If your scripture reading has become stale and you wish you could get more from it, then you might want to try what I call the Scripture Top 10 Method. Earlier this week, I detailed how it has worked for me and which passages made my list. Today, I want to offer a guide to implementing your own Top 10.
1. Change Your Thinking – If we have been in the church for very long we have been exposed to Bible Highlight Shows. This is where a pastor will take a topic and then dump every verse he can come up with on that topic on the lap of the congregation. A virtual highlight reel on the topic. This is a problem because it makes us view individual scriptures in complete isolation and without context, language, or history. Some have called the Bible “God’s love letter to his people”. Who would write a love letter just filled with one liners and isolated phrases? No, your letter is going to have recurring themes and consistent emphasis. In order to implement a Scripture Top 10, you have to start recognizing the major themes and connections within scripture.
2. Start with what you know – Even if the only verse you know is “Jesus wept,” you can still begin to ask questions that will lead you to other verses. In this example, you could ask, “Why did Jesus weep?” And then determine that it is because of his humanity. Then this could lead you to the Christmas story and the humility and earthiness in which Jesus came into the world. In this story, the Wise Men bring gifts fit for a king. Then you could find the verses that talk about the Kingdom of God and start to understand what kind of King Jesus is.
3. Ask a friend or find a Bible with good study notes – You will need help making connections with other passages, especially with ones in the Old Testament. Find someone who is more knowledgeable of the Bible than you and talk to them about your desire to discover more of scripture based on your favorite passages. You may also need a Bible that will give you some background on certain passages and references you to other passages that address the same concept. Don’t make too much of the study notes, use them for reference and discovery purposes. Save in depth study for another time. The Bibles that I have used include Life Application Bible, Spiritual Formation Bible, and ESV Study Bible.
4. Ask Why? – If you have a favorite verse or passage, ask why that scripture means so much to you. Pray for God to show you to parts of the Bible that remind you of your favorite scripture.
5. Relax – God did not inspire scripture for us to understand all of its complexities and mysteries. Our entire life will be filled with more discoveries of God through scripture. He designed it this way. The whole point behind this method is to start the frustrated Christian toward a path of lifetime discovery in a way that is fun and adventurous. Don’t take it too serious. Remember that this is your process and God has unique and personal things that he wants to show you that he does not have for anyone else. Enjoy the ride.