and How Should We Read the Bible?
Robbie L. Rogers
I titled the above picture,
"The Good Shepard and Helper." The Shepard guides His flock by
walking in the way they should go. Notice
the Shepard has a dog with Him; I named him "Helper". My how eager Helper works,
keeping order in the flock. The sheep are calm, trusting both the
Shepard and Helper. Yet, they know from experience Helper will nip at
them if they need it. This is often how Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit
guide us. Holy Spirit has often been characterized in the past as the
"Hound of God."
Why is that, you say?
As in the photographic
example God's hound will always be after you once you are included in
the flock. He will never leave you alone, to die lost in the fields
where you might have wandered astray; he will find you and bring you
back, unless you be come stubborn and refuse to budge no matter what
God's Holy Spirit does to bring you back. Then the worst happens,
He will leave you alone to your own desires..
Actually though it is hard to
comprehend, our names were written in His book of life before our life
even began so we all, whether we accept it or not, are His sheep and He
will go after us even before we acknowledge Him..
Okay, so WHY should we read
To find the truth, that's one
reason. "Man shall not live by bread alone........ He must have
Is that the right quote?
Okay then, what is the right
How do we know which is
Turn to the Bible and Math
4:1-4. "Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy
Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. For forty days and forty nights
he ate nothing and became very hungry. Then the Devil came and said to
him, "If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of
bread." But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People
need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of
Did you notice how Jesus
quoted scripture to Satan? We should do the same when we are
circumstanced to confront evil in our life. But notice, Satan
quoted scripture to Jesus first, one more reason to learn it, that you
may not be deceived.
When you were going to school
did you study hard, fearful of not passing? Since you became Christian
have you done the same? With God the life you lead is your exam.
Ecclesiastes was written by
King Solomon, the richest, most powerful, wisest man who ever lived. He
said life boils down to: nothing on earth is worth doing, nothing is
lasting, nothing will bring you joy, except that it be done according to
and through God.
Sitting in the pew won't get
it I promise you!.
The noun CHRISTIAN ought to
be classified as a verb. Being a Christian requires
action. Too many leave the great commission that Jesus called us to to
others. You need a personal relationship with Jesus AND, you can't truly
know God without prayer and studying scriptures, DAILY!"
Why daily?" You say.
"The Bible is alive,....
it speaks to me..... It has feet..... It runs after me..... It loves me
from cradle to grave,".... so said Martin Luther........ and me.
How do we know this is true?
It's in the book. Read it .
Let's turn to Psalm 139:1-6,
13-16, 23, 24. I am skipping around here, please read the whole Psalm
when you can.
"O Lord, you have
examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or
stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path
ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know
where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my
head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to
"You made all the
delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's
womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship
is marvelous--and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being
formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the
womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in
your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had
"Search me, O God, and
know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me
that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
You should mark this Psalm in
your bible, maybe even making it a guide to you when you pray. It is full of promises to you from God. It has always been
important to me. God knew me before I was born, and you too! I believe
that. Why? It's in the book; and, Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 44:24 and Job
10:11 says virtually the same thing and don't you forget it. You were
fearfully made. Don't let Satan or anybody else put you down.
The Old Testament
in sections similar to a library: Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets
and Minor Prophets. The New Testament is also sectioned: Gospels,
History, Letters from Paul, General Letters and Prophecy.
Don't try to read the Bible
as one book, you'll get lost. Read each book separately, referencing back
and forth, they agree with one another. Though each book is a separate
book, each remains fully capable of standing alone. We'll get into how to study
The Bible is the most
important book on the face of the earth. Written over 1,500 years ago by
the Holy Spirit through 40 different authors, it remains the single most popular, powerful, and
precious collection of books ever written.
There is no question as to
the authenticity of the Bible. This is worth noting: the entire "accepted history of
mankind" was reportedly written during when the new testament was
also recorded survived in
manuscripts, written in only two languages, and written anywhere from 900
to 1,000 years after the actual events took place.
Greek 10,000 Latin
On-the-other-hand, while some
of those books do in fact mention happenings recorded in the New
Testament, almost 25,000 copies remain of the manuscripts
which are contained in the Bible, written from 130a.d. to
350a.d. in more than three different languages.
Obviously the Bible contains a much more concise and true accounting, if
you consider time and numbers that survived as a measuring stick.
If you still
have trouble with this aspect of the Bible read: Lee Strobel's "The Case For
Christ." This book is a well respected and credentialed journalist
investigator's record of trying to disprove
the scriptures about Jesus. Lee Strobel is now, after finding the truth,
a Lay Pastor in one of the biggest Christian Churches in Saint Louis.
The Bible contains the
history of thousands of generations of people falling in and out of love
with God. What you will never find is any part which says God ever did
anything, but, love his people. Through it all God ran after them; and He
continues to do so today, to each one of us, or else you would not be
sitting there reading this!
If you don't
believe it, read it..... it's in the book.
The Bible reveals the person
of Jesus Christ, in a portrait so to speak. The Old Testament is the
background. The Gospels display the figure. The Epistles are the
clothes. While reading our Biblical painting, so to speak, a miracle happens, the
figure 9the Bible) springs to life and we begin to see Jesus in it all.
There is a parchment that
hangs in our Church's office that uses God's Words of the New Testament
as the medium. If you stand back you see a portrait of Jesus; but on
closer examination you see the entire drawing is made up of scripture,
the entire New Testament is used to depict Jesus. Much like what God intends for us to receive when we
read, study, and inwardly digest His Holy Word. In fact, if you can see
and accept it all of God's creation points to Jesus!
Don't give up if you get
confused when you read the Bible, ask God to reveal what He has for you.
Even the disciples were sometimes confused.
As stated in Psalm 19, by
studying God's Word, "the day will truly pour forth His speech...
and the night reveal His knowledge.... Making wise the simple."
The Bible is the
greatest HOW TO DO IT book ever written. That does not mean there are
no difficult parts in the Bible. Peter even found some of Paul's letters
hard to understand. After all the Biblical passages were written by kings,
scholars, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, historians, and
doctors, in different types of literature, in history, poetry, prophecy,
apocalyptic-writings, and letters.
When we do any kind of research we must
exercise a level of faith, depending on others to do their job or why do
it at all.
Like when we pump gas at the
station and milk doesn't come out. We must accept some work as right or
we will drive ourselves crazy examining details already proven.
How do you use a yardstick on
things like that, you say?
All acceptable scripture is
inspired by God.
How can I say that? Turn to
II Timothy 3:16,17 and 2 Peter 1:20,21. It's in the book,
Many of us have depended on a
sort of osmosis attempt to live our lives, Letting the world teach us is
not often very wise.
I've read the bible, you say,
at least part of it, the parts that make sense.
Well my friend, you failed to
comprehend the completeness that the Bible contains.
Since when does it talk about
the stock market, my teenage son who won't come home at night, my wife
who tells me I'm from Mars and she's from Venus, you say?
Have you read it? I mean
really read it; or did you only read it when you were in trouble, like I
used to do?
I submit: if you are not
studying the scriptures on how they apply to your life, and praying
daily; you're saying to God, I can handle this job all by myself, I'll
let you know when I need you.
If that describes your
knowledge and closeness to God then hang onto your hat. As you begin
truly allowing Holy Spirit to disclose scriptures to you, you are in for
the JOY-ride of your life. You will learn how to become a more complete
and successful person, a Christian. Instead of being fed to the lions,
you will be triumphant.
However, being a Christian is
a life-long process that simply begins when you turn your life around
inviting, Jesus into it.
Look at Romans 10:9, 11, 13,
17. "For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
saved... Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed...
Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.... Yet
faith comes from listening to this message of good news--the Good News
As you read, mark your bible,
study it, like your life depended on it, for it does. Not your eternal
life though, for that is a gift; but, your new life does, the here and
now, the Kingdom of God on earth, in Destin, at your church, at your
house where ever you are, what ever your condition.
Remember the Bible is a
collection of many books. Within each books are chapters and verses. As
I said before, read each book as a book. If you want to follow the
natural progression as it relates to time, then, get a study guide
explaining when each book in the Bible was written. I recommend Max
Ander's "30 Days to Understanding the Bible."
When you're finished don't
say I finally finished; now I won't have to do that again. Through
reading the Bible God brings to us an ever abiding faith enabling us to
be more like Him. It brings Joy and peace in the midst of a storm. It
gives guidance. It offers health and healing to those who are sick.
Bible sales in North America
amount to more than half a billion dollars per year; the average
American household has three bibles, and 27% have five or more.
How many of those Bibles are
read and studied? Your guess is as good as
mine, looking at our current moral standards not enough I say. Yet. Not long ago, to have
one Bible in Russia was a crime punishable by death. It still is in some
Eight million Christian
Sudanese are in prisoner work camps, thousands are being slaughtered
there yearly even today. Many teams have been sent into
Uganda, a country that borders to the southeast. Many of the refugees
that fled from such tyranny are ministered to there, creating one of the
most powerful renewal areas in Uganda. However, this world-wide plague
against Christians affects over 400 million people who suffer directly
or from discrimination and legal impediments.
Folks that's like the entire
population of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico..... Moreover 160,000
Christians were killed world-wide in the last 12 months because of their
faith, the equivalent of one 747 airliner going down each day of the
year, with few survivors.
Christians live in China where it remains largely illegal to have a
Bible. Yet, more Christians now worship in China than in all of Western
In Nigeria over 500 thousand
people attended an outdoor Jesus Crusade, during sweltering heat and
unbearable conditions; untold tens of thousands gave their life to
Christ that day; and, that's just one of many such gatherings in Africa.
At one location during our
Africa Mission one of our teams encountered over 1,000 repentant
refugees from Sudan who had been on their knees on the hard red clay for
over 30 minutes, it took over three hours for the team to get around to
all of them; but, they remained on their knees praying to a God they
wanted to know better. Every where our teams went people patiently waited for
hours upon hours for the fresh word from God brought all the way from
Why were they willing to do
this? Read it, it's in the book.
Many hundreds of thousands
have died so this book can be read today.
What is so important about
the Bible? Why would people all over the world risk their life and limb
to possess such a book, you say? The creator of the universe,
gave us a vehicle to know and understand Him.
Imagine the person you
admire the most, living or dead, it's your choice. Now imagine they or their
descendants are giving you not only a biography, but the history of all
their people, the mistakes they made, and on top of that, they reveal
what they and their people personally believe, and know to be true. Wouldn't you want to read
such a book, to find out what their secrets were, their ways of doing
what it is that impresses you. Wouldn't you want to do that.
But, the rules. I don't like
rules. All those thou shall nots are boring and tedious, you say.
Okay, there was a soccer game
in which the referee was late. Another game was scheduled to be played
on the field. Rather than forfeit the game they pressed a reluctant
father into being the referee. The game went fine until infractions were
called, or not called, according to your particular viewpoint.
Pandemonium soon broke loose, and the game stopped, developing into one
big argument. The reluctant referee found himself in the middle of the
fray until the real referee came. Within minutes the game was back to
And why was that, you say ?
Because of the rules. They
were known and followed by the referee, the accepted authority.
No the Bible is not a long
set of rules, it's directions for living, directions on how to do it
all. Inwardly digest it, asking God to reveal His character.
It is wise to start with a
realistic goal for your Bible reading. Don't be too over ambitious, set
aside say seven minutes everyday to start with, then build. I suggest
you start with the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then
study the book of Romans chapters 12-15 and I Corinthians chapters 13
& 14, they will expand your knowledge of what being a Christian is
all about, what God expects of us. If you're reading a version that's
hard for you to read, get an acceptable version that suits you. One
recommended by your church or a mature Christian you look up
Start by picking the time,
place and the amount of reading you plan to do, ask God to speak to you
through the passages you read. Also as you read ask yourself what do
the passages mean. Compare different translations if needed to clarify
them. Who wrote it? Who first read it? When was it written? Where
was it written? Why was it written?
There are many good study
guides, pick up one. If you have a commentary, what does it say? How
does it apply to you, your family, work, neighbors, and the society
around you? Then put what you learn to practice in your life, family and
What are some of the words,
topics, names, and locations of where it happened? Check it out, take
notes, even making an outline and memorizing meaningful parts. Study like
you did in school, write papers, make a journal everyday. It'll do you
good to look back on it.
Read the scriptures with an
open mind letting God reveal Himself to you through Holy Spirit and
His Word, your revelation from God. See how it fits with other
passages. Notice the purpose, pondering in quiet prayer what it means,
study the background, the who, where, why of it.
Learn its theme, the parts
that are special to you. Ask how God's will is
expressed through what you have now learned. How can you carry this new
knowledge throughout the rest of your life?
who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who
builds a house on solid rock. Though the
rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat
against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But
anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person
who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds
beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."
We know what wind and rains
can do, don't we? And who is that rock? Jesus Christ.
Do you see a correlation.
Build your life upon the
Rock, the Rock of Jesus Christ.
And, remember the Bible was
not given to increase our knowledge..... but to increase our knowing of
God, and to change our lives, becoming more useful to His purposes: helping to save those who do not know Him, taking them too, into
When all is said and done the
Bible shouts the true word of God; in reading it, if you desire
to meet the
true author, God Himself. Meet Him today! It'll
do your body good.
you desire to know more about this Jesus Christ who loves you, and you
want to ask Him into your heart, receiving His Saving Grace please
click on this Salvation
For more on the Bible go to
Understanding the Bible