and imagine if you did that daily! That would be 365 small but powerful decisions! It’s no wonder that our lives can so rapidly change and grow the more we read and follow God’s will; which is found in His Word!
I’m praying this helps you fall in love with God and His Word! And as you study and apply God’s word that your life is fully transformed! For more help and encouragement around your faith, download the Following Jesus App in Apple and get copy of the Following Jesus book.
Also, I’d love to hear from you on this study strategy! Comment below your questions or the your favorite ways to read the Bible!