Christian, Stop Reading Your Bible!

If you are hungry, reading a recipe from a cookbook won’t fill you up.

You could read one recipe from a cookbook every day, or even read the whole thing in a year, but if you never eat, you will die.

So, if you don’t want to die, you will need to read and follow the recipe. But even more than that you will need to cook the food, serve it, sit down at the table, take a bite, and then chew that bite until it can be swallowed and digested.

Then you take another bite.

Stop Reading Your Bible

You’ll never read in the Bible that you should read the Bible.

What you discover in the Bible is how to handle it effectively and how to enjoy the God of the Bible more fully.

I’m not suggesting that you give up on your reading plan. I’m actually recommending that you enhance your reading plan.

If we are going to delight in God’s Word we need stop reading God’s Word and start feeding on God’s Word.

God’s Word is Nourishment.

The Bible is not a novel about God to be read; it is nourishment from God to be devoured.

When the tempter enticed Jesus with actual bread, Jesus responded with a quote from Deuteronomy:

“It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

Jesus knew that verse in Deuteronomy, not because He had read it, but because He had devoured it.

Jesus knew how to use that verse, not because He had read it, but because He understood it.

Imagine knowing and applying Deuteronomy to your everyday life because Deuteronomy has captivated you…Deuteronomy!

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus confronted people who had read but not known Scripture. Over and over again, He asked, “Haven’t you read…”

The word we translate in the New Testament “read” is from the Greek word anaginosko, or “to know again”.

Jesus is saying, “Haven’t you known? Haven’t you understood? Haven’t you made use of what you read?”

Ironically, a whole nation of people had read and recited hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah, but when He showed up in Israel, they didn’t recognize Him. Paul understood this when he wrote, “For the residents of Jerusalem and their rulers, since they did not recognize Him or the voices of the prophets that are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled their words by condemning Him.” (Acts 13:27)

Did you get that? The prophets foretold that people would read their words but not recognize the Messiah when He arrived. For hundreds of years people had read those very words hundreds of times. When Jesus came it was the fact that the people read but didn’t recognize the Messiah that fulfilled the prophecy that the people had read.

That’s because they had read Scripture but didn’t know Scripture.

In the opening prologue of John’s Gospel, he writes, “He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10)

Failing to recognize Him, they ultimately rejected Him.

And that is the danger for us today. If we continue reading from our Bible reading to-do-list, we will get to a point (and many are already there) where we no longer recognize Jesus and will actively reject Jesus by how we live our life.

Instead, we need to devour the Word of God one bite at a time.

We need a daily Bible feasting plan that will satisfy our soul as we interact meaningfully with our Creator!

Pharisees, Sadducees, and skeptics can read God’s Word, but only a follower of Jesus, a child of God, will feed on God’s Word. 

We wouldn’t read through a cookbook from cover to cover and expect that to satisfy our hunger. But rather, we follow a recipe, cook a meal, eat a meal, and let that meal give the nourishment, energy, and vitamins necessary to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

With that in mind, here are 25 ways to begin feasting on the Word of God:

1. Ask According to the Word of God

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

You get whatever you want from God if what you want from God is what God wants in you! Do you filter your requests and petitions through the will of God and the Word of God? When you do, you will get whatever you ask for!

2. Believe the Word of God

But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

3. Correct and Rebuke with the Word of God

and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

God’s Word teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains the one who internalizes it. But it is also profitable for correcting and rebuking others who are acting unrighteously or who are not yet equipped for every good work.

4. Delight in the Word of God

His delight is in the Lord’s instruction… (Psalm 1:2)

His instruction is a delight because He knows best what will bring us the greatest joy in life: Himself!

5. Devote Yourself to the Word of God

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” (Acts 2:42)

Devotion is not accidental. Devotion to God’s Word is intentional.

6. Do the Word of God

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

Ask, “what does God want me to do as a result of hearing His Word?”

7. Examine the Word of God

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

8. Fulfill the Word of God

After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He said, “I’m thirsty!” (John 19:28)

Jesus didn’t say “I’m thirsty” because He was thirsty (though He probably was). Jesus said, “I’m thirsty” to fulfill Scripture! (specifically Psalm 22:15). In the same way, there are Scriptures that will be fulfilled by His Church (like Matthew 24:14 for example). So, don’t just read Scripture, start fulfilling Scripture!

9. Hear The Word of God

Anyone who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15)

For thousands of years, the people of God could only hear the Word because they didn’t have access to their own copy of Scripture. You can hear the Word by reading it out loud, by listening to an audio Bible, and by hearing it read publicly each week at church.

Have you ever heard God speak in an audible voice? Try reading His Word out loud!

10. Interpret the Word of God

Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27)

Don’t stop at reading a passage of Scripture. Stick with it until you’ve discovered the meaning and significance of it.

11. Learn from the Word of God

For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. (Romans 15:4)

There is something new to learn every time we open God’s Word. God’s instruction is not for our information; it is for our transformation.

12. Listen to the Word of God

The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

Sometimes we read or even hear the Word but we aren’t really listening. If you struggle to get through a reading plan that includes Leviticus try listening to it rather than reading it. Listen to Moses as he writes to the people of God about sanctification. Slow down and listen to it. What does Leviticus say to you?

13. Meditate on the Word of God

…and he meditates on it day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

When you stop reading recipes and start eating nourishing meals, you’re going to want more! You’ll find yourself thinking about how good that last meal was!

14. Memorize the Word of God

These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heartRepeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Memorization is for your benefit and for the benefit of others. If it is “in your heart” then you will be able to repeat them and talk about them wherever you go. Don’t memorize

15. Obey the Word of God

He then took the covenant scroll and read it aloud to the people. They responded, “We will do and obey everything that the LORD has commanded.” (Exodus 24:7)

We usually think the Word of God is for our head. It is also for our heart. And as this verse suggests, it is for our hands as well. In other words, act on what you discover in the Bible.

16. Pray the Word of God

The Lord is near all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

Christians have unfortunately viewed prayer as a separate activity from hearing and obeying Scripture. If you no longer delight in God’s Word and if you feel spiritually dry when you pray, perhaps you need to integrate these two spiritual disciplines into one.

17. Proclaim the Word of God

Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

18. Reason from the Word of God

As usual, “Paul went to the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures,” (Acts 17:2)

19. Receive the Word of God

Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.” (James 1:21)

20. Refute What Is Against the Word of God

For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 18:28)

Do this with gentleness and graciousness. But don’t hesitate to refute error in the church and in the world.

21. Submit to the Word of God

While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God. (Nehemiah 9:3)

Upon returning from exile, the people of God finally had the opportunity to hear the law of the Lord read. After spending six hours standing and listening, they responded by confessing and worshiping for another six hours!

22. Teach the Word of God

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

You have the great privilege of owning a copy of Scripture. With great privilege comes great responsibility!

23. Treasure the Word of God

I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)

Treasure it because God’s Word will change you!

24. Understand the Word of God

When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” (Acts 8:3)

If you don’t understand it, why would you move on to another verse, sentence, paragraph, or chapter?

25. Welcome the Word of God

This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

What will you do with your personal copy of Scripture?

Please don’t ever read it. Instead, feast on it, delight in it, interact with it, apply it, declare it, teach from it, obey it!

You don’t have to abandon your current Bible reading plan. Instead, look through the menu above and fill your plate with a deeper, richer, more satisfying meal.

If you usually spend 10 minutes a day reading your Bible, you might need to add another 10-20 minutes to truly enjoy the feast.

Chew on Scripture until paragraphs and sentences and words are digestible and become fuel for your attitude and affections and actions.

I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.” (John 6:35)

When you devour the written Word, you sit at the table with the risen Word, the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ! He has invited you to feast and fellowship with Him. Will you accept the invitation?

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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