Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bible Boost

by Stephen Altrogge @

Here's a few more practical suggestions for giving your Bible reading a kick in the pants. These have been very helpful for me over the years.

1. Pray as you're reading

This has been extraordinarily helpful for me over the years. Rather than segmenting my devotional time into reading and then prayer, I bring the two together. As I ponder the word of God, the Holy Spirit moves upon my heart, which then leads me to prayer, praise, thanksgiving, or adoration. For example, I recently read Colossians 4:3-4, which says, "At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison - that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." As I read this I was moved to pray that God would open doors for me to proclaim the gospel. Respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you read.

2. Apply one bit of truth

As you read, apply one bit of truth to one part of your life. Ask yourself, "How do I apply these verses to one area of my life?" This ties in closely with the previous point. The Holy Spirit will bring conviction and clarity as you read scripture. Seize these moments as opportunities to pray that God would help you apply His word to one area of your life.

3. Read your Bible in the morning

Obviously this isn't a hard and fast rule. It's not always possible to read scripture in the morning, given the various circumstances of life. But if possible, I believe it's wise to meet with God before meeting the day. In Mark 1:35 we see Jesus rising "very early" in the morning to spend time in prayer. Meeting with God in the morning prepares us to meet the day's troubles. I don't want to venture out into a temptation-filled world with a sin-filled heart without first asking God for strength. Jonathan Edwards said, "I think Christ has recommended rising early in the morning, by his rising from the grave very early."

4. Write while you're reading

In this respect I do things a little differently than my dad. He likes to pick out one key verse and write his thoughts on it. I like to write my thoughts on each verse or section of verses as I'm reading them. This sharpens my concentration and helps me think through the logic and argument of the passage. John Piper exhorts pastors to read with pen in hand, and I think the same applies to all Christians:

"A pastor will not be able to feed his flock rich and challenging insight into God's word unless he becomes a disciplined thinker. But almost none of us does this by nature. We must train ourselves to do it. And one of the best ways to train ourselves to think about what we read is to read with pen in hand and to write down a train of thought that comes to mind. Without this, we simply cannot sustain a sequence of questions and answers long enough to come to penetrating conclusions"

I hope you find these helpful. May God give you rich times in His word.

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