New Year’s is approaching. Many people will begin making their New Year’s Resolutions. People want to start new things, in the New Year. I commend individuals who recognize that a change should be made and are making preparations to make it happen.
Well, if one of your resolution is to read the Bible and learn about God’s Word, I have some suggestions that may make the resolution come to light and the ability to keep the resolution throughout the year.
If you have made the resolution and you are ready to make the plunge, it should be more than a verbal commitment. It should not be something that sounds good to say to yourself and others, to receive that pat on your back that you are doing something spiritual. It should be mental. To have a mindset that you are truly going to do this task and have a relationship with God.
For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 (KJV)
Here are some suggestions for your New Year’s quest.
Get a Bible. I realize that there are Bible apps and online Bibles that can be read. And, as long as you are reading God’s Word, what difference does it make how you study the scriptures. I am old school and prefer a physical book that I can hold in my hands and can turn the pages. In my opinion, having a physical Bible wins out because you may be reading a specific scripture or chapter, sometimes your eyes may catch interesting things on the adjoining page; or above or below your sectioned reading. This is a plus in having a physical Holy Bible.
Pick a specific version of the Holy Bible. I am not going to overwhelm you with the various types of Bible to choose from. The list is endless. With God’s guidance, choose the Holy Bible that best suits your needs. Make sure that whatever Bible you choose has the Old and New Testament, scripture references and a concordance. Scripture references allow you to research other scriptures on the same subject matter to bring clarity. A Bible concordance is an alphabetical listing of words and phrases found in the Holy Bible. It indicates where a specific word or phrase can be located throughout all the books of the Bible. Again, these features can be found online, but if you are going to make an effort, make the commitment. If you are stuck on thinking everything should be done online, remember, if you are taking online classes, the class/instructor requires you to buy a hard cover book.
Bible Dictionary. In the back of most Bibles, there is a dictionary. You can choose to buy one separately. Or, you can look up words online. A dictionary is a must. You must be able to understand the true essence of words, to receive a deeper understanding.
Bible schedule. Choose a time that works for you. Early in the morning, late at night or during lunch. Again, your schedule should suit your demands. You made the resolution, now pick a time.
Bible Program. There are many Bible schedules and programs available. Some of them include reading a chapter a day. Read one chapter from the beginning of the Bible (Genesis); one chapter from the middle (Psalms and Proverbs) and then a chapter from the beginning of the New Testament. With that program, you are getting a little bit of everything, all at once. Others recommend to start at the beginning and read the Bible like a novel. This is where people plunge, run and then hit the wall. Read my suggestion in the next step.
Take a nibble. This is my recommendation. In the beginning, instead of reading an entire chapter, which may contain multiple subject matters to ponder, several words or phrases to look up and dozens of cross reference with other scriptures. My tip is to read 1-3 scriptures of a specific chapter, at a time. Take those scriptures break it down for meaning and contents; look up unfamiliar words; and cross references. This way you will get the full meaning of the passage instead of glossing over things just to announce to yourself and others that you read an entire chapter. If you take a nibble, it will be easier to digest. Just bear in mind, the Bible should be read for the quality of the Word versus the quantity of how much you read.
Listed below is an example of taking nibbles of a scripture.
An example of taking a nibble of peace. Read: John 14:27 New King James Version (NKJV)
ªPeace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
A new student of the Holy Bible will quickly read over the passage and say this is a scripture about peace. That is true, but it contains so much more.
This one scripture can be dissected into 5 parts and contains 2 cross references and a few words to be defined for clarity.
Definition: Look up the word peace. Peace means a state or tranquility or quiet; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thought.
Breakdown 1: Peace I leave with you… The Son of God is telling His disciples, AND us that He is leaving His peace with us. He is leaving us with a state of tranquility and quietness.
Breakdown 2: my peace I give to you… He is giving (granting, bestowing, and putting in our possession) this precious gift of peace to us. It is a gift.
Breakdown 3: not as the world gives do I give to you… He is clearly stating that His peace is not the same as the peace of this world. He is letting us know that there is a great difference.
Breakdown 4: Let not your heart be troubled… He is telling us not to let our hearts (inner character or feelings) be troubled (worried, concerned or stressed).
Breakdown 5: neither let it be afraid… Also, He reminds us not to allow our hearts (inner character, feelings) to be afraid (filled with fear).
ªThis small letter indicates there is a reference to another scripture. There are 2 references to look up from that one scripture. Philippians 4:7 and Colossians 3:15. For time’s sake, you can look up these scriptures on your own for more clarification.
The scripture above contained a great deal of content. It means more than a scripture about peace. Breaking down the scripture brings a greater understanding about peace, the different types of peace, Who gave the peace and what we should and should not do.
Just for practice. Find a scripture about love, joy, anger or any other emotion. Look up words for clarity. Break the scripture down. Cross reference other scriptures. Taking morsels of scriptures, can be digested, more easily in our minds and hearts. Start nibbling on the Holy Bible today.