Before You Read Your Bible


The best way to prepare for your day is to start with time spent with the Lord, in his Word and in prayer. But even this requires preparation--preparation of the heart. Now, I’m assuming every mature believer is in the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer. If you don’t practice this, it’s time for you to graduate from spiritual kindergarten. Let this be a gentle rebuke and honest encouragement to begin this discipline.

So, how can we prepare our hearts to meet with the Lord each day? Here are four presuppositions that should shape the way we approach the Bible:

1. The Bible is God’s Word.

Reminding yourself of this will inform the mind of the need to submit to God’s authority. The very words, not just the concepts and ideas, are “God-breathed.” It is His Word, and therefore it is infallible--a perfectly safe and reliable guide for whatever lies before you through the rest of your day. As you open the book, ask the Lord to open your heart to hear and obey.

2. The Bible is understandable.

I’ve had people say the Bible is hard to understand. Some get discouraged when they fail to comprehend and give up. To this I would say, keep going! Don’t give up. Even the Apostle Peter had to admit that some of Paul’s writings were difficult to understand (see 2 Peter 3:16). As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to reveal what God is saying. Pray with the Psalmist, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)

A.W. Tozer wrote, “The Bible was written in tears, and to tears it yields its best treasures.” It’s always too soon to give up on reading the Bible. Persevere and wait on the Lord. He will open the Bible to those whose hearts are hungry. Keep digging and you will find precious treasure.

At the same time, recognize that we will never understand the Bible completely. We may even misunderstand it at times. But we will certainly not understand without effort.

3. The Bible requires obedience.

It’s one thing to understand what the writers of Scripture intended to communicate, it’s another to comprehend how to apply it to our lives. We don’t just read the Bible to know what it says, we must read it to obey what it says. As we open the Bible, let us remind ourselves that we are accountable for what we read.

Determine like Ezra, the faithful scribe, of whom the Bible says, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10) Should we expect to get anything out of the Bible if our hearts are not tuned to obey it? Paul instructed Timothy to study the Scriptures in order to “present himself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Should we expect to get anything out of the Bible if our hearts are not tuned to obey it?

4. The Bible rejects self-reliance.

Applying the Bible to life requires complete dependence on God. As the Holy Spirit reveals truth and shows us how to live, we must rely on Him to enable our obedience. The Bible was written so that we might be transformed by it (see Romans 12:2). Such change is what happens when a person truly encounters the living God, and it will never happen apart from his help.

So, how are things going with you and your Bible? Have you been discouraged because it often seems difficult to understand? Are you neglecting your Bible? Is there an area of your life that fails to conform to Scriptural doctrine? Or maybe your life has become so hectic you just never seem to have the time to read your Bible. I hope you will be encouraged to make the necessary sacrifice and prepare your heart daily to seek the Lord in His Word.

Jason DeRouchie wrote, “putting the Bible under a microscope (careful study) should always result in finding ourselves under its microscope, as Scripture changes us more into Christ’s likeness.” There’s no better way to bring your life into clear focus.

Four presuppositions that should shape the way we approach the Bible daily