Pastor's Thoughts

Get More From the Bible: How to Take A Walk Through a Book

            It is not unusual for someone to read the Bible and forget all about what they read within a couple of hours. Sometimes people even feel they don’t get anything out of Bible reading. I want to give a suggestion that may help you get more from the Bible; take a walk through a book. What I mean is pick a book of the Bible, probably a short one to begin, and find out what the main idea is by reading it all the way through multiple times. Then see how that main idea is talked about in each chapter and paragraph of the book. To give you a practical example, let’s take a walk together through the book of 1 John.

            After reading through 1 John several times, I see that the main idea is something like, “how to know you have eternal life” or “how to know you are a true Christian” based on several statements (2:3, 29, 3:10, 14, 19, 24, 4:7-8, 15, 20, 5:1-2, 13, 18). This book is written so that Christians would have assurance that they truly have fellowship with God and eternal life. For this reason, it would also become apparent who does not have that (who is a non-Christian).

            How is that point made in the book? After an introduction reminding Christians of the message about Christ which leads to fellowship with God (1:1-4) there are two main sections. First, you know you are a true Christian if you walk in the light of God’s ways (1:5--3:10). That means walking in His light (1:5--2:2), obedience to His commands (2:3--11), knowing your spiritual status while avoiding worldly enticements and influences (2:12-27), awaiting Christ’s return with hope as God’s children (2:28--3:3), and practicing righteous conduct (3:4--3:10).

Second, you know you are a true Christian if you walk in the love of God (3:11--5:12). Loving other believers gives confidence before God (3:11--24). Yet, those without the Spirit spread falsehood and are of the world (4:1--6). Love for God’s children and belief in Christ proves one is a child of God with His Spirit (4:7--21). In fact, belief upon Jesus Christ is victory over the world (5:1-12). The book ends with the confidence a true Christian can have (5:13-21).

How did you enjoy our walk? Would you perhaps take a different trail if you did this exercise in 1 John? Either way, the benefits of reading the Bible like this are many. You master the contents of a book of the Bible both for your personal reference and to help others. You see the big picture of what is being taught so you can apply the message to life. You don’t walk away and forget everything you read because you had to think through it. Maybe you could pick another book of the New Testament like Philippians or James and do this yourself. Just enjoy the walk!

 

Pastor Justin