3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
If I read the Bible believing somehow that it is fundamentally about ME – I’ve missed it. Like the men on their way to Emmaus when they were walking with Jesus, and did not recognize Him.
Paul here, addresses the church at Philippi with thankfulness and joy and gives his reason for that appreciation. They are mutual partners in spreading the Good News about Jesus. I believe that if these friends of Paul at Philippi would have focused on themselves rather than on Christ, the tone of this letter would have been different. Admonishment.
These people patterned from the time they ‘first heard it’ [the Good News] – they know it’s not about them entirely, but fundamentally, the Scripture is about Jesus, His grace and redemptive work in this world.
When I forget that the Bible is fundamentally about Jesus and I begin to look at it for my benefit first… I loose sight of God’s work en total and I start to wayne from the partnership I have with Paul and every other man of God working to spread the Good News. The truth is, we are all called to ‘spread’ the Good News. We fail to do so when we narrowly look at the Bible as a Word from God about me.
Part of it is about us. But the main essence of Scripture is Jesus.
Jesus, help me to always look at You and look for You in all parts of my life and when I’m in Your Word. That I may bring you glory in all I say, think and do. Give me strength to be the man you’ve created me to be and to help others see who You are. Amen
Where to start, when reading the Bible! Many people feel they have to read the Bible like they would any other book, from start to finish. You don’t have to read the Bible that way! The cool thing about the Bible is that it is made up of 66 books, written by over 40 authors and in a span of 1,500 years. There are a few different places you can start reading; I would recommend you start in the New Testament (books written after the birth of Jesus).
Because Jesus is the central figure of the Bible and the focus of God’s grace towards humanity, it’s safe to say that we start with the life of Christ through one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). From this point, I start directing people mix up the reading, a bit from the Old Testament and a bit from the New Testament. It’s important to be well rounded in our reading of the Bible, because then we start getting a greater sense for God’s Character and voice.
There are various resources that are incredibly helpful to planning your reading schedule, or simply picking one and sticking with it through completion. One of the best online resources I’ve come across is YouVersion.com. Not only can you read through the Bible, but you can choose what translation best works for you and you can choose from a variety of different Reading Plans, from; topical to devotional plans and other more specified studies. If you have a smart phone, you can download the YouVersion app onto your phone and have complete mobile access. (I really like this app because, it can read the Bible to me as I drive or go for a run).
There are other great resources out there. One of my favorite tools that I’ve used over the years to stay committed in reading my Bible and hearing from God is the Life Journal. This tool is SIMPLE! You can use any notebook you find at home, and journal your daily progress through the Bible. Here’s what it looks like:
Each day you read a section of Scripture (YouVersion has the reading plan for this as well, or you can simply visit LifeJournal.cc). Then you SOAP. It’s an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
So, you choose a verse that stood out to you (this is important; you’re hearing from God), write it down. And then start writing down Observations about what you read, how it Applies to your life and then write a Prayer asking God to help you in what He’s revealing to you. Here is an example.
Give it a try!! Reading the Word of God will change your life when you begin to apply it and do life depending on it.