If you're a Christian you've probably been told that you should be reading your Bible daily. You've probably been told that if you aren't, then you're missing out on what God is saying. All those things are true, but we don't read the Bible because of obligation or because we feel like we have to. We read the Bible because we want to connect to God in an intimate way. If you are reading the Bible because it's the right thing to do, or because it makes you more spiritual or even to know more about the Bible, then you're not reading it with the right intention.
If you're reading the Bible apart from intimacy, then you're missing the point.
How I read the Bible
I don't approach the Bible like any other book. It isn't any other book. It really is a living and active book, but it isn't that way by itself. The Word of God is living and active because of the Spirit of God that inevitably shows up. The Word and the Spirit are to become one as you read the Bible. If at any point you are lacking either one you will have an experience that is short of what God wants for you.
So how do you make sure that you are engaging with the Word and the Spirit?
I consistently read my Bible and pray at the same time. If my goal is to connect to the God of the universe through his word and not just study it, then at some point I have to turn my attention and engage with him.
Rather than talking about what I do, I want to bring you along for the ride.
I love Psalm 103, so when I get to a section that speaks to me, I begin to pray the scripture.
6The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
Jesus, I thank you that you revealed to Moses that it is your goodness that defines who you are. I thank you that your love, patience, and kindness for me is greater than my ability to mess up. You have put away anger towards me. All your anger was poured out on the cross and there is none left for me.
Jesus, you don't deal with me according to my sin. In fact, you don't even see it anymore. You have removed my sin so far from me that it will never be found. I thank you that you took my sin and that now I am left completely righteous before you.
God, you have adopted me into your family and you have called me your child. You always take care of your children and seek only the best for them. Your love for me is so deep that I could never find the bottom and so high that I could never see the top. Jesus, you are so good to me!
This prayer is something that I would feel led to pray in my own personal time. By talking to God this way I am actually communing with him in light of the truth of what he says and what he has done on the cross. It brings this Psalm into the New Covenant so my heart can be strengthened by truth. In whatever you read find the truth that your heart needs in that moment and pray it back to God. God will meet you every time.
Reading the Bible is not about an exchange of information but a relationship that leads to transformation.