Read the Bible upside down and inside out
Anyone who has read much of the Bible will probably admit that some parts require more effort than others and some are easier to understand. But “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16), so clearly it is God’s will that we read the whole lot. How can we do that so that we fully engage with the whole of scripture? Here are a few of the things I do.
Firstly, before I even start I pray and ask the Lord for understanding. He is the one who, by the Holy Spirit, gives us the message He has for us from His Word.
Jesus, in John 14:26, says
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
So He promises to teach you from the Word.
I try different approaches to reading. We have recently finished reading the Bible one chapter at a time over a period of 3 years. This has allowed some detailed reading, cross-referring to other scripture, learning about the way of life or the political situation at the time.
At the moment I am reading the Bible again but this time I am aiming to complete it in under 6 months, so I have more reading to do per day but I am finding that I see different things and the continuity helps me to see the context of what is happening more easily. (I also note down verses or ideas that stand out so I can look over them again at the end).
In the gospels in particular I sometimes take the role of a bystander or a participant and watch or take part in the action. The Lord shows me different things again. I become more aware of the context and the interactions, for example.
And what about the really tricky books like Job or the gloomier parts of Jeremiah? Yes, they are harder but I try reading in big chunks – I get much more of a feel for what God is saying through the prophets.
Why not give some of these a try? The Lord likes variety in the way He speaks to us, so why not us in the way we listen? Read Psalm 18 and see.