Here are five ways that I believe you can get much more out of the Word of God, the Bible.
Meditate on the Word
The idea of meditating on God’s Word seems to have been lost today, yet the psalmist of old was very intentional about meditating on the Word of God. What does it mean to meditate on the Word of God? It doesn’t mean empty your mind and try to think of nothing (which is impossible anyway), rather it means, for example, taking one verse and contemplating what’s in that verse. For me, I love 2nd Corinthians 5:21 which says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Think about that verse. Meditate on it. That one verse is about as close as any come to summarizing the gospel. Reflect, ponder, bask, and meditate on 2nd Cor 5:21.
Memorize the Word
Here is why I think memorizing certain Bible verses can help us get more out of the Bible. The psalmist writes, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). In other words, he is saying that he has memorized God’s Word so that he might not sin as easily against God. It’s not a guarantee that he won’t sin, but the Bible can help keep you out of sin, just as sin can often keep you out of the Bible (because of guilt). Make the most of God’s Word. Take it with you in your mind and in your heart by memorizing meaningful verses.
Cross-referencing the Word
When I find a Bible verse like Romans 3:23, which says we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, I look for scriptural cross-references. In other words, the verse, Romans 3:23 has a cross-reference in the margin which includes Ecclesiastes 7:20, which says, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins,” so when I read and study the Bible, I can find other Scriptures that broaden the meaning of the original verse I’m studying (in this case, Romans 3:23). Most Bibles have these cross-references in the middle column.
Putting “You” in the Word
When I read the Bible, I sometimes put my own name or “me” for “you.” A great example is Romans 8:31 which says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Now, read it with my name in it: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for Jack, who can be against Jack?” I am not changing the context or meaning at all. I am simply making it more personal. Try it. Put your own name in where it says “you” or “us” or “we.” I think it’ll make the Bible more meaning for you, and make it more personal too.
Praying for Help
There is no doubt that God’s Spirit reveals to us spiritual knowledge, because we can’t learn anything of significance about God without His Spirit helping us, so pray to God before you study the Word. Ask Him to illuminate meaning in the passages and to show you what it means in your life. Also, ask for His help in determining if the verse is a command for us or is a descriptive verse. For example, we read about the cross of Christ and how we are to crucify the flesh, but that doesn’t mean we’re to actually die on a cross. Ask the Spirit of God what God is trying to tell us in the verses we read. The Bible plainly says that “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1st Cor 2:10), so pray for His Spirit to open up the meaning of Scripture and believe me, He will!
If you can think of other ways that we can get more meaning out of the Bible, please feel free to suggest them. I know there are several other ways we can get more out of the Word of God, but certainly we should meditate on the Word of God; we should memorize parts of the Word of God; we should use cross-reference Scriptures to deepen our understanding of the Word; we should personalize the Word of God for certain verses; and we should pray to the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help us understand what we could otherwise not, without His Spirit.