Seekers and those who have just become believers often ask how to read the Bible. When we open the Bible, we can see 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament; then which book should we read first? There are many explanations and materials on how to read the Bible, but most of them are from a human perspective.
The purpose (attitude) of people’s reading of the Bible is also different: some people read the Bible to learn more about the content of the Bible; some people want to grasp the basic knowledge of the Bible so as to be consistent with their Christian status; some people want to explain the Bible to others and share the gospel. Many people also study the Bible in Sunday schools of churches or listening to the pastor’s sermons. Of course, there are still people who study the Bible in order to experience a rich new life. Here I share with you about studying the Bible guided by Jesus, that is, to understand the way of Jesus, fully grasp the truth of Jesus, and let yourself be filled with the rich life in Jesus.
Reading the Bible led by Jesus is to read the Bible on everything about Jesus. Therefore, we ought to read the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and firstly read the Gospel of John carefully. After you have read these four gospels, you will encounter this situation: these four gospels record many similarities and differences. The teachings of Jesus are scattered in these eighty-nine chapters, and it seems difficult to generalize.
Compared with the complete narrative of Paul’s letters, most of the Bible recorders chosen by God selectively recorded the teachings and testimonies of Jesus. As a result, when we read the Gospels, we feel as if we are choosing what we want in a dazzling array of antique shops, and we don’t know how to systematically summarize the complete and systematic theory taught by the Lord Jesus. For this reason, I’m discussing and summarizing the theory of Jesus Truth in several columns on the website of Exposingmysteries.org, and pointed out that the axis is Jesus’ way, truth and life. In this way, we should keep thinking guided by Jesus in reading the Bible aligned with this axis, imitating Jesus’ testimony in the image of a human, and following all the teachings of Jesus in the inner and all aspects of life.
First of all, we must keep reading till the moment when we understand the way of Jesus; this is to know the incarnation of God and the deity of Jesus. In this regard, we should pay attention to Jesus’ application of Old Testament verses in His teaching, so that we can not only understand the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, but also grasp the difference between the two. And we must pay special attention to the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus: because Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44) Thus, we’d better use the Bible with beaded annotations.
When reading the Gospels, we may see Old Testament verses quoted by Jesus, we can compare the source of that verse and briefly look at the context of the related verses. Therefore, we can understand from the Old Testament part of the Bible that God not only predicted the incarnation of Jesus through the Bible, but also prepared the personnel, scenes, and historical background for Jesus’ preaching through the religion of the Israelites. On the basis of this kind of reading, we must also understand the purpose and significance of God’s incarnation: This is not only the Lord Jesus giving us salvation on the cross, but more importantly, the Lord established His example of how to pursuing eternal life for all those who truly believe in Him. So, the result of our Bible reading at this level is: we must fear the Lord Jesus in our hearts, and be willing to listen to all His teachings and follow His example.
Secondly, we must fully understand that the core of biblical truth is Jesus and all His teachings and testimonies. When we read the Gospels of John, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we must find out that Jesus Truth is not a religion; this may help us to pursue the truth and life of the Lord alone instead of indulging in religious beliefs. When we see the Lord Jesus speaking or comparing the Old Testament law in the gospels, we must understand the historical heritage and differences between Jesus Truth and the Law of Moses (John 1:17). In this way, we will understand that Jesus Truth is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses; because the law only restricts the behavior of believers, but does not govern the soul. But Jesus Truth can start the process of renewing people’s hearts, and then to continuously renew the lives and lifestyles of believers.
When we carefully study and think about the teachings of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John, we may understand that the specific content of Jesus Truth is the new life in the Lord. Believers start with the rebirth of life, bear fruit in the Lord Jesus, and experience a rich new life. And the result of our Bible reading at this level is: to understand the true relationship between faith and life is realized through the new life in the Lord; and we need to rely on the truth of the Bible and the help of the Holy Spirit to get a new life. For this reason, we must follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus to see if we have received a new life. If you haven’t got it yet, please click ” Eternal Life“.
Finally, we should apply the results of the above-mentioned Bible reading to our daily life renewal and life content. And we should conduct daily Bible reading and prayer according to three points. First, we should read the scriptures as our homework of renewing our life character; the core point is to imitate the Lord Jesus’s model, take up the cross to crucify the old life character, so as to obtain the new life character in the Lord. Therefore, we must learn from the Lord Jesus’ humility and self-denial, and be able to forgive others for their sins by relying on God’s unconditional love.
On how to imitate Jesus, we can refer to the testimony of the apostle Paul, especially in the book of Galatians, he tells us how to crucify our own selfishness and desires, and rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to produce the good fruit of the character of new life; this is “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ” (5:22- 23) Therefore, Christians cannot lie, nor can they be greedy, nor can they commit behavioral crimes. To be honest, it is very difficult for us to renew our life character in the Lord, because we often have the lust of the flesh and Satan’s temptation to fight against our new life; this is a spiritual battle between spirit and flesh, or like Paul mentioned in Romans Chapter 6 to 8. To this end, we must not only read the Bible seriously, but also digest the teachings of God into our lives, and obey the counsel and guidance of the Holy Spirit to win the victory in the spiritual battle again and again, and thus continue to grow in the Lord Jesus.
The second point, we should read the scriptures with our own life attitude, lifestyle, and life content; and this is more realistic to imitate the Lord Jesus. Therefore, we must learn the obedience of Jesus and let God be the master of our lives; this means that we must put God first in our lives. When we can do this, we can understand what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples: You do not belong to the world. At the same time, we can also refer to the teachings of Paul and John to believers through the letters of the Bible by reading commentary and beaded verses, so that we can live a healthy and simple life that does not love the world but only loves God. Our life is different from the worldly lifestyle of comparison and enjoyment.
When we practice this kind of life that pleases God, we become God’s stewards, see everything we have as an inheritance God entrusts us to manage. And we should give tithe or more of our income to the kingdom of God to support the work of evangelism. Today, many Christians find it difficult to do in this aspect of the Bible reading and practice; because they still love the world and have not let God be the master in their lives; and of course, they are reluctant to follow all the teachings of the Lord Jesus. For this reason, we must obey Jesus Truth and the help of the Holy Spirit with the fear of God in our Bible study, prayer and spiritual practice.
Third, we must also read the Scriptures with the practical actions of participating in the Great Commission for the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus’ command to ask His disciples to preach the gospel is not to stay on one generation, but to teach and command all Christians who sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus through the Bible, so that they are willing to dedicate their lives to the Lord as salt and light, and to spread the gospel to more people. Therefore, we must understand God’s will and heart through reading the Bible, which is to allow us to constantly renew our lives and continue to bear fruits in the process of witnessing the Lord’s new life. And the Lord Jesus also used parables to teach us that when the Lord returns, God will reward those loyal and good servants. However, when we enter the journey of evangelism, we will face many challenges and even persecution; this will make some believers timid. So, we must read the scriptures with hungry and thirsty heart so that the power of God’s Word may strengthen our faith and encourage us to walk with God on the narrow path of evangelism every day until the day we meet the Lord.
In general, the Bible reading guided by Jesus allows us to grasp the teachings and styles of the Lord and be willing to accept the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practice Jesus Truth in the new life in the Lord. Very truly, the main lessons of Jesus Truth are simple, easy to understand and profound, which can be understood by those who sincerely believe in the Lord. Therefore, we cannot use our inability as an excuse to avoid following God’s teachings. Moreover, our daily reading of the scriptures should be aimed at our own lives, and we should continue to renew our lives in the Lord Jesus through the whole life of reading the scriptures. For further study of Jesus Truth, please refer to more articles and video programs on the website of Living in Jesus Ministries. May the way, the truth and the life of the Lord Jesus enable us to experience a rich new life and give glory to God.
H. Moses Sun Wrote this article. The first edition in Chinese was published on April 30, 2015. The second edition in Chinese was published on January 7, 2021. The edition of translation was published on January 12, 2021.
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