What is the Bible?
Christians find that one of the great ways of developing their walk with Jesus (we call that “discipleship”) is the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by some 40 different authors in three languages over a period of more than a thousand years. It contains a wide variety of literary genres (types), yet it has an amazing unity of outlook and purpose. This is because it is a uniquely “God-breathed” (inspired) book (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:21) designed to give the truth about God to people of all ages (Matthew 5:18; Mark 13:31). It is not primarily a history book or a textbook or a handbook of ethics, though it contains elements of all three. It has a single main theme: God’s intervention into our world through Jesus Christ to rescue us from our self-centeredness. In a word, the Bible is about salvation.
Why read it?
See what it claims to do for us. It is a mirror (James 1:22-25) to show us what we are like. It is a sword to be used in temptation (Ephesians 6:17). It is a hammer to break us down (Jeremiah 23:29). It is sweet as honey, nourishing as milk or meat (Ezekiel 3:3; 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14). It can cleanse us, guide us, give us peace and wisdom (Psalm 119:9, 105, 165; Proverbs 4:4-6). No wonder we cannot grow without it (Psalm 119:162; Joshua 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is a prime way of keeping in touch with the Lord (John 15:7).
How to read it?
Get a Bible you can value: a modern translation is probably best. Get some Bible reading notes to help you (e.g., Daily Bread or Daily Notes). Later branch out on character studies, word studies, studies of great themes or of a whole book. But keep it regular. And then apply it to yourself. Look for a promise to claim, a command to obey, new light to rejoice in, a warning to heed, a prayer to use, and/or an example to follow. Ask yourself: (1) What did this mean to the original recipients? and (2) How does it apply to me? Then turn what you have found into prayer and thanksgiving.
Verse to learn
Learn Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and light for my path.”
Bible study section
The Bible passage for study is Acts 8:26-40.
- What was the traveler doing as he rode along? Why did he need help?
- How did Philip help him? What might be the modern equivalent of the help Philip offered?
- What effect did his dawning understanding of God’s truth have on the Ethiopian’s life?
- What effect should a fresh understanding of the Bible have on us as we expose ourselves to it?
- Where does the Holy Spirit come into all this?
Take a verse or a phrase from a verse in Acts 8:26-40 and turn it into a prayer, first for yourself and then for a friend.