Some Bible Reading Food for Thought (and food for your soul!)

Means of Grace

What are the Means of Grace? The Means of Grace are the channels or instruments by which God gives us His undeserved love. Specifically, the Means of Grace is the Gospel in Word and Sacrament.

Personal or Family Bible Reading at Home, or Anywhere

  • If you are already reading your Bible on a regular basis, KEEP IT UP.
  • If you are not currently in the habit of regular personal Bible reading, or if you are looking for some Bible reading suggestions, please consider the following ideas:

You might start small.

Create a manageable plan of Bible reading. You might be surprised how the time committed to this activity will grow naturally.

Did you know?

 If you read your Bible 5 days a week for 5 minutes a day, you will spend over 1300 minutes, or nearly 22 hours, in Bible reading for the year. If you read your Bible 5 days a week for 10 minutes a day, you will spend over 2600 minutes, or nearly 44 hours, in Bible reading for the year. If you read your Bible 5 days a week for 15 minutes a day, you will spend over 3900 minutes, or over 65 hours, in Bible reading for the year. In other words, a few minutes of daily Bible reading really adds up. (If 500 of our members read the Bible 5 days a week for 5 minutes a day, that would total nearly 11,000 hours or about 450 days of Bible reading time.)

The important point is that this is time when you are using the means by which God strengthens your faith!

What part of the Bible should I read?

There are many ways to answer this question. You could begin by reading from cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation. However, most people have a difficult time doing this. You might begin by reading one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). You might also begin by reading a Psalm or two a day. Or consider reading a chapter of a Gospel and a Psalm each day.  There are also numerous good daily reading guides to follow.

Consider the following plans:

    1. Cover to Cover (Genesis to Revelation)
    2. Read one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John)
      Follow up by reading approximately 50 Psalms
      Read several epistles (Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians…)
      Read a second Gospel
      Read Genesis
      Back to the Psalms
      Back to some epistles
      Another Gospel…
    3. Read through the book of Psalms
      Read a Gospel
      Read Genesis
      Read some N. T. epistles
      Read Exodus
      Read another Gospel
      Read Samuel
      More epistles
    4. Read a Gospel chapter and a Psalm per day
      Read Acts and the corresponding epistles
      Read Genesis
      Read another Gospel
      Read Isaiah
    5. “Through My Bible in Three Years” at https://wels.net/serving-you/bible/
    6. https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=NIV

When should I read?

 During this time when many people’s schedules are disrupted due to the health crisis, individuals and families may have greater flexibility with the use of their time. This will, of course, vary from person to person. Following are a few ideas for Bible reading time:

  • Read the first thing in the morning, perhaps getting up 15 minutes earlier (even before your first cup of coffee!)
  • Read as you ride your exercise bike
  • Read during lunch break
  • Read after supper (family devotion time)
  • Read at bedtime (family devotion time)
  • The main point is to make the effort to establish a routine or habit!

What are some good reading methods?

 Consider owning a Bible handbook (Example: Concordia Self-Study Bible) that will assist you in understanding some of the historical and thematic context.

Repeat Methods:

  • Read sections of Scripture two or more times during a single sitting
  • Read the same chapter or book several times consecutively
  • Watch for repeated words, phrases or ideas
  • Read only until you come upon a verse that especially grabs you. Then re-read it, meditate on it, memorize it, pray…

Grammatical Methods:

  • Focus on the verbs as a way to clarify what you are reading.
  • Watch for relationships like cause and effect or supportive arguments.
  • Watch for comparisons (like or as).
  • Be alert to connecting words: since, therefore, because, then, if…
  • Use the acronym P E A C E as you read
    • P romises of God
    • E rrors to confess and avoid
    • A ttitudes to adjust or apply
    • C ommands to follow
    • E xpressions of truth to remember

Personal Application:

  • Read and consider personal application. (What does this mean for me in my life?)
  • Watch for promises, warnings, and counsel to help you and others.
  • Personalize key verses by inserting your name in place of a pronoun or in place of a person who is addressed in the text.
  • Think about how things you are reading might help in future conversations with friends and relatives. (or how they could have helped in previous conversations)
  • Use certain verses as the basis for prayers.

Active Writing:

  • Keep notes, either on a pad or in the margins, as you read.
  • Highlight various passages that strike you.

Use of Questions:      

  • Ask the following four questions as you read:
    • Who?
    • What?
    • Why?
    • How?
  • Ask the following three questions as you read:
    • What does it say? (content)
    • What does it mean? (interpretation)
    • What does it mean for me? (application)
  • Ask the following four questions as you read:
    • What do the verses tell me about God?
    • What do the verses tell me about myself?
    • What do the verses tell me about life?
    • What do the verses encourage me to do?

Law / Gospel:             

  • Think in terms of law and gospel as you read.
    • Do’s. (What we should do.)
    • Don’ts (What we should not do.)
    • What our Lord has done for us.
    • What our Lord is doing for us now.

A Few Others:

  • Read out loud, with emphasis and voice fluctuation.
  • Cross-reference to find other places where a topic is addressed.
  • Look for the essential, main or simple thoughts in parables, illustrations and poetic language.

What are some benefits of regular personal Bible reading?

 We’ll list a few:

  • First, the Holy Spirit uses the Word to strengthen your faith and your personal relationship with Jesus.
  • Second, growing in the Word helps you to stand firm against the devil and his schemes and temptations. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
  • Next, spending more time in God’s Word will increase your spiritual alertness, improve your decision making, and assist you in your prayer life. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
  • Regular reading of God’s Word will help you keep your eyes focused heavenward on Jesus and to not grow weary and lose heart. (see Hebrews 12:2-3)
  • Personal Bible reading will encourage you to keep your priorities in order and, with the Spirit’s help, to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (see Galatians 5:22)
  • As you receive and enjoy these blessings and benefits, your Christian faith becomes more and more your way of life, every day!