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6 Heart Healthy Ways to Read the Bible

13060402_lHave you ever taken something utterly for granted? You did not fully comprehend its worth until it was too late. Then the reality of your loss set in and threatened to swallow you whole. Enter Nehemiah.

Nehemiah understood the power of God’s word and how immeasurable the loss of its influence had been for the people of God. The temple had been rebuilt but the public reading and obedience to God’s Word had been lost. Nehemiah reinstates the public reading of God’s Word by building a great podium for Ezra the scribe to read from and gathers the people to hear its truths and experience its power. As Ezra read, the people stood in ovation from “early morning until midday”, savoring each and every word. Can you imagine? Not a dry eye in the house. Hearts were pumping in exhilaration. Nothing else mattered. Fields were likely left uncultivated. Cows unmilked. The priority had been decided. There was profound healing and brokenness as the people responded in obedience – a true revival of hearts being turned back to the Source.

The power and renown of God’s written Word endures to this day. It remains the best-selling Book of all time. Lives have been sacrificed proclaiming its truths and hearts have been changed exploring its depths.

Yet, we yawn.

We forsake the one true eternal Book, which holds the power for life transformation. We allow our Bibles to gather dust. We would rather go to the gym or watch TV. If we sense spiritual hunger, we often turn to books and devotionals that are beneficial, yet unworthy substitutes for the Word itself. We lean in to other people’s insights to get a little taste of the eternal, yet refuse to do the heavy lifting that comes with actually studying THE Book.

Lives have been sacrificed proclaiming its truths and hearts have been changed exploring its depths. Yet, we yawn.

The Bible holds power for overcoming the temptations of this world, for growing in wisdom and for having an intimate connection with the Author. Nothing else compares. If we believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, we feel the weight of its self-proclamation that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Matthew Henry makes a strong statement regarding this in his commentary on Hebrews 4:12: “Let us labor, and quicken each other to be diligent in duty. The Holy Scriptures are the Word of God. When God sets it home by his Spirit, it convinces powerfully, converts powerfully, and comforts powerfully. It makes a soul that has long been proud, to be humble; and a perverse spirit, to be meek and obedient. Sinful habits, that have become natural to the soul, and rooted deeply in it, are separated and cut off by this sword. It will discover to men their thoughts and purposes, the vileness of many, the bad principles they are moved by, the sinful ends they act to. The Word will show the sinner all that is in his heart. Let us hold fast the doctrines of Christian faith in our heads, its enlivening principles in our hearts, the open profession of it in our lips, and be subject to it in our lives.”

There is a true story of a man who lost his eyesight after an engine exploded in his face. He heard of another blind man who had learned to read braille with his lips so he set out to do the same. To his great disappointment, he soon realized that his lips lacked enough nerves to sense the braille … then his tongue accidentally brushed the dots. He read the entire Bible using his tongue. This is a man who understands the vitality of God’s written Word. As those who have placed our faith in Christ, we are commanded not to neglect the Bible. “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

We are in danger of willingly bypassing the Source and therefore disconnecting from the power we have received through the living and active Word of God.

We know a surgeon who says that he can often determine a person’s diet and health practices the moment he cuts into a patient’s flesh. He quips that he finds “Cheetos meat” in less-than-healthy individuals. The same

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is true for our souls. What are we feeding our souls and from what source are we attaining the food for our daily sustenance? If our spiritual growth were measured by the quality of your Bible intake, what would be the result? We are at risk. We are in danger of willingly bypassing the Source and therefore disconnecting from the power we have received through the living and active Word of God.

Do not be afraid to approach the word of God for yourself. If you have put your faith in Christ, you have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to comprehend and rightly divide God’s word. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15

So, in the spirit of gaining desperation for our Bibles, here are a few practical suggestions for your journey:

1. Choose a book and apply the S.O.A.P. technique using a journal.

S – scripture. Write out the reference

O – observations. Write out important points

A – application. How can you apply this scripture?

P – prayer. Write out a prayer about the scripture.

2. Check out the Bible reading plan by the Gospel Coalition.

3. Memorize Scripture

There are few more powerful tools in your spiritual arsenal that having the word with you at all times, simmering in your heart. The more you memorize the easier it becomes. A few verses to start with are Proverbs 3:5-6, John 14:6, 1 John 1:9, Proverbs 31.

4. Check out shereadstruth.com. An online community focusing on reading and applying God’s word together.

5. To get a basic overview of the Bible, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders is a great tool.

6. Initiate with a spouse, friend or small group and explore the Word together. You will find that it can be a powerful way to make deep, healthy connections.

Grow in your commitment to dig in to the Word for yourself as a discipline, and you will notice your appetite for the word increasing and your knowledge growing. You will experience wisdom flowing through your heart and out of your mouth. You will have a profound peace that you previously did not possess.Let your heart and soul be inspired (not guilted) to commit or recommit to a steady diet of God’s Word and you will find a peace that transcends understanding.

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to join one of our very own writers, Melissa Danisi, along with many others who are hungry for the Word but don’t know where to start, check out Melissa’s new project, or sign up for the AWESOME daily devotional she’s putting out!

 

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About

Jen and Darlene were a match made at a Fresno State Bulldog Football game. If you know Darlene, you know it is hard to keep her from watching a football game, but Jen succeeded! They hit the ground running in their friendship and have walked together through many of life’s ups and downs. Jen calls Darlene her mentor and Darlene says it’s a mutual thing. They both have a passion to see women walk closely with God and for God’s Word restored to its rightful place. They both enjoy gardening and peaceful moments in God’s beautiful creation, especially Carmel, California.


  • Kristin Bogdanof

    I really felt the Lord speak to me through this. So many times I have neglected the study of God’s actual Word because I “didn’t know where to start.” Thank you for these practical and inspiring tips:)

  • Darlene Hanson

    Kristin, we are so glad you visited Self Talk and read this post! Thank you! It is so easy to read the next great “book” and forget that our first love should be the Bible and it’s inspired words. May we suggest shereadstruth.com as a great place to start? We would love to hear how your journey is going as you dive into God’s word.

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