However, whenever, with whatever approach, or state of mind at that time, this is the way to read the Bible. I have shared that I often just open the Bible (in book format) and start reading. I might read the whole chapter, one verse, or skip again after some reading, but I most often hear something that struck, awed or comforted me. I shared this with our new preacher and in his next sermon he warned that this was bad and might lead one into error. A book I’m reading, echoed the same sentiment and added the same story, that a person opened the Bible and read, “He went out and hanged himself”, read on and found, “Do it quickly”,…. It’s a humorous story to make a point, but do such cautions proceed from faith or are they worldly wisdom employed as a device?
The Bible does say that we should correctly handle the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2: 15). This applies to the story above where only an idiot extracts words out of context with no sincere desire to listen and certainly without the help of the Holy Spirit. However, the passage refers to the futility of quarrels over words, godless chatter, and foolish arguments. Moreover, it admonishes believers who study God’s word to encompass the full scope of scripture to arrive at a position of wisdom, rather than tunnel vision. Nevertheless, we hear speakers who defend their doctrines, opinions, interpretations, and preferences against all others. This doesn’t mean that there is any deficiency in God’s Word, but rather man’s ability to employ human reasoning in regard to a proper understanding of it.
The Bible is understandable and embodies the message of God to mankind. It is a supernatural conveyance as Spirit it is spiritual, transcending the natural limit of human reason and intelligence. This is explained in scripture, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4: 12). Should the leading of the Spirit be excluded from any activity in which the Believer engages?
Returning to the method of reading scripture, I see no reason to limit any sincere inquiry. In fact, many people witness God’s communication through His Word. Prayer is also communication with the Almighty and may transpire at various times and manors, none are to be discouraged. The prayers of little children may be limited, but it would be foolish to suggest that God would disdain children because of the simplicity of their prayers. It is easy to forget that teachers/preachers delight in giving instruction – “How to do this”, “What this means”, and “Someone once said…”. There are numerous bible reading plans. This is mine; ask the Holy Spirit to lead you according to His will, have faith that your request will be answered, open and begin to read. Open where you left off yesterday, if you wish to maintain continuity. The merit and value of my suggestion is wholly dependent upon the operation of the Holy Spirit. The amount of criticism and ridicule I’ve received over this simple concept is out of proportion to reality, but it is probably due to a limited view of the Spirit’s power. Without faith it is impossible to please God. One may apply all sorts of study, analysis, and walk away unchanged, because human reasoning is worthless in Spiritual matters. Nicodemus struggled to understand being born again with all his education, analysis, and reason. Yeshua replied, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3: 6). Lord, Yeshua give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hunger for your word.