Reading the Bible Alone Together
It’s good to know that you’re joining us to take up the Bible and attempt to finish it in less than 2 years! It’s a long journey. And it’s going to be filled with some ups and downs. But I can tell you that it will be worth it. It’s going to be the most valuable investment in your life!
This guide will give you some helps and tips to get you started in reading the Bible personally and to keep going.
Let’s start with a few tips that you need to take in mind before you start this program.
Reading the Bible is a natural act done supernaturally. You need God’s help. Pray, pray, and pray.
Throughout the 2 years of this program, there will be times – too many times – when you will want to quit. The key is not to take it as a burden, but to enjoy it like you enjoy reading novels or comic books. And, read tip no. 3.
Reading the Bible should be something that you’re doing constantly until the end of your life (and forever more when you talk to him face to face later). ReBATe is only meant to get you started reading the Bible in a community. Don’t think that once you finish ReBATe, you’re set for life without having to read the Bible again.
There will be days when you are so busy and tired that you don’t have time to read the Bible. If so, ask yourself this first: Is there anything in your day that you can reduce, or the value of which you’re overestimating, so that you can make a tiny space for Bible reading? For example, can you stop yourself from scrolling down on Instagram and use those 5 minutes to read some part of that day’s reading?
But if you still find yourself not having time to read the Bible on that day, don’t drop ReBATe altogether. Either catch up (by an afternoon of diligent reading, a short morning read on the train, or on the weekend) or skip the reading for that day and take up the reading for the next day.
It’s a good idea to seek help in reading the Bible. We are going to post some YouTube videos on the COTC Facebook page so you can watch them, or you can get your own devotional material, or you can read light commentaries (ask our pastor for some recommendations!), or you can meet up with someone in our congregation and talk about the passage.
But if you MUST skip something in your reading, skip those materials (YouTube videos or commentaries) and just read the Bible.
We will provide cards at every Sunday service where you can write down your questions for our pastor to answer in various ways (maybe a blog, or a Facebook post, or in a Q&A session). Ask away!
Now you’re ready to begin your journey of reading the Bible!
How should I read the Bible properly?
The easiest way to read the Bible is just to read it like a storybook. After all, that’s what the Bible is: God’s word that’s packed in a bunch of stories, the stories of God’s relationship with his people.
Nonetheless, the Bible is different to most storybooks. It sometimes feels ancient, irrelevant, and too philosophical (and theological).
Below is a list of simple activities that you can try when you read the Bible to get the most out of it.
1 _ Look Up
We need to receive the Bible as the word of God. This implies a commitment to prayer and faith. Before you do your reading, pray.
2 _ Look Down
Read the Bible. We must recognize the Bible as the work of human authors. It’s not a bunch of words that you hear from heaven as you pray and meditate. This implies careful consideration of the deliberate communication as designed by the human writer. So, exegesis (the process of interpreting the Bible) is about considering and understanding the text itself.
a What does the author say?
b What is his main point? Try to summarize the main point in a sentence.
3 _ Look Back
The books in the Bible were written in ancient times. They were written for us, but not to us. So, we need to see a text in its biblical context by looking back to its history. This is where small commentaries or just something like the ESV Study Bible will help.
a When was it written?
b What was happening to God’s people during this time?
c How does the text relate to them, speak to them, or reflect their situation?
d Consider what has gone before (for example, if you’re reading Isaiah, perhaps consider not only what’s happening
during Isaiah’s time, but also what had happened during Genesis, Exodus, Kings, etc., and what had happened in the previous chapters before your reading). Again, see it as a story.
4 _ Look Forward
We need to see a text in its biblical context by looking forward to what comes after the text.
a What happens after the text (for example, if you’re reading Isaiah, consider what happens during Jesus, or during
b How does what happens later explain the text?
c How does the text point to, or look forward to, what happens later?
5 _ Look Here
Finally, it is important to apply the text today and consider its application in today’s world.
a What new thing did I learn (about God, God’s people, and yourself) today?
b What did I learn about humanity?
c What did I learn about God’s relationship with humans?
d How can I apply this into my life? (this doesn’t have to be in a form of action, it could also just be a change of
perception or a change of worldview)