Maybe you’ve never picked up a bible before. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you don’t understand some of it, nor see the need for it. But, there are a few things I’d like to share with you about the greatest book of all time. In today’s post, I’m going to break it down for you. All the Bible Basics. My prayer for you is that you will learn a little more about this book and choose to take your scripture reading to the next level. I promise that you will find blessings along the way!
A little background about me and why I wanted to share about my experience with the bible…
I got my first bible as a kid. You know, the one with colorful pictures and big letters. The stories were fascinating! Adam and Eve and the tree of Good & Evil. Moses, the Ten Plagues, and the Red Sea. Noah and his ark. Jonah inside the tummy of a whale! I think every child should have his own bible. It’s a great way to build a foundation of scripture reading, for our children.
Over the past four decades, I’ve owned a half dozen bibles. But, my favorite (by far) is the one that Scott bought for me the first year we were married. It was the Tyndale Life Application Study Bible. What I love most about this bible is how every chapter of every book has a commentary to help explain things in a very practical way. I think this is a great bible for any adult, from novice to veteran bible scholar. It has more than enough to supplement and enrich your bible reading experience.
As accessible as it is, there are dozens of reasons people disregard the bible, altogether. It breaks my heart when someone says, “I don’t know. I just don’t see the need.” Because, scripture reading is the very core of my faith. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Typically, the same person would say, “I don’t believe in God,” or “I don’t feel a connection to God.” Yet, what they are missing is a very important piece.
I like to share a relatable scenario. Before you met the love of your life (and grew a relationship with that person), didn’t you need to invest time? Didn’t you need to put forth some effort, and take some steps? Did you not share and listen and spend time together? Would you have had a relationship with this person by doing NOTHING?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
If you don’t really know God, you may be overlooking the fact that the Bible is the word of God. If God can create the heavens, the earth, and mankind, how is it not possible for Him to inspire man to write these truths? How is it not possible for the Bible to be accurately preserved throughout history? Here is a dynamic excerpt regarding evidence of the Bible being true:
Evidence for the Bible can take many forms. There is, for instance, physical evidence. We have copies of the manuscripts and throughout history these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Despite common skeptical claims that the Bible has often been changed through the centuries, the physical evidence tells another story. The New Testament records are incredibly accurate. There are minor differences in manuscripts, called variants, but none of these variants impact or change key Christian beliefs or claims.
Other physical evidence includes archeological finds. The Archaeological Study Bible presents many notes and articles documenting how archeology has again and again proven that the Bible does correspond to historical reality.
There are other kinds of evidence that the Bible is true. These have to do with internal consistency and coherence. Although the Bible was written over many centuries by different writers, the messages it contains are coherent and consistent. The Bible presents a coherent theology and worldview and presents this material consistently. Moreover, the Christian worldview is robust, reasonable and grounded in history. (Source ~ Focus on the Family)
Many people go through the motions of life searching for that something. They try to find it in their youth, but that goes by too fast. They try to find it in their career, their significant other, their possessions, their popularity and/or success. But, there is a part of their heart that continues to feel empty. Meanwhile, a genuine Christian has a peace and a joy and a confidence in their heart that is indisputable and undeniable. In all circumstances. Why is this?
If you ask a genuine Christian if she knows what will happen to her after she dies, she would say, “Yes.” Because, it is possible to know what will happen to us after we die. It’s actually written in the book of John:
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Jn 20:30–31
In other words, the bible is a gift for us to KNOW God, through Jesus. And, to accept the gift of salvation through what Jesus did for us, on the cross. Friend, you cannot take my word for it. That’s why you need to see for yourself. You can start with the book of John. If you go into this with an open heart, (i.e. “Lord, if this is real stuff, please open my heart and help me to believe or see what I’m missing.”) you will find what you’ve been looking for.
Someone I know puts it like this: “What have you to lose?”
Maybe you recently buried a loved one. Maybe you or someone you know is battling a life-threatening illness, right now. Or, maybe you have everything, for the most part, but you’re still coming up on empty. Why wait another day? There are answers, promises, guidance, and blessings in the word of God.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness 2Timothy 3:16
The Bible is for YOU!
For those of you who are willing to give it a shot and have access to a bible, in some shape or form, let’s go through a few basics to help get you started.
Where Do I Start?
First, I’d recommend starting with the book of John. John is the last of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four books (named after their authors) include details of the life of Jesus. However, the book of John goes back to even before Jesus’ birth.
In the beginning was the word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the word (Jesus) was God. John 1:1
John further explains the deity of God and how Jesus is God: who came to save the world from our sins.
How much time should I spend reading the Bible?
This is entirely up to you. A little is better than nothing. I prefer reading the bible before I read anything else, each morning. Every day is ideal. I find that daily bible reading, for about 10-15 minutes, makes such a great impact on every area of my life. Even for just 10 minutes. Some people listen to the bible, on tape, as they drive to work. So, whatever works best for you, go for it!
You can add prayer to the beginning and/or the end of your bible reading. Just talk to God. Openly and honestly. (He already knows your heart.) Ask questions. Ask Him to speak to you and your heart. In time, you’ll learn His voice. And, you’ll respond to His will. It may take time, but just keep at it.
How can I continue to grow in my faith, beyond reading the bible?
Once you’ve committed to scripture reading and prayer, it’s a good idea to find a bible-teaching church. One that uses the bible as the core of sermons, philosophy, etc. I have observed churches in which the pastor rarely references scripture. I’ve also been to churches in which the pastor disregards certain parts of the bible because it may be too controversial in today’s times. But, if you can find a church in which the leaders stand on God’s Word, with accountability, that’s a good church.
Simply, ask around. Call the church and ask for information. Keep an open mind and pray that God will bring you to the right church.
What does “saved” mean? Do I have to be “saved” to read the bible or attend a church?
The short answer to the question is NO. One does not need to be “saved” to read the bible or attend a church. But, these things all help our faith to grow. Some people do not become saved until after reading their bible and/or attending a bible-based church, for some time.
A genuine Christian is someone who has put her trust in Jesus for salvation. Being saved means acknowledging that we fall short of God’s standard. (A perfect God who cannot be in the presence of sin; Thus, why the Israelites had to present a spotless sacrifice before entering the temple.) Being saved is asking God to forgive us for our sins and acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins (the ultimate and final sacrifice) and conquered death so that we, too, may have eternal life after death.
“Saved” is to be spared from eternal separation from God. Saved from punishment for our sins. In other words, after we die, we will be in Heaven with God, for eternity!
For God so loved the World, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Can you imagine what a game changer that is? Knowing that after you die, you will be in a perfect heaven with God and fellow believers, for eternity? Now can you see why a genuine Christian is able to get past the tragedies in this world. It’s because a genuine Christian knows that this lifetime is only a temporary place. Our permanent eternal residence is in heaven, with God, after we die.
It’s not something worth neglecting. It’s not worth ignoring. We have loved ones who may be older, sick, or lost. We are called to be God’s disciples and spread the good news. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so why wait?
Here’s the bottom line: God loves you and cares about your eternity. But, it’s up to you to decide on where and when to start. (Here is a great article on different versions of The Prayer of Salvation.)
If you are ready to take a step in your faith, I pray that this post gave you some direction. Be blessed, my friend!