19 Ways We Use The Bible
1. Search It!
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11.
In order to find answers for life you need to search for them in God’s word. Not elsewhere! The Bible teaches man’s duty and the way to Heaven. The Bible needs to be sought-after in your heart. Are you looking for answers in horoscopes, other religions or worldly magazines, books or digital entertainment sources? No. Direct your heart to search the Bible for everything an any subject whatsoever. God is faithful and true and He should know the answer to your need.
2. Feed On It!
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.Mt. 4:4. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1,2.
Just as the body needs nutrition, so does our soul and spirit. In order to feed the new man, we need to feed on the word of God. We should crave reading the Bible as we crave for good food. And you eat regularly and several times a day. Your spirit also needs regular food. Reading the Bible is not a one-time shot. It’s a lifelong love and part of a personal covenant relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. Believe It!
You are not the Bible’s critic or sceptic and you are not the Bible’s judge. Vice-versa. The Bible corrects, discerns and judges you. It is historically and scientifically correct. Don’t worry about today’s scientists’ skepticism. The find out that the Bible is all true one of these days! Modern science only knows in part and sees through a dark glass. But the Bible gives us the uncompressed clear truth directly. God is not a liar but a Father who gives good gifts. He is faithful and true. Expect deception and error from the world. As believers we host a skepticism against the world and its concoctions and ideologies, but we have childlike faith in our God who sent His Son to save us. Have faith in the very promises of God. Have faith in the Biblical principles and worldview. Have faith not just in words but in the one who spoke these words to you! Your faith will increase when you just do what God commands us. We rely on Him in our actions. Believe like Abraham did as he went into the mountain with Isaac (Gen. 22). Believe God’s words like the nobleman who believed Jesus for his son’s healing (John 4:50). The Bible is an infallible inspired authority that we can put our trust in. We need to doubt the textbooks of the world but the Bible is the yardstick by which we can measure everything. By esteeming the Bible as our final authority we express our faith in its inspiration and truthfulness.
4. Study It!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2. Tim. 2:15.
This is the command to study. The Bible says it’s work. But it has God’s approval and helps us to understand the divisions in God’s word. You can use a concordance to locate words and verses. The best commmentary on the Bible is the Bible. The main subject of the Bible is Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom. In the Old Testament saints looked forward to the cross and the redemption it brings. In the New Testament saints look back to the cross as a fulfillment of prophecy to accomplish our redemption and look forward to the fulfillment of kingdom prophecies. The Old Testament contains the New Testament concealed. The New Testmanent is the Old Testament revealed. Christians are never done with education. Studying the word is a lifelong work and expression of loving God. The best way to study the Bible is to …
5. Rightly Divide It!
2. Tim. 2:15 tells us that there are divisions in the Bible. The Bible tells of the unfolding of God’s messianic plan to save us from sin and establish His kingdom. That happens in stages. Those stages are called dispensations in the Bible. For example, we today live in the dispensation of the grace of God. Eph. 1:10, 3:2. God worked in different ways with different people in different times. The only thing that has remained the same that the way of salvation has always been by faith in Christ’s atoning work. There never was a time when sinners could work their way to Heaven. The fact that there are divisions makes it necessary to study the Bible systematically. There is a system of dispensations. We must ask to whom God is speaking in different ages. Once we do that we see all the supposed “contradictions” in the Bible disappear.
6. Meditate On It!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.Psalm 1:2. There are frequent reminders to meditate and think on God’s word. This is not about transcendental meditation and eastern false religion. To meditate on something is to repeatedly speak to oneself (Col. 3:16) the scriptures so that God’s word settles in our heart. We place the mind under the control of God’s Spirit-breathed words, so the word can build personal faith and cleanse and sanctify us. To mediate means to revolve in the mind. Some people always relive bad events of their life in their mind. But as believers we don’t do that because we continue to dwell on God’s word in our minds. We will not allow a bad thought to revolve in our mind but rather our mind needs to be so filled with scripture that God’s thoughts continually revolve in our mind. Don’t start off the day with the morning newspaper. You’ll be depressed. Start the day with meditating on the word of God. Don’t end the day with the evening news or media entertainment. Go to bed meditating on scripture and watch you sleep problems go away. In order to meditate on God’s Word effectively it becomes necessary to ..
7. Memorize It!
There might come a time when you don’t have a Bible handy. Maybe even times of persecution. Do you have any portions of scripture committed to memory? People know the lines to worldly music songs because they listen to them all the time. Do you know some scriptures by heart because you read and apply them frequently? Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11. Store those scriptures in your heart and in the heart of children. Read and reread. Quote them back to God. The Bible is not just for the mind. It needs to sink down in your heart. So don’t read it like a novel or a newspaper. Feed your heart with the inspired words of God. We have the promise of God that His Word is profitable. 2. Tim. 3:16.
8. From Genesis to Revelation!
When I read the Bible then I’m not talking about following the Sunday sermon along in the pew Bible or reading a few chapters here and there or looking up individual verses. I’m talking about reading the Bible from cover to cover for the rest of my life. I start at Genesis and finish off at Revelation. You can read cover to cover or you can read the Bible through in a year by reading 3 Old Testament chapters and 1 New Testament chapter per day. Only this way you can see God’s story unfold from beginning to end. You can use a Bible reading plan, too, to help you read through the whole Bibe within a specific time frame.
9. Listen to It!
When you read the Bible then don’t just read it quietly. Read it aloud. Get more of your senses involved. That helps you retain the word of God in your mind and heart. I believe the spoken word of God has so much power. It can cleanse and heal. Reading it aloud will definitely affect the way you talk. Remember James 3 about the tongue! I want to suggest a great help for this purpose: The late actor Alexander Scourby narrated the entire King James Bible. You can get the entire Bible on mp3 CD or as a download and use your creativity where to listen to the word of God. If someone has sleep problems I recommend leaving the word of God on quietly all night! It’ll direct the wandering mind back to God. It is good when the word of God is read aloud in the community such as during a Bible reading marathon or a public reading on the courthouse front steps on the National Day of Prayer. I have been at those events and I know this sent out a message to the public.
10. Pray It!
Sometimes you might wonder how to pray for somebody or what to pray. The Bible is full of prayers and it’s a good them to make the Bible’s prayer your own personal prayers. Remember the prayer of Jabez? 1. Chr. 4:10. Remember the prayer of Paul in all his epistles? He prays for the churches and for individuals to grow in Christ. Shouldn’t we model our prayers like that? Take Colossians 1:9-13 for example. Can you pray that for your local church and Christian brothers and sisters? Make a list of prayers you find in the Bible. See if you can pray according to God’s thoughts. You might need to pray 2. Cor. 13:7 for someone today? And have you prayed Col. 4:3,4 for your pastor? Make it a part of your devotional life to pray God’s Word.
The Bible also uses many words blessings. As part of praying the Bible you can use the word to bless others with. Maybe even a spoken word of blessing over your children. Look at these verses of blessing: Romans 15:5,6, 2. Thess. 1:11-12, Phil. 4:23, 2. Pe. 1: 2-4 and Numbers 6:22-26. People curse so much in this world and tear each other down. But as believers we should have a word of blessing for others. We are to even bless those that curse us.
11. Sing It!
I visited a Baptist church and they sang the scriptures. They took New Testament verses and put them to a melody and the whole congregation sang together. When you quote scriptures back to God you might as well sing them. The Bible tells us to make melody in our heart to the Lord. Eph. 5:19. When you are in the car you could sing the scriptures to yourself instead of just quoting them. Give the scriptures a melody in your heart. What melody is ringing in your heart anyway right now? Remember that the scriptures contain several poetical books. The Psalms are songs. David composed them and he played his harp. You can meditate and memorize scriptures by singing them to yourself.
12. Use for Devotions!
Everything that has been said so far is not just for personal Bible study but it is for family and congregational worship. The Bible does not belong in the secret study room but on the living room table! Study the word of God as a family. Husband and wife pray together and of course they should have some time of Bible devotions together. We often make the mistake of limiting study and devotion to just the individual level. Some folks go to church and even carry their Bible to church, but they never touch the Bible as a couple or as a family. At home they are spiritually dumb and don’t speak about God, faith or the Bible. It ought not to be so. They silently stare at a television together and it never comes to their mind to turn the thing off and to read the Bible together aloud and then study and meditate on that portion. We need to communicate about the things of God. Especially so in the family. Young people who are still in a courtship need to discuss the things of God and have a joint prayer life and Bible study time.
13. Pass It On!
Young Timothy knew the holy scriptures from a child (2. Tim. 3:15). Later on he became a preacher, pastor and co-worker of the apostle Paul. But his love for the word of God was kindled at a young age when his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois passed on their faith to young Timothy (2. Tim. 2:5). How can your children get saved without knowing the scriptures that make us wise unto salvation? That’s why children need the word of God. We bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. That does not happen in school or on television. Read the Bible to your children before they are born. And then when they are born you can read the Bible together with them. Take turns. You read a verse. Your child reads a verse and so on. I have precious memories of reading the word of God with my young daughter like that while sitting in the porch swing with her. Children have open minds. It is easier for them to memorize than for most adults. Let them memorize scriptures. You can do Bible drills. But make sure the word enters their heart. This is not about making children act “churchy” or in order to brag about how much your child “knows”. We don’t need more church robots who can quote scriptures like an ipad Bible app but have no heart knowledge of God and no clue as to the meaning of the word. We’re not theologians. We just live by God’s word. Without it we are as dead as a doornail.
14. Revere It!
While a book is definitely not a sacred object that deserves worship we should treat a Bible with due respect. This is not a comic book or an old newspaper. No, this is the privilege of having the very inspired and inerrant words of our God and Creator in a bound volume. We certainly are blessed. We should never take the Bible for granted. People in the past were persecuted for trying to translate it. People today are persecuted for having it. We should simply treat the book with respect. Don’t slam it. Don’t throw it. Don’t let it collect dust! We treat the flag with respect. We should pay that respect to the Bible as well. An old Bible is not just any old book but a testimony to the faith of previous generations – souls that have already gone to Heaven!
15. Uphold It!
We need to stand for the truth of God’s word. Many times we are forced to compromise or hide our faith in order to get along. But sometimes we have to stand alone for what is right. We have to uphold Biblical principles. Modern society often opposes itself to God’s commands (2. Tim. 2:25). The Bible is our source of truth and sound doctrine for a world that has gone crazy on deceptions and lies. We can use what we learn from the Bible to instruct others. The world is full of concepts for life. But the Bible is our authority to discern what is right and wrong. By this authority we can discern what to chose and what to refuse.
There is another practical way to uphold the Bible. I was moved by a street preacher in Memphis, Tennessee. He never spoke one word. He stood on a little wall near a place where people were drinking outside. All he did was uphold his Bible with an outstretched hand. He didn’t have to say anything. The Book said it all. As I was touched by the scene I am sure people in that sinful drinking crowd were pricked (convicted) in their heart. Just the presence of a Bible will make people conscious of their sin and conscious of their personal responsibility toward God. While living in the rural south I have seen Bibles placed on dashboards in cars. I believe Bibles should be visible in the public. Therefore it’s good to …
16. Place It!
I appreciate the Bibles placed in hotel rooms by the Gideons. The Bible has a place in the public. I think when I was young and in school the Gideons were there to bring New Testaments but there was some commotion about it because some were opposed to it. I decided a long time ago I am going to do my own Bible placing ministry. The Gideons do a great job but they can’t go everywhere. I decided to get some inexpensive Bibles and I leave them in hotel rooms where there’s no Gideon Bible. I leave them in doctor waiting rooms, in secular bookstores, some public public shelves that you find in some cities and many other places I am not going to tell you about. I’m excited about what God’s word can do as it speaks into the lives of other people who know not the gospel. I pray some of the get under conviction and realize their need for salvation. You can leave a Bible in places where the Gideons can’t go. Your next business trip to China, India or Qatar might be God’s call on you. Serve the Lord!
17. Slow-read It!
A long time ago I read about POWs in Vietnam. They usually were not the type of person who enjoy reading. But in order to keep their sanity during their long and mind-numbing time in a Vietnamese prison camp they discovered the practice of slow reading. They were thankful for any kind of literature they could get their hands on. While people today want to read as many pages as possible and speed read everything, these soldiers read their books as slow as possible so they could carefully soak in every word and every meaning. They basically re-lived the action of the book in their mind. That helped them escape the bitter reality of their captivity. It helped them keep their minds focused. I believe slow-reading the word of God can be a great blessing. It will help us meditate and memorize the word. I am sure it will impact and cleanse our mind and help us think God’s thoughts. In order to understand Bible events we should similarly rehearse those events in our minds. Phil. 4:8 talks about continually thinking about godly things. I am sure slow-reading can be a help to do just that. Prison inmates who get saved and have years of time to serve can slow-read the word. If you go on long flight you can slow-read the word. You’ll be too tired to read dozens of chapters but you just dwell on one for a while and become quiet before the Lord to where He can speak to your heart in a still small voice.
18. Write & Copy It!
And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. Deut. 17:18,19.
This verse has always amazed me! Just imagine before someone could become president of a country he would first have to copy in handwriting the entire word of God and then be required to follow its teaching. It would certainly weed out some rotten apples among the candidates! One method that would benefit all of us in meditating and memorizing the scriptures is simply to write it down by hand. When Billy Graham prepared a televised sermon on the subject of the cross of Christ, there were sticky notes with Bible verses about the cross found all over his house. If you seriously try to fill your heart with the word of God it will certainly help you to write it down on paper. Some people use index cards to help them memorize scriptures. Sometimes I use post-its to write down scriptures I want to keep in my heart. Later I place those anonymous post-its in public places for others to find, so the word of God can speak into their lives.
19. Reach, Teach and Preach It!
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.2. Tim. 4:2-4.
God calls men to preach the gospel. What do they preach from? What they learned in seminary or college? What church organizations resolved in conference to teach? No! The Bible says not to confer with flesh and blood (Gal. 1:16) but to preach the Word. The God-called preacher must pray and study the Word to get a message to preach. The Holy Spirit must guide him in this (1. Pe. 1:12). The Bible is taught in Sunday School, local church ministries and all across a vast array of Christian media men and women serve to fulfill the Great Commission Jesus has given us to preach the gospel to every creature as an expression of God’s love for a sin-cursed world for which a way of salvation has been prepared. It is up to our creativity and God’s leadership as to how we spread the word of God. Some have thrown gospel tracts out of small airplanes over countries that were closed to the gospel. Some have placed scripture verses on their cars in the form of bumper stickers or magnets. Some have been called to mission fields. Some have been faithful to church even when the membership went down to 1. That one lone preacher knew the angels in Heaven and the demons and devils on earth were listening as he preached to the empty pews. Some have witnessed door to door or preached in public places. Some have taught the Bible to their children or grandchildren at home. Some businessmen have placed gospel literature into the waiting rooms of their business. There are many methods of reaching, teaching and preaching but there is only one message! We are not to argue about methods and what others are doing (Mark 14:4-9, John 21:21,22). We have to follow the Lord and do what we can as we serve Him faithfully with our diverse gifts.