The Call For Biblical Literacy

Wise women read the Bible!

Biblical Literacy

Who doesn’t love a good story? Nothing is better then a good book and a cup of coffee.  We all love a story filled with drama, flawed characters and a Hero that saves the day. What if I told you of a book that had all that and more? It has been on the best sellers list for centuries and it is the greatest love story ever told. This is the biography of the God of the universe. Yes, it is the Bible.

There are  many times in which we read the Bible with the mindset of asking, “what does it say about me?” but, what we truly need to know, “what does it say about the I Am”?

 

That is the real theme of the Bible. It is all about Him, not about us. It is not the ultimate self-help book, though it is a book filled with life-transforming wisdom. Nor is it a glorified answer book to questions about living, though the more we read, we will glean answers to life. So many of us pick up the Bible with the notion of what we can get out of it for ourselves.  None of this is the purpose of reading God’s Word.

A word of concern:

I am concerned.  In a culture of fast everything, words of inspiration, memes on social media, we need to be careful not to get our truth from facebook and twitter.

I dare say, we have become lazy in our reading and lacking in our knowledge of true wisdom which only comes from the Word of God. We have been satisfied to listen to sermons solely without reading it for ourselves.  If we do not read it for ourselves, we can be easily deceived and many could not discern the truth from lies. Biblical Illiteracy is rampant.

What is the purpose of the Bible then?

The Bible is ..

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. — 2 Ti 3:16-17

It is the story of the “Great I Am” (Exodus 3:14).  The Bible is the story of God. I will say it again. It is all about Him. The Bible gives us an account, filled with drama, love, action and intrigue ending with the ultimate battle of good over evil with the King of Kings victorious over all! It is a story that leaves us transformed. Truth is, we become like what we behold. The more we read the book about Him, we become renewed. He truly makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).  The only way to have this transformation happen is to pick up your Bible and read it.

How do I get started, you may ask.

A good question. To read the Bible for all it’s worth you need:

A prayerful heart! Always start with prayer!

Grab Your Bible. You can spend a lot of money or open your phone to a free app such as YouVersion or, my favorite, the Faithlife Bible, both can be found on the apple store  or google play 🙂 I love to feel the paper in my hands so I prefer to grab a physical Bible. Next, you need a  good translation. I lean toward a good word for word translation such as the ESV, NASB and I even like the CSB.  Some scholars suggest using a more dynamic translation, meaning it is phrase by phrase such as the NIV. Many scholars have labored in faith, wisdom and under the instruction of the Holy Spirit to translate the Word of God from the original texts that we can rest assured that it is God-breathed, the whole inerrant Word of  God.

Context is everything!

Next, read the Bible in context.  Do not just flip it open and blindly pick a section to read.  Instead, start with a book. Then read the first chapter  several times.  I would also suggest, reading it out loud once. Take note of the theme of the chapter, any key phrases and verses. Observe the who that is speaking and to whom. What is being said and what action is taking place. Where is it taking place and when.

Also, it is wise to write out the key verse from several translations. One word of caution: paraphrases such as the Message and the Living Bible are of value when reading devotionally  but, not for study. Just my 2 cents.

There are many good resources out there to help with study. Commentaries are wonderful written by scholars who have studied the original texts but keep in mind, they are words of men. I personally love the Word Biblical Commentaries, New American Commentaries and the New International Commentaries on the New and Old Testaments.

Verse Mapping

This is a process in where you pick a book of the Bible, read a chapter, take a journal and write. First, write out the main theme, and key verse. Write that key verse in several translations. Write out the action taking place, to whom it is written and who the author is. Next, write the application that can be made in our own lives.

There is also something to be said for writing out Scripture. Using more than one physical sense such as hearing and kinetics by writing it out can help with learning 🙂

Color Coding

Another way of learning is to use different colors to mark different topics. For example, purple for God, Jesus, Holy Spirit or anything Divine. Pink for family and women, blue for doctrine, teaching and  wisdom, etc. Circle important words and look up the meaning in a Strong’s concordance and dictionary. Use different symbols for words. For instance, draw a heart around every phrase or word for love.

Bottom line, Don’t be afraid to write in the  margins of your Bible! (But, you can always use a journal!)

Want to join others who are digging deep into God’s Word?

I would LOVE to have you join us as we are reading through the Bible chronologically, one chapter at a time.  It is a great way to learn! Join us at His Beloved Jewels Bible Study for the Word Girl Challenge! We are gathering online, reading and pondering His Word in our hearts. Grab some coffee, your Bible and join us!

In His Love,

 

 

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