Friday, April 29, 2011

10 simple tips can help you get the most out of "the Word"

This article has been written by Joy T. Bennett (some aspects have been edited)

IT'S 66 BOOKS IN ONE. It contains sweeping epics, riveting love stories, great poetry and deep kernels of wisdom. It's a "whodunit" mystery complete with a surprise ending. It has insight into the great questions of life. It discusses slavery and freedom. It is the alpha and the omega. It is the Bible.

However, reading the Bible might seem intimidating at first for the novice. But it's not just for scholars, pastors and preachers. It's for all people of faith. EBONY magazine asked noted pastors and Bible scholars for a primer, "Bible Reading 101," for those who want to strengthen their spiritual walk by reading what has been called "the Good Book."

1. Set aside a regular time and quiet place that is relatively free from distractions to read the Bible. "Read it every single day," says Pastor Marvin L. Winans of Detroit's Perfecting Church. "The most fascinating is that it's almost like you're reading that happened in daily news."

2. There are different versions of the Bible Several pastors recommend the Contemporary English version for beginners.

3. Approach the Bible with prayer and anticipation. "Expect God to speak through God's Word, if you are a believer," says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., senior pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. "If you are a critic and a doubter, your reading of the Bible will be nothing more than an intellectual exercise. You will take nothing to the text and you will get nothing from the text!"

4. Find a Bible friend with whom you can discuss and share your readings.

5. Don't be afraid to underline or highlight passages in the Bible. Keep a pen and notebook, and write down things you discover and questions that arise.

6. Always ask the "W" questions! Ask who, what, when, where and why. "The reader needs to understand who wrote the Book, what the Book is saying, why the Book was written, when the Book was written and where the Book intended to go," Wright says. "The Book of Revelation, for instance, was addressed to Christians under persecution in the 1st and 2nd centuries--Christians under Roman persecution. It was not addressed to the exiles of the Babylonian Diaspora. Those two events are separated by 600 years!"

7. Join an Bible study group. "The Word of God is best understood in the context of a Christian community," says the Rev. Dr. Suzan (Dr. Sujay) Johnson Cook, founder and senior pastor of New York City's Bronx Christian Fellowship Church. "Unite with a church, even if it's only to attend its Bible study group. Many churches welcome new persons into their Bible study," she says.

8. Several pastors suggest that beginning Bible readers start with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because those books tell the story of Jesus Christ in a narrative or story form. These books are found in the New Testament. Elder Cathy W. Moffitt, president and founder of Heartfelt International Ministries in Ft. Worth, Texas, particularly recommends St. John's gospel because, "This particular book offers helpful insight into the life and walk of Jesus Christ."

9. There are also several reference books designed to enhance Bible study. The most common ones are concordances, Bible dictionaries and commentaries, and these references can be found in any bookstore as well as online.

10, Sign up to have daily Bible verses or other inspirational messages sent to your computer, a friend of Kylie's writes Daily or use our "Kick-start your bible reading" eCourse FREE at

No comments:

Post a Comment