Discovery reading is a great way to get a fresh start on a habit that will lead to GODtalks! The kind that will change your life forever. But before we explore this more let's talk about your Bible.
We are so blessed today to have instant and FREE access to God's word online. Pickup your phone, your iPad, your laptop or kindle and you can find God's Word accessible. Additionally there are many FREE Bible resources online: Commentaries, word studies, Bible dictionaries, manners and customs books and so much more.
Often, as a pastor I am asked "what version of the Bible should I use to study?" Purchasing a study Bible is a good investment. There are so many great ones out there that I hesitate to endorse one over another. There are Women's, Men's, Youth and Kids study Bibles. There are Christian leadership and pastoral study Bibles. Take the time to ask around, read the feedback from those who have made purchases like this. Be prepared to invest up to 100 for a quality study Bible. You will never regret the investment you make in a good Study Bible.
First let's talk about what Version. I grew up hearing God's Word read weekly and daily from the King James Version. The King's English is not very common these days and you might find it a little more challenging to read. For me it is poetic and I still enjoy reading from the KJV even today. Over the years I have gravitated more and more to the New International Version. Written in more commonly used English it makes it easy to read to people who have not read much from the Bible. Here are the top five most popular versions according to a recent survey:
- New International Version (NIV)
- King James Version (KJV)
- New King James Version (NKJV)
- New Living Translation (NLT)
- English Standard Version (ESV)
You can easily sample each version online to see which you like best. Below is an example from John 3:16
King James Version (KJV) 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
New International Version (NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
New King James Version (NKJV) 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
New Living Translation (NLT) 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
English Standard Version (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Decide what is most effective for you and then select the study Bible in that version. A good study Bible should contain the following: Concordance, Dictionary, Topical List, Reference, Basic Bible maps. Some also include: Ribbon markers, Wide margins, Charts, Devotional helps. Harmony of the Gospels.
If you want to look at a few study Bibles before you make a decision, go to a Bible Bookstore and take time to thumb through them and see what will work best for you. You need a good study Bible so you can explore further what you will discover as you are reading.
What is Discovery Reading? I really encourage you to give this a try if you have not already. Discovery Reading is familiarizing yourself with the content of the scriptures. First Commit to reading daily. You may have days you only read one scripture and other days you read a full chapter or more.
Before you start reading take an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and fold it in half. Be sure you have a highlight pen and a regular pen or pencil on hand as well. Now as you start to read if you run into something that interest or confuses you or that you just want to look a little deep at write a word or two or a phrase from that passage on your paper and put the scripture reference beside it. For instance:
“Let there be a vault between the waters..." (Gen. 1:6 NIV)
The idea in discovery reading is that you are just out to discover things, you will explore them later. Keep reading and making very brief notes. These notes will serve you well later when you start really using your Study Bible and other Biblical tools to dig deeper. I recommend you continue this pattern as you read completely through the Bible. It may take you a few months or a year or two but it is not a waste of your time. You will be daily hearing from God.
I have used this method a number of times in my life. The first time I had two full pages of tiny writing when I completed my read through. I took those discoveries and turned them into sermons, teachings and personal growth understandings. It was so awesome to re-discover, explore and learn. You will really enjoy reading this way. Do not get bogged down trying to make sense of everything. Just read for discovery. Take your time, enjoy what you discover. Let God speak to your heart.
If you want to learn more about the Grace Place Church go to our website at www.gp.church