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Session 1a Session 1b
Session 2a Session 2b
Session 3a Session 3b
Session 4a Session 4b
Session 5a Session 5b
Session 6a Session 6b
Session 7a Session 7b
Session 8a Session 8b
Session 9a Session 9b
Session 10a Session 10b
Session 11a Session 11b
Session 12a Session 12b
Bible Books Summary

Session 4: Section 1

Tips on reading

We recall from the first three sessions that the Bible:
  • Gives us the information that we need to understand God's plan to save us from death.
  • Gives us real hope for the future.
  • Gives us direction for daily living and real meaning to our life.
We have also given you some tips:
  • Listen for Bible "echoes".
  • Look to the Bible for answers to your questions.
  • Don't look at isolated passages and draw conclusions.

Fundamental principle of effective reading

  • A regular intake of God's Word, fifteen to twenty minutes daily.

Bible reading plans

There are many different reading plans available. One such plan is the “Bible Companion”. A copy of the “Bible Companion” has been reproduced here • in sections of 2 months each which can be printed out and stapled together. It has two readings from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament each day.

At the end of the year, after following the plan, you will have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. This plan keeps a wonderful balance between the Old and the New Testaments, and can really help you bring out those Bible “echoes”.

It is more important to read daily than to achieve the goal of reading all of the three portions each day. If you can only read one portion, be consistent in which portion you read. If you get behind, don’t worry about catching up. Just pick up on the readings for that day and keep going every day.
 

Open Bible
Read Psalm 119 v 97

Preparation

  • Allocate time. Have a regular spot in your daily routine for reading. For most people mornings are better than evenings.
  • Select a translation, bearing in mind our comments in Session 1.
  • Be comfortable. Reading should be enjoyable and you should look forward to reading. So pick a comfortable setting.
  • Sitting at a desk for reading can be more productive and comfortable.

How to approach reading the Bible

If you are to gain what you can from Bible study, you need to approach it with the right attitudes. You need to be open to new ideas. If you approach all ideas with a “fortress mentality” - thinking that your main job is to prove what you already think the Bible says - your understanding will have little chance of growing.

The Bible is a book of strength that has withstood all kinds of attacks during its history. As in all other areas of study, Bible students build upon and re-evaluate the work of earlier students. You need not fear examining new ideas and evaluating them carefully in the light of all the teachings of the Bible.

You need to be willing to think about what you are learning, and to consider how you can apply it in your life. To do this, it is usually helpful to share your ideas and interpretations with other Bible students for discussion and evaluation. We can learn from each other. This is why we encourage you to discuss Bible topics by e-mail.

Bible study is stimulating and life-changing. Study of the Bible can affect your life as no other study can. You will experience a new satisfaction as you learn to make your own judgements based on firm principles, and the Bible will become more alive and powerful in your life. Remember, you are intended to understand this remarkable book and to meet God in its pages.

The all important thing is attitude.

When you read the Bible, have an open mind - let it teach you.

How to read

  • Read Aloud. This may seem ridiculous if you are alone, but the human mind is amazing. While you read, you can also be planning what you’re going to do next, and finish a chapter wondering what you just read. Reading aloud doesn’t solve the problem but it helps the mind to focus.
  • Listen for "echoes".
  • Ask yourself questions. Here are some useful ones:-
    1. (You don’t need to ask all these questions about every passage; quite often one will spark off an interesting line of thought.)
    2. What is the main subject.
    3. Who are the main people.
    4. What does it say about God or Christ?
    5. What is the central lesson?
    6. What example is there to follow?
    7. What do I need most in this chapter to apply to my life today?
    8. Are there cross-references that can be used to develop the theme of the passage or help my understanding?
    9. Are there any words I should look up to clarify a definition?
  • Be patient. Don't read too much at once.
  • Use other translations.
    It can help to understand a passage if you look at another translation.
    Again bear in mind which translations follow the original text the closest.
  • Use study tools.
    We will look at these in greater detail in session 5.

Optional Assignment 5

Effective Bible reading
Using the “Bible Companion” reading table, pick one of the readings for today and ask one or two of the questions about “Echoes”, trying to find answers which satisfy you.
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