Read to Learn
The purpose of reading the Bible is not to find self-fulfillment, although sometimes that's an easy trap to fall into. There are some questions we can ask ourselves as we read Scripture to make sure we are reading for the right reasons:
- What does this passage teach about God?
- What attributes are on display?
- What work is God doing?
- How does the biblical author point us to God in this text?
- Even though God may not be explicitly mentioned in this text, how is he at work in what is happening? How is he directing "behind the scenes?"
- How does this passage either reveal or reflect the glory of God?
Read to Apply
In addition to these information-gathering questions, we can also ask some application-oriented questions:
- Does this passage offer any models of those who miss the point by not seeing God at work and by not focusing on his glory?
- Does this passage offer any models of those who get the point?
- What can I learn from these negative and positive models?
- What does this text teach me about my own pursuits and agendas?
- What selfish ambitions and pursuits do I need to repent of in light of what I just read in God's Word?
- What have I learned from this text that helps me keep God and his glory at the center of my life?
In short, we need to read the Bible with it's grand mission in mind: God and his glory. It is only by living for his glory that we find what is best for us.
This article is adapted from Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God's Word by Stephen J. Nichols.
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