This was from an email question who asked my thoughts on how you should go about reading the Bible.
If I were you, I would first start off by reading the New Testament in its complete entirety in order to keep in the flow of it. After you finish with the New Testament, I would then start with the Old Testament, starting from the very beginning.
There are many good things that are back in the Old Testament. I feel the New Testament is a revelation of who Jesus Christ is and the Old Testament is a revelation of who God the Father is. This is why Christians need to read both Books in order to get a handle on who both God and Jesus really are.
The Old Testament will really give you an incredible amount of knowledge about God the Father, His ways, and how He operates. Many of the battle verses on how God will fight battles for you are all back in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament will give you major insight into God’s personality, what He is really like, and how He had reacted to a wide range of situations involving His chosen people, the Jews. After you read the Old Testament in its complete entirety, especially if you can read it without breaking off into something else so as to keep the flow going, you will get a real good understanding about who God the Father really is and what He is really like.
This is how you really get to know God the Father – by learning from what He has done in the past! And this is exactly what the Old Testament will give to you.
There is no other book on this planet that will give you the revelation, insight, and knowledge about who God the Father really is like the Old Testament will! It is the only Book that we have that will give you direct quotes from God the Father.
These quotes are direct words from God the Father. From these direct quotes, you get major insight and knowledge into His personality.
It is obviously the same with Jesus in the New Testament. When you read all of the things Jesus has personally said to all of those around Him, you will then get to really know Him.
If you can get both of these Books underneath your belt – you will have instilled the Bible basics in you. It will give you a base and a platform in which God can continue to build up your knowledge base about Himself, His Son Jesus, and His Holy Spirit. You will also continue to learn more about the Lord in your own personal journey with Him.
It’s like a one-two punch:
- Knowledge about God that you get from reading the Bible
- Knowledge about God that you get from what you learn in your own personal walk and journey with Him
However, the Book is long and most Christians will not take the time to read through all of it. They will read just bits and pieces of it at a time. This is obviously better than nothing at all, but you only get partial revelation about who God the Father is when you only feed off of it in small chunks at a time.
Each Book has its own flow to it. This is why I would recommend staying with one Book at a time instead of trying to mix it all up. You can do that after you have read both Books in their entirety. Once you have both Books locked into your mind, and have developed a good understanding of what both Books are trying to teach you, then you can bounce back and forth between the two Books because you now have a basic understanding of what each Book is all about.
However, trying to read all of the Old Testament is a major undertaking. You would have to commit to it until you complete it. It all depends on how hectic and busy your personal schedule is and how much time you have over the course of a week to read.
Some Christians complain there is no way they could ever read the entire Old Testament. They say it is too long. Yet they could read 3 or 4 long fiction novels back to back. If they took that kind of time and applied it to the reading of the Old Testament, they could literally have read the entire Old Testament in the same amount of time that it took to read those 3 or 4 fiction novels.
However, the Old Testament is one Book as versus 3 or 4 smaller novels. However, the number of pages is the same. The Old Testament may look like a major undertaking to try and read, but it is just the same as reading 3 or 4 long novels back to back.
Also, if you decide you want to try and undertake the reading of both Books in their entirety, do not worry about trying to understand everything little thing you will read at first. Just get it all in you as best as you can. The Holy Spirit, over the course of time, will then start to work the knowledge that you have been instilling in you.
However, before the Holy Spirit will really start to work with you in gaining a better understanding of the Bible, you first have to give Him something to work with – and that is your efforts in trying to read and assimilate the Bible as best as you can.
If you do your part in trying to understand what you are reading from the Bible, then the Holy Spirit will do His part, and He will then start to show you what many of the actual Scripture verses really mean and how they can apply to your daily life.
It’s like building a house. First you build the base, and then you add everything onto the base to complete the house. The Bible and the knowledge it will give you will be your base from which the Holy Spirit can then add to it. However, if you do not build your base by first reading from the Bible, then the Holy Spirit will have nothing to work with.
This is exactly why so many Christians do not make much spiritual growth over the course of most of their life.
He will increase your intellect and your ability to understand things. He will increase your ability to discern truth from error.
This is a supernatural work that the Holy Spirit will do for each and every Christian – but only if they are willing to go into a seeking mode with the Lord.
If you do not press in and start seeking after the knowledge of God through the study of Scripture, then the Holy Spirit will not start to supernaturally move to increase your mental abilities.
I cannot tell you the number of times that the Holy Spirit will bring up into my mind’s eye a particular Scripture verse in order to answer a question someone may have, or to give me personal revelation and knowledge about something that I may be dealing with.
The Bible is literally a treasure chest of knowledge that can answer many of the questions that we all face in this life. If the Bible has been implanted into your mind and intellect by the reading of it, then the Holy Spirit can bring back up for you specific Scripture verses to answer some of your own personal questions when you may need them.
The reason the Holy Spirit can bring these verses back up to your remembrance when you may need them is because you have spent the time to get the Bible “in you” by reading, studying, and meditating on it.
It is your mind that God is after, and the renewing of your mind involves the acquiring of knowledge.
The Holy Spirit is the One who really transforms you into the kind of person God wants you to become in Him, but He only works this supernatural transformation into your mind and soul through the acquiring of knowledge.
The reason for this is that God wants you to fully understand exactly what He is doing in your life and why He is doing it before the transformation process really kicks into full gear into the specific areas of your life that He will want to change.
Once I personally found out that reading the Bible and seeking after the knowledge of God would start to cause supernatural things to start happening in my life with God, I developed a major hunger to finish reading all of the Bible in its complete entirety.
The Bible will just show you what other people’s journeys were like with the Lord, and all of the incredible supernatural things that God and Jesus did for them as He is now doing for you.