The Bible is very comfortable with the idea that you can talk to God. Depending on the Bible version you look at ‘prayer’ is referenced over six hundred and fifty times!
If you could not be present, what factors would you find helpful to establish the truth of an event today?
What place should the Bible have in a Christians life? Any tips?
An essential Christian discipline is to read or listen to the Bible regularly through the week. It would be a shame if the secular news cycle had more of a voice into your life each week than the Word of God.
The battle to put the Word of God before the word of the world is ongoing. Each time you read or watch the news (an activity which in itself is not wrong), you subject yourself to the opinions of the journalist who is accountable only to an opinion that makes news! Our secular press are rarely accountable to anyone but their ratings – it is not difficult for truth to get lost or skewed in the pursuit of a growing readership.
How is it that the Bible arrives in the form we have it?
The Apostle Paul, along with Timothy, writing to the church in Thessalonica said:
‘we thank God continually because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
The word received, was handled down by God through those who had first heard it and their job was to tell others.
Of course that begs the question – how can the Bible be from men but really from God? How can we be sure that humans who spoke and wrote actually have the spoken and written word that God wanted them to express?
The clearest way to know God is to listen to what he says!
One of the first things that we learn about God in the opening Chapter of the Bible is that he talks. ‘In the beginning God created’ and how did he do that? By his word ‘And God said: ‘Let there be light’…., and then God said: ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters…, and then God said: ‘let there be sky’… and so it goes on for seven days (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
Each of the special acts of creation come about by the word of God. What he creates is new and wonderful and he does that by uttering his words.
If the significance of that is lost on you, give it a go! Test the power of your words. Create something by your words and only your words – ‘Let there be a ham sandwich’! How did you go? I think I can guess!
Christians are people of the Word – the written and spoken word. I am not saying that Christians are just bookworms, but I am saying that at ground zero, a Christian is shaped by God’s Word. It informs, it motivates, it comforts, it rebukes, it sharpens, it directs and does so all by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you have just become a Christian you are faced with this big volume of 2 testaments, 66 books, 1189 chapters, 31,103 verses and you may think – is it worth it, how do I read it, where do I start?
And if you have been Christian for a while, then you may recognise the struggle it often is to read the Bible regularly and well – to let the Bible work on your heart and change your mind and apply to your behaviour. In short, to shape your life.
They are good concerns.
Yet, without the Bible, a person will struggle to grasp the fundamental Christian truth that while they were still a sinner, Christ died for them (Romans 5:8). Without the Bible it is impossible to understand what it really means to be Christian.
Don’t run away from the Bible – ground yourself with it!
For more in this Series:
Listening to the Word
Grounded in the Word
God makes himself known – look around!
God makes himself known – look at ourselves!
God makes himself known – look his Word!
How can the Bible be from men but also from God?
What does a Christian do with the Bible?
How can I trust that what was written down in the Bible is reliable?
I had never read anything like it! It was amazing, it was as if the words were leaping off the page and calling out to me – these words were for me!
Those chariot journeys were a good time to read and reflect. Work was so busy and so much was asked of me. My day job is Head Official overseeing the Royal Treasury. I like the responsibility and I feel honoured to be working for the Ethiopian Queen making sure my people are provided for well. Not all eunuchs are given much respect so I know I am in a fortunate position.
I can’t tell you how I came across the scroll but I have to say it blew my mind.
Christians are people of words – help yourself become a good reader. Here are 10 core titles that would give you a solid grounding and a good start.
- The Bible!
If you could only read one book then make sure it is the Bible. A great deal – 66 books in one volume! Win. Good translations (of the many out there) include the New International Version, the Holman Bible, the English Standard Version, the King James Version (if you like older language) and most recently the Christian Standard Bible. My suggestion is pick the translation above that is used in your Church sermons.
2. More than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell
This is a good little book which will introduce you to Jesus. If you are looking for a good book to give to someone you want to introduce to Jesus – this will do you well.
3. Knowing God – J.I. Packer
This book gives you a good basis in Christian Truth. God by nature is so big and amazing, this is a helpful book to get you looking at the character and concerns of God.
4. The Atonement – by L. Morris or The Cross of Christ –by J. Stott
Both of these books aim to help the reader understand the significance of the cross of Christ. The most recent edition of the John Stott’s The Cross of Christ comes with an excellent study guide.
5. According to Plan – Graeme Goldsworthy
This book will help you understand how the Bible fits together – it helpfully looks at God’s unfolding salvation plan fulfilled by Jesus (Biblical Theology). If you find this book a little heavy, then God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts may be a good alternative.
6. Reason for God – Tim Keller
This book give you a good basis for defending your faith. For the believer or the skeptic, this is an engaging read.
7. Praying with Paul : A Call for Spiritual Reformation – D.A. Carson
This book will give you good basis for thinking about prayer and then challenge you to pray.
8. The Trellis and the Vine – C.M. Marshall and T Payne
This book is a practical ministry book which places the ‘how’ of ministry in the context of the ‘why’.
9. Disciplines of a Godly Man – R.Kent Hughes or Disciplines of a Godly Woman – Barbara Hughes
These books aim to help the Christian man or woman give attention to practices of godliness. Very helpful.
10. Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity – P. Barnett
Understanding the original setting into which Jesus arrived and from which his good news first spread is helpful for understanding the historical importance of Christianity. This book is a great introduction.
For a helpful article on ‘Active Reading’ from Chris Metcalf go here.
Feel free to offer other suggestions (and why) in the comments.
‘Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!’ – Psalm 32:11
Sermon ‘Rejoice In The Lord And Be Glad’ (Psalm 32) by Ken Noakes is available in audio and video: http://bit.ly/2gQJCy7
Read the Bible text: http://bit.ly/2hHaSnL
English Support Document PDF: http://bit.ly/2hLLnl7