The Bible is like a tapestry woven of many threads that collectively come together to make a beautiful work. It’s not simply a book that is intended to tell a story; it conveys to mankind the very heart of God, His desires, and the story of His plans and purposes.
The first step in learning to enjoy the Bible begins when we simply start reading it. Remember that although the Bible tells a story, it doesn’t do so the way a novel does. The story of the Bible is revealed through the timeline of history that it records. As we see how God has interacted with mankind, we see the unfolding of His plans and purposes.
Reading for encouragement and inspiration
There are times when we should simply read the Bible for the pure enjoyment of it, for inspiration and encouragement. As we read about how God has cared for others, we can be encouraged in knowing that He loves and always cares for us, too. It’s comforting to see that many of the characters in the Bible struggled with some of the same flaws we all have, especially when we see that in spite of those flaws God always loved them and forgave them when they repented.
Reading to gain insight and wisdom
The Bible is a source of timeless wisdom, insights into life that are ageless and passed down to us from antiquity. It is a great resource for wisdom with its many clever sayings and examples. These are words that, if we learn and follow them, will help us to get the most out of life; wisdom that will help us to establish proper relationships with others, set the right priorities in life, handle our finances and possessions correctly, and learn how to follow the right, fair, and just path of life.
Reading for learning
Reading the Bible with the general intent of learning can also be a very enriching experience. When we approach the Bible in this manner, we begin to see the advancement of mankind from its historical beginnings. We may also find it very helpful to take notes so that we can then look to sources outside of the Bible that will help to explain biblical customs and historical records; an atlas can also help us to become familiar with the locations and geography in Scripture. Reading for learning can expand our personal view of the world if we approach it with an attitude toward developing an understanding about different times, peoples, and cultures.
Reading for spiritual insight
It has been rightly said that God has a purpose for everything He says, where He says it, to whom He says it, and how He says it. We must never forget that the Bible is the Word of God, and as such, it’s a spiritual book which conveys spiritual insights about the true nature of life, the interaction between the physical and spiritual realms, the spiritual battle, and the nature of the forces of good and evil. Reading the Bible helps us to understand what it means for God to be the Creator, a holy God, and a loving Father.
Through the course of this book I have sought to give you some background on the Bible and a cursory overview of the picture it portrays, so that you can have a framework in which to fit the puzzle pieces together. There is no need to be intimidated by the Bible; know that God greatly desires for you to know and love Him the way He knows and loves you. What’s important is to not get overwhelmed in the details, but instead to pursue God with all your heart. Learning to enjoy the Bible will be one of your greatest steps toward growing closer to God and experiencing His faithful love and goodness. It’s time to start learning to enjoy the Bible!
(This article was taken from Dan Gallagher’s book “Learning to Enjoy the Bible“)