The crowds in Jerusalem were huge and festive, and they were clamoring to get close to Jesus. Day in and day out during the great Festival of Tabernacles, Jesus taught those who were listening. Consider carefully one of His most significant points:
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31).
If being a follower of Christ involves having for Him a love so vast that love for anyone else seems like loathing, then the place where this love is shaped is in the Word of God. Spending time in the Scriptures is a chief mark of a disciple. And as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:17, it helps you “be competent, equipped for every good work.”
Wouldn’t we all like to be competent and equipped for every good work? The natural question, of course, is “How?” And the answer is much simpler than you might expect. Ponder these helpful suggestions.
First, get a helpful translation of the Scriptures. The New International Version (NIV) is a good translation that, while faithful to the original languages, offers a helpful flow for readability. The New American Standard (NAS) is recognized as probably the most literal translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts, and for this is preferred among many serious Bible students. Also laudable is the New Living Translation (NLT). I use all of these in my studying, but the one I favor above them all, and from which I do nearly all of my teaching and preaching, is the English Standard Version (ESV). It is an excellent blend between the readable NIV and the literal NAS. Regardless, a good version is important. One with wide-margins for personal notes and anecdotes helps too!
Secondly, make a daily habit of reading your Bible. Consider reading three chapters a day. If you started with Genesis and average three chapters a day you can easily read the Bible in an entire year. Give it a try!
Thirdly, while reading the entire Bible in a year is a worthwhile goal, don’t box yourself in. The most important goal is knowing God better. If you come to a point at which you need to stop to prayerfully scrutinize the ramifications of a particular truth, then, well, stop. In my own personal Bible reading this is what I am doing right now, and I find it to be immensely helpful during this season of my life.
Jesus uses the word “abide” intentionally. It means to accept or submit . . . to endure or continue . . . to remain. A committed disciple abides in the Scriptures. That is what helps him or her to follow Christ valiantly, joyfully and with impact.
Will you do that?