DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I started reading the Bible during my summer vacation, but I got bogged down after a few days and finally just gave up. I know it would probably help me, but how can I understand it? — M.N.
DEAR M.N.: God gave the Bible to us, and I can assure you he wants us to understand it! Through the Bible, we not only learn about God, but we also discover how he wants us to live and what he wants to do in our lives. Can you think of anything more important?
How can you discover the Bible’s treasures for yourself? Let me make three brief suggestions. First, read it prayerfully. God wants to speak to you through its pages, so ask the Holy Spirit to give you a receptive heart and an understanding mind. Ask him also to help you concentrate on what you’re reading and not let your thoughts wander. Let Samuel’s prayer become yours: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
Second, read it intelligently. Use a translation you can understand, and as you read a passage, ask yourself what it’s really saying. Some passages record an event; if so, what is happening, and why? Some record teachings; if so, what are they? Christ is the center of the Bible’s message, and rather than start at the beginning of the Bible, I suggest you first read through one of the Gospels (I recommend John).
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Finally, read the Bible obediently. What difference should this passage make in my life? Does it urge me to commit my life to Christ? Does it point out a sin I need to confess, or a command I need to follow? The Bible says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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