What should be our objective in reading the Bible? Our goal should not be simply to cover a certain number of pages. Our motive should be to know God better so that we can increase our love for him and worship him acceptably. (John 5:39-42) Our attitude should be like that of the Bible writer who said: “Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths.”—Psalm 25:4.
As we receive teachings from Jehovah, it should be our desire to gain “accurate knowledge.” Without it, how could we apply God’s Word properly in our own lives or explain it correctly to others? (Colossians 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:15) Gaining accurate knowledge requires that we read carefully, and if a portion is deep, we may need to read it more than once in order to grasp the sense of it. We will also be benefited if we take time to meditate on the material, thinking about it from various standpoints.
(1) Often, the portion of Scripture that you are reading can tell you something about the kind of person Jehovah is. For example, at Psalm 139:13, 14, we learn of God’s great concern for the unborn: “You kept me screened off in the belly of my mother. I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.” How marvelous Jehovah’s creative works are! The way humans are made testifies to his great love for us.
In view of what is said at John 14:9, 10, when we read how Jesus dealt with others, we are really seeing how Jehovah himself would act. With that in mind, what can we conclude about Jehovah from the incidents recorded at Luke 5:12, 13 and Luke 7:11-15?
(2) Consider how the account contributes to the Bible’s theme: the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty and the sanctification of his name by the Kingdom under Jesus Christ, the promised Seed.
How was the Bible’s theme emphasized by Ezekiel and Daniel? (Ezekiel 38:21-23; Daniel 2:44; 4:17; 7:9-14)
How does the Bible clearly identify Jesus as the promised Seed? (Galatians 3:16)
How does Revelation describe the grand climax of the Kingdom theme? (Revelation 11:15; 12:7-10; 17:16-18; 19:11-16; 20:1-3; 21:1-5)
(3) Ask yourself how you can make personal application of what you are reading. For example, we read in Exodus through Deuteronomy about Israel’s immorality and rebelliousness. We learn that those attitudes and actions brought bad consequences. Thus, we should be moved to please Jehovah by not imitating Israel’s bad example. “These things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.”—1 Corinthians 10:11.
The record about Cain’s killing Abel has what lesson for us? (Genesis 4:3-12; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:10-15; 4:20, 21)
Does Bible counsel to Christians who have a heavenly hope apply also to those who have the hope of eternal life on earth? (Numbers 15:16; John 10:16)
Even though we are in good standing in the Christian congregation, why do we need to consider how to apply more fully the Bible counsel that we already know? (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:1)
(4) Give thought to how you might use what you are reading to help others. All people are concerned about health problems, so we can read with them what Jesus did to illustrate what he will do on a much larger scale in Kingdom power: “Great crowds approached him, having along with them people that were lame, maimed, blind, dumb, and many otherwise, . . . and he cured them.”—Matthew 15:30.
Who might be helped by the account of the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus? (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-56)
How richly rewarding Bible reading becomes when we consider the four points mentioned above! To be sure, reading the Bible is a challenge. But it can benefit us for a lifetime, for as we read the Scriptures, we will grow stronger spiritually.
Regular Bible reading will draw us closer to our loving Father, Jehovah, and to our Christian brothers. It will help us in heeding the counsel to keep “a tight grip on the word of life.”—Philippians 2:16.