When starting out in the Christian faith, it can be difficult to approach the reading of this large work of 66 books 📚. So here are some tips to start your bible study.
First of all, for your study, it is important to understand that the Bible is not a book like any other: it is the living God's word! He uses it to speak to us with the help of his Spirit (the Holy Spirit). 🤲
In addition to the Old Testament to the New, the entire Bible points to Jesus. The Old Testament is a bit of an inventory before the coming of our Savior; it shows us how evil man's nature is and that the many sacrifices are not enough to appease God's anger towards His creature because of sin. 😈 (Read also What are the 7 Deadly Sins in the Bible? - lordsguidance.com)
The New Testament provides the solution: Jesus Christ, who by His sacrifice ✝ wipes out the past, present and future sins of all mankind; it also emphasizes the power of the cross in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to deliver man from the bondage of sin.
We also discover that in the Old Testament, the many prophets foretold the things that were to come and that was fulfilled by Jesus, thus demonstrating that He is truly the Messiah who was to come and save mankind.
Thus, whoever does not know the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, the people of Israel, etc., will have difficulty understanding perfectly the need for Jesus' coming as Savior, and whoever has not read the books of the prophets may be less convinced of His Messiahness. 😇
For those who have never read the Bible or have read very little, it is generally advisable to start with the four gospels; these are the first books of the New Testament that begin their account of Jesus' first coming to earth. 🌎
We saw that it was important to read the whole Bible, but if there was only one to go through, or rather one to start with, it would be the Gospel of John. 📖
This gospel is often distributed during evangelistic campaigns because it perfectly summarizes the work of Jesus and implicitly states the divinity of Jesus, God's word made flesh. In addition, there are many accounts not present in the other three gospels (of Matthew, Mark and Luke, also known as the "Synoptic Gospels") such as certain specific miracles or the multiple apparitions of Jesus after his resurrection.
(Read alsoWhat Does John 3:16 Mean? - lordsguidance.com)
In the Gospel of John, there are also many speeches by Jesus himself that are not included in the synoptic and which are marked with the famous "I am" statements.
"These things were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name, "John 20:31.
On the other hand, important moments in the life of Jesus are totally absent from the Gospel of John: the birth of Christ, the temptation in the desert, the call of the twelve disciples and their mission, the transfiguration, calming the storm 🌩, the announcement of the Passion, the institution of the Holy Communion, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane...
Thus, the reading of the other Gospels will be an indispensable complement to perfect the knowledge of the life of Jesus when he was still on this earth.
Paul's epistles are a good way to continue reading the Bible once the reader has inquired about the reason for Christ's coming through the Gospels. 📘
These letters were originally addressed to specific churches, but the timeliness of their message is still directed to the whole Church, i.e. the Body of Jesus or all God's children.
The Pauline Epistles include:
A fourteenth letter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the work of an anonymous author, is sometimes added to them. 📜
These letters, full of good advice and revelations, are a true treasure for those who wish to please God and live a life that honors Him.
It is also in Paul's writings that we can discover our true spiritual identity in Jesus.
There are many ways to read God's word. Here are the 3 most common methods:
Some people like to open the Bible randomly. Certainly, for a young reader (spiritually speaking) there will always be a revelation or a word that will speak to his heart. ❤
"So is my word which proceedeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, except I have done my will and purposed," Isaiah 55:11
But such a reading cannot make a Christian grow spiritually, and it is not conceivable to remain in a state of spiritual youth indefinitely.
In order to grow, it is necessary to be nourished by a solid diet, and this is only possible by reading the Bible in a structured way.
Whether on the Internet or in books, there are many ways to read the Bible. Some will help you to read the Bible in one year, two years, or even three years, from the 1st to the 66th book. 🤓
Other reading plans will lead you through the Bible in a different order but with a particular theme in mind.
You can also study the Bible in chronological order of the sequence of events; for example, the book of Job is read in parallel with the book of Genesis. But If you are used to reading, reading the Bible from beginning to end is not a bad thing if you don't have a specific reading plan.
It can also give you a quick first overview of the Holy Book because at normal reading speed it takes 38 hours to read the Old Testament and 12 hours to read the New Testament, which is about 50 hours in total to read the whole Bible. ☺
Once you have chosen a reading plan and have your Bible in hand, it is time to get started. Here are some valuable recommendations that will be useful to both the youngest and the oldest in the faith :
Asking good questions is the most basic and essential tool for small groups of Bible study. The group leader can prepare questions based on his or her own study of the passage or use questions from a study guide.
The questions need to be adapted to the specific context of the group.
It is useful to have a mix of questions to achieve the following objectives:
Avoid questions that are too obvious 🙅♀ or can be answered with a yes or a no, because they can cut a conversation short and lead to a Bible study that would only be questions and answers.
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
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