Last week, I finished up a 2 month long bible study of Matthew with a group of 5 participants, some of whom had never done a bible study before. Going in, I wasn’t sure who would be attending, but I was eager to explore the Word with anyone. The first night, I tried to gauge what experience each participant had with the Bible, and it was varied. Some had grown up hearing the KJV, and so chose read from that as their bible of choice. One gal went through ½ of the class and then said she struggled getting through her readings, and asked about other translations. I gave her a NKJV, which I received as a gift, and she was grateful, as she felt she understood it better than her previous version. I just encouraged them to use something that worked best for them, and to explore other options if they wanted. We had good discussions for an hour each week and I always learned new things in reading, sharing my understanding, and listening to their stories as well. I encouraged them to continue reading more, and wish I could keep going with them as well. What was your first bible study, and how has your interest in the Bible changed since then?
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4
This past week, I was walking through a mall and noticed that there was a bible reading marathon going on. I saw 3 different people reading at different tables out in the open and wondered, what is the purpose, other than to raise awareness? But that was it. If I had not been in the Bible in a while, I might be encouraged to do so, by seeing this. Or I could participate, as there is often something more motivating about being a part of a group of people doing this than just sitting solo and reading my bible in public. When was the last time you saw someone sitting and reading a bible in a public place? I don’t usually see anyone reading at all in a public place anymore, as everyone is too busy going somewhere. One of the three readers was a young friend close to 20, who I waved to while towing 3 kids along with me. Shortly afterward, he stopped by where we were standing, and I chatted with him and encouraged him in his reading, both at the event and in private. It was a pleasant surprise to see this!
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Reading always brings you closer to God when you listen. In my experience, the only time I’ve spent in the word that hasn’t been very fruitful was when I was reading just to try to read through it so I could say I did. In other words, my motive was more to get through it, than to grow through it. I wasn’t taking in much of what I read through some Old Testament sections, as I was just trying to get through part to finish the bible in a year. I’ve read some Old Testament scripture that on the surface seems boring, but when gone through with an open spirit, asking God what He has for me in those passages, good things result. I know some friends, who just have a difficult time when reading, and they prefer to listen to the scripture read to them out loud, and that is more helpful. I’ve done this at times, like when driving, and often pick up new things in this way also. There are several apps, websites, and other audio resources where you can listen for free. There are countless sources for the Word for most who have access to the internet, or who have a smartphone. Yet there are some countries, like China and North Korea, where access is still restricted, and print bibles are not easy to get. I have a missionary friend who is currently working to translate the Bible into several Roma (Gypsy) dialects in Eastern Europe, as one does not exist in their native tongue. What can you do within your sphere of influence to promote people getting into the Word? May you find joy and grow every time you engage with God and His Word!
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. Isaiah 55:11
Yours in Christ,