One of the most dominant themes in the Bible — Old Testament and New Testament alike — is the importance of reading, studying, memorizing, knowing, and meditating upon God's written Word. For example, God told Joshua, the man charged with the responsibility of leading the Jewish people into the Promised Land, “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:7–8).
There is a theme running throughout the Bible, and it's this: A huge part of being a believer is spending time reading, studying, meditating, and personally applying God's written Word. Still, the problem for many Christians is that they don't know how to approach reading and studying the Bible. Do they just start at Genesis and work their way through to the end of Revelation? Do they just start with a book whose name sounds good to them that day? Or do they just concentrate on the New Testament?
Answering these questions by providing ways you can easily follow to read and study the Bible is the reason for this book. As you read through it, you will learn some of the methods of reading and studying the Bible, some of the benefits of Bible study, some of the uses for Scripture, and, of course, some actual Bible studies.
As you learn to study the Bible for yourself, you will find that just making the effort can be quite challenging. But as you figure out what method works best for you, you will realize that reading the Bible is not just challenging (you should always feel challenged and even provoked when you read God's Word) but also enjoyable and enlightening.
One final thing we want you to understand about the Bible before you launch into your own personal study: When it comes to the big picture of the Bible, the following anonymous quotation sums up what the Bible is all about: “In the Old Testament we have Jesus predicted. In the Gospels we have Jesus revealed. In Acts we have Jesus preached. In the Epistles we have Jesus explained. In the Revelation we have Jesus expected.”
From “In the beginning …” on, every word in the Bible points to the fulfillment of God's promise and plan to bring salvation to all humankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. So as you learn to study the Bible for yourself, keep in mind that every word you read — every promise, challenge, and story — between its covers is about Jesus and what he means to you.
The first four sections provide a background to the Bible and how to study it. The bulk of this book presents what we consider to be among the most important sections of the entire Bible. If you want to study the Bible comprehensively you won't want to neglect these. We try to provide the background, meaning, and potential application to life that you will need to truly profit from what is important in Scripture.
So as you read this book, allow yourself to learn to read and study the Bible! As you do, you'll find out that it is in every way a great book — the greatest!