I Repeat: Get Into the Bible!

I’ve leaned a lot, lately, on getting into the Word of God, making the Bible a vital part of your daily walk. And I’m not just talking about reading a chapter a day so you can mark it off some checklist. James 1:22 (NLT) hands out a warning: “But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

Most people who call themselves Christians think the Bible is optional. They’re wrong. It’s not. Period. It is no more optional than food is. Without food, our bodies aren’t healthy. Without the Word, our spirits aren’t healthy.

And don’t think you get enough Word while sitting in a pew on Sunday morning. You don’t. I don’t care how good your pastor is, he cannot “feed” you enough to make you grow into a mature, healthy Christian. That requires you digging into the Word for yourself on a regular basis, just like you eat meals regularly. If you doubt me, I challenge to you read – truly read – Hebrews or James and see what those ministers had to say about the importance of actively making God’s Word part of you.

Fact: It’s easy to assume you don’t need something you don’t have. I can testify to that on a physical level. For years, I’ve been dealing with some issues that I finally took to my NP friend who put me on a supplement that not only dealt with those issues but others as well. I had no idea I needed this stuff, but I did. The same holds true for the Word of God in our lives.

Am I hitting hard on this today? Yes. I try to be kind and loving and all of that, but I see great unrest in the church, many who are giving up because they don’t know how to fight, others who… Not going there. I’ll just say this: In all the falling away that I see happening, one thing that seems consistent is a lack of grounding in the Bible. Our faith must be rooted in the Word of God. Jesus, in the Parable of the Sower, in Mark 4:17, says, “But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.” As I see it, one of the largest failures in the church today is the failure to develop a relationship with The Word. 

In case you don’t realize it… John 1:1-2 (NLT)
“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.”

The Word is Jesus. Jesus is the Word. Do you want to know Jesus? Well, then…

So yes, if you are a member of the majority that hasn’t made the Bible a priority in your life, I challenge you to adjust your priorities right now. With the challenge, I’ll also suggest two tools that can help you start and maintain a Bible habit.

First, because it goes into a lot about Bibles and how to study as well as offering reviews and a whole section that gives you the chance to apply my personal Bible study method, I encourage you to snag a copy of my book, Experiencing the Bible. It comes in three formats.

Experiencing the Bible: A Guide and Journal

In Experiencing the Bible, I not only explain various study methods, including my own, but also give you the chance to try my method out for yourself. Part two of the print version is literally passages from the Bible accompanied by my personal reactions to them, all running parallel with journaling lines that allow you to respond to the passages I’m focusing on.

Experiencing the Bible is also available for ebook lovers. You can get it at Amazon. You can also find it in a variety of formats at Smashwords. (Hint: At Smashwords you set the price. Honestly, you can pay whatever you want, including nothing!)

If you prefer to listen to your books, Experiencing the Bible is also available on Amazon in audiobook format, recorded by Nancy Higgins.

Experiencing the Bible Journal
Obviously, the ebook and audiobook versions don’t offer the journaling option, but you can still read or listen to my notes and then pause to journal your own. Any paper will do, of course, but I went ahead and created a matching journal as well. 

Through the Word Bible App
(Excerpted from Experiencing the Bible)

I’ve used the Through the Word app pretty much every day since I first discovered it. The concept is simple. They’ve put together teachings on every chapter in the Bible and then offered up a variety of ways in which to listen to them. 

To start, download the Through the Word app, register, and then take time to complete their introductory session. While you might want to dive right in (and you can, by heading straight to Browse), it really is best to start here. I know because I didn’t and wish I had. 

Once you’re ready, you can walk through the Bible one book at a time in any order, or you can browse their topical options under “Bible Journeys” or “Bible Topics.” My first foray was into their End Times collection, which uses chapters from Daniel, Thessalonians, Jude, Revelation, Proverbs, Joel, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter, and I could not limit myself to one session a day. The things I found myself learning were fascinating and valuable! 

Since my current course is to read through the whole Bible, I’m working through the books in order, and I’ve fallen into a rhythm with its chapter-by-chapter audio guides. I begin by reading the current chapter in my Bible, making notes as I read, then I listen to the audio guide, usually making more notes as I do. I learn so much in these short messages! And when I say short, I’m talking less than 10 minutes per chapter. At the completion of each chapter’s audio guide, I’ll then listen to a reading of that chapter in whatever translation I’ve chosen. 

The app offers options. Hit browse and you’ll see that you can follow various Bible Journeys. (i.e., The Big Picture [Overview of the Bible in 25 key chapters], Foundations [Genesis, Daniel, Romans], Glory & Grace [Isaiah, Galatians, 1 Corinthians]) You can also select specific chapters, Study by topic (i.e., Faith, Peace, Marriage, Anxiety, Prayer), or choose selections from your preferred teacher. 

The commentaries are done by a variety of teachers: Kris Langham, Peyton Jones, Jonathan Ferguson, Sandy Adams, and Skip Heitzig. Each has his own personality and presentation style, and I appreciate them all. 

One thing you’ll want to do right away is hit Settings and choose your preferred Bible translation so that you’re listening to the passages in the version that best serves you. Your options as of this writing are CSB, ESV, NIV, and NLT. 

All of this is FREE. You will have the opportunity to make donations to the ministry to help keep it free, but you’re never asked for money; you’ll hardly ever hear money mentioned at all. 

CURRENT NOTE: There have been updates, including the introduction of some new instructors, since I wrote that review. They’ve also recently released a major app update that, among other things, introduces the option of inviting others to join you in your studies. I am looking forward to trying this option!

Please, understand that I only hit hard on things like this because I care. The Christian walk isn’t easy. It isn’t supposed to be easy. We’re caught up in a war with the devil whether we like it or not, and babies don’t fight battles.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C