005 How To Read The Bible

Join Pam for a chat about Bible reading. She gives practical tips to apply to your time in the Word. 

  1. Don’t be random about your reading
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you
  3. Have reflection time about what you just read

Transcription

Welcome to the Soul Sister Podcast with Pam Bailey. Grab a cup of coffee sister and let’s sit and chat about all of the things that lead us to a Christ-centered life full of purpose and joy. Hi sisters It’s Pam welcome to today’s podcast, how to read your Bible. I chose this topic as a podcast because this question is probably one of the top three questions that Pam gets asked most consistently. And this question has come up for years of doing ministry. I think the reason behind that is because a lot of people just feel overwhelmed with the book, and there’s so much to it and knowing that it’s God’s word and so it can often feel overwhelming, but at the same time because there is so much to it. People aren’t sure how to navigate through the Word. And so today I want to have a practical conversation about what it looks like to actually read the Bible. Before we begin this discussion, I think it’s important to recognize and understand what the Bible actually is. 

I bring up this verse, all the time but in Hebrews 4 12 it is God’s voice, his literal utterance, it is alive and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. The Bible is also a collection of books in fact there are 66. Each book is different. Each book has various authors’ literary styles like there’s just so much to the makeup of each book that brings it into its own special meaning. There are roughly 40 Different authors of biblical texts spanning over 2000 years. And despite all the different authors and writing styles, the core message is the same and please hear this strongly, that all of them are always pointing us to Christ. Now I personally believe that the Bible is inerrant. The Bible is God’s word, and that God divinely inspired the authors to write what you and I get to read today. 

Okay, so now that we kind of have just the foundation of what the Bible is, let’s talk about interpretation. There are a lot of different facets and definitions of biblical interpretation and quite honestly, I could not even do it justice in a 30-second clip on a podcast, it could probably take a whole 10 podcasts to just go through a full understanding of biblical interpretation. But I do want to say this, our focus should remain simple when we are reading the Bible and interpreting that. All of our interpretation should cross the path of love God love people. And if your interpretation of biblical texts, does not reflect that. I’m going to challenge you to take your biblical interpretation. 

Also, the Bible should lead us to Jesus, not to ourselves. We’ve seen quite a rise of that sort of interpretation in the past couple of decades, where we are leading into biblical texts and drawing out what presents us as main characters, and friends that are not at all what God’s doing with his word here. So, our interpretations should lead us to Jesus and the cross, not to ourselves. Now that we have that very tiny foundation of biblical what is the Bible. And what is interpretation? Let’s jump into how to actually read the word, and I want this to be a practical discussion, so I want you to walk away, saying, wow, those are some really good tips for me to help navigate this word, that is really important to my life. 

Number one don’t be random about it. Sisters no one goes to their bookshelf and picks up a random book and says, let me turn to page 136 and read what line 4 of the book says. No one does that. We pick up a book and we want to know what’s happening in the beginning, the main point of the story, and then also read the ending. And so we need to approach the Bible in the same way. And while I’m not saying that your Bible always has to be read from cover to cover. I am kind of saying that you need to read your Bible from cover to cover. The beautiful thing about this collection of books is that you can read any book at any random moment. And so you don’t always have to go in chronological order, or the canonized order, but you do need to read the Bible, in whole sections. And so let’s just use Paul as an example, when Paul wrote a letter to the Colossians, you want to read everything that he wrote to the Colossians, it would be really important to you in your understanding of God’s Word and God’s ability to speak to you through that word to read the entire letter. Not out of context, not randomly, but the entire letter. 

And no, I’m not saying that you have to read it all in the same sitting, but just make sure that you’re grouping those words together because they are intended to be read together. Okay, so have a plan, and don’t be random, and whether your plan includes cover to cover, chronologically, whole books at a time, it doesn’t matter. Sisters, it doesn’t matter how you do that, just remember that reading whole sections together is the most important part of your reading. When we do that, we have less of a tendency to take Scripture out of context and to misquote it. That goes back to our initial point of biblical interpretation. Our reading should lead us to Jesus and not to ourselves. 

Number two, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his word to you, and sisters, I know that sounds so cliche, but I honestly cannot even begin to tell you the importance of doing that. When we pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal His Word to us, to illuminate his word to us, and to show us how alive and active, it really is, then biblical texts really begin to jump out for us. The Bible is constantly becoming more and more real. We always have a starting point where we simply just pick up the word and start, but there’s never an ending point, sisters we will be reading the same word, our entire life. And over time, that word will transform in different ways to really speak to us, to challenge us, and to transform us. This is the most important way that God communicates with his people. And so, that book is just so full of knowledge and wisdom and understanding, but at the same time, we really have to fully grasp ahold of that being God’s word. And I could actually do a whole separate podcast on this topic right here and so I’m almost tempted to not even say it, but we are a biblical generation that is so hungry for God to speak. And he did. He spoke, and we need to read it and stop asking for God to give us new manna. It’s not coming like this is it, and we don’t even read what he already gave us. Read and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his word to you. 

Number three, when you are reading the biblical text and remember you’re going to read this, this whole sections, you’re going to pray through this. You want to make sure that you are having some genuine reflection time. Have a lot of people that like to journal. I have quite a number of people that really enjoy journaling Bibles and they draw their imaginations, and all these things are like love notes in the margins are always so attracted to that because I lack that kind of creativity, and it is beautiful. So there are all these reflection ways that you can do when you’re reading your biblical texts, but you want to make sure that you are being specific with your text and asking yourself some really good questions. This is going to help you stray away from incorrect biblical interpretation, and to make sure that you’re staying focused on Christ in the story. What do some of those reflection questions look like, I’ll give you a few. What is something new that I learned today? What is something that I want to learn more about? What is one scripture in this chapter or section that I want to memorize or remember? What in this chapter or section can I apply to my life. 

Whether it goes back to your drawing in the margins of your journaling, however, you see fit to have some intimate reflection time, then have intimate reflection time. Now I also understand that the practical points that I am giving here, you might be saying, Whoa Pam, you’re talking about major study time and I just don’t know that I have that much time to give every day. Okay, sister. So set this up for what this would look like for you in a practical manner. If you can only give 20 minutes, consistent time in the Word in a day. Then you want to make sure that you have a good to or so minutes of praying before you begin that reading. 10 minutes of reading time. And then five minutes and I know my math didn’t just add up there. But five minutes of personal reflection. And because I’ll make it even here, three more minutes of prayer time at the end. You want to be able to read God’s word but have the ability to do the other practical things that I just gave you in that same moment. 

Now, I know for me sometimes, I can read God’s word, and I can walk away from it, and then it is like hours or a week later that that biblical text just comes back to my remembrance and something really jumps out for me. So I don’t want to diminish any of the Holy Spirit doing that. I just really want you to be focused and not randomize about your time in the Word. It goes back to us making sure that we are, Jesus focused on our scripture, and then it really helps us with making sure that our biblical interpretation is not inconsistent, misquoted. All those things that are not good. 

Lastly, I want to bring up one more point that is not necessarily a practical thing for your reading of the Bible, but I get paired this question with my initial question, Pam, how to read the Bible. And it is Pam, I want to go buy a devotional which one should I buy, and I want you to hear me that I am not against devotionals, I think that they are appropriate for certain times and situations. I firmly believe that there are many of them that were inspired by the Holy Spirit. So I think that there is some great wealth and jewels that can be brought from them, but I want you to understand that they are not the Bible. And so oftentimes what we find in the devotional is one or two scripture lines, and it has some sort of commentary with it. And that is what we’re using as our consistent time and the word daily, and that can be quite dangerous. 

And so, I want you to understand. Let me say it again, I am not against devotionals, I think they are great. But what I want you to do is to realize that you need to be in a pattern of reading whole sections of God’s word for yourself. Sisters, I cannot say enough how biblically illiterate. Our current generation is, and it’s quite scary is often also scary to me, how many people can quote various scriptures or things of the Bible that are taken so far out of context. It is only self-serving. I’ll just be honest like that breaks my heart because we are, not fully engaged in hearing God’s voice. Now, I’ll just tell you all the time, I feel like I have to repeat myself all day long for my 4 boys. And if I do that as a mom of four. I can imagine that God feels quadruple what I feel, on a day-to-day basis, with his own children, because he gave us his word. And we don’t read it, we don’t know it. We don’t apply it to our life correctly. If there’s anything that you can take away from today’s practicality, how to read the word is to do it in whole sections. To stay focus on Christ, and to make sure that you are praying through what you’re reading. 

Alright, sisters, I am so glad that you join me in today’s podcast. I am going to share a whole reading plan that I have on my website, you can click on the link in my bio, for the podcast, or any of my social media, speaking of which if you don’t follow that it’s at Jesus and Pam. This is a one-year Bible reading plan that 64 other ladies, join me this year in reading, and I’m going, to be honest, is quite intense. So I’m not trying to make life seem overwhelming at this moment, but you can take that plan, and if that plan needs to be a three-year plan for you ladies. It’s quite alright. But it lays out how to read the Old Testament and New Testament at the same time. So I would highly recommend you getting a reading plan, if you don’t have one, you can go to my website, it’s free, download it and use that. Sisters, I’m so excited that you’re here with me for another week of our podcast, I appreciate all of your reviews, and your subscriptions, and thank you for sharing. I simply cannot say thank you enough for sharing this podcast. Until next time ladies keep worshipping and finding joy in every moment.

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BASED IN north carolina, 
AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE

Pam Bailey

bible teacher + mentor

pam Bailey

bible teacher + mentor