Reading the Bible
The Bible is the best source for our life and faith as followers of Jesus Christ. Our church believes that scriptures exist to help us find and know Christ. Our fourth article of faith states:
We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.(Scriptures to help with this: Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21) We believe that scripture teaches us about God, and about following Christ. So if you would follow Christ, you need to be a student of the Bible.
Here are some resources for your learning and study.
https://www.bible.com - YouVersion.com- Online Bibles, Apps, Reading Plans- audio Bible- all Free!
https://www.biblegateway.com Bible Gateway - another free Bible site
http://www.logos.com/ Logos Bible Software
Here is a note we publish about studying the Bible at Eastside:
People ask about Bible reading. We make this information available to all in case others were interested.
Suggestions as you begin a reading program:
1- READ the Bible- however you do it- in whatever version (though some are better than others)- on tape, online, on CD, large print, small print- READ. God's word is God's gift to us, and we as Christ's followers should take every advantage of the gift of scripture. "The believer who isn't reading God's Word regularly isn't in a vital, life-changing relationship with Christ, and is hurting the Kingdom."
2- Reading the Bible won't save you. A relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord will get you to heaven. But, reading the Bible is one way to build on that relationship, and is vital to a real Christian faith. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
3- Find a way to read that works for you, and use that. You'll see what I try to do, and suggestions from others. But do what God uses best in your life. And go at your pace, not someone else's if you don't want to.
4- Most importantly, Don't read your Bible by yourself. Don't depend on your interpretation and work alone. No one's that smart!
a- Pray to God to help you! The One who gave us the word wants to help us with it!
b- Work with other believers to learn God's word and follow Christ. God made us for relationship, and the Bible was written to the church, not one person. Live in relationships with other believers where you can talk about what you read and how we live that out. In our congregation, Sunday School is the main way to work with others to study the Bible, but there are other ways as well. Ask!
c- Use modern tools to help you study. One link is given here from Crosswalk.com: http://www.biblestudytools.net/. There are others- just look in a search engine for "Bible Study." Feel free to talk with your pastor about God's word- that's one of our jobs & would really encourage most of us!
One of the best new tools is the free multi-platform Bible software You Version (Bible.com ) It works with Apple stuff, smart phones, computers, kindle- everything. And it’s free, with lots of versions, including many which it will read aloud!
You Version has reading plans- pick one if you want, or look at my preferred plan below:
It has four parts, all of which I believe are important. But you can take one or two out and still do well by it.
1- Read a Psalm, or part of one of the larger Psalms, each day. I go through the book one by one until I finish- that takes at least 5-6 months.
This is the "singing" part of the reading- Psalms was Israel's hymnbook- and it is powerful!
2- Read a chapter of Proverbs each day. There are 31- almost like it was planned for daily reading!
This is the "practical" part- every day you will see others & yourself, in the Proverbs, & specific things you can do that day.
3- Read through the rest of the Bible by sections or chapters as you can each day.
This is how you get the breadth of the Bible, God's Word to us in scripture. You can go many different ways, but follow this plan at first:
Begin with the gospels: Matthew, then John, then Mark, then Luke & Acts
Read the epistles (Philippians, Ephesians, Romans and so on through the New Testament)
Read Israel's history (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, Kings & Chronicles)
Israel's writings (Esther, Job, Ruth, Song of Songs & Ecclesiastes)
Israel's prophets, and the Revelation (which is best read after you have heard the rest of the Bible!)
4- Use one of the classic devotional books as an aid. The following would be good resources:
My Utmost for HisHighest (online!) - Oswald Chambers- hard reading, but good stuff!- use with my plan above or something similar
Disciplines forthe Inner Life- Bob & Michael Benson- EXCELLENT work by 2 Nazarene pastors- nothing better- but harder to find
A Guide to Prayer for All God's People- From the Upper Room ($15)
Many other classic devotional works to use will come from the readings in the last two.