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December 27, 2018, 11:11 AM

Reading your Bible: wide & deep

As you consider a Bible reading plan for 2019, you should pursue going wide and deep in your Bible reading.

What does it mean to go wide?  What does it mean to go deep?

Going wide refers to reading the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation. Why? So that you can see God's redemptive work unfold through Israel's history to the coming of Christ, God's promised Messiah. You need to see the big picture. And you'll observe that as you progress from one book to the next. has a variety of reading plans that will enable you to read the entire Bible in a year. Sign up and find one that best fits your schedule and learning style. 

Going deep refers to reading a smaller portion of scripture and asking God to speak to your heart and to teach you. It could be a passage of 5-7 verses, like Psalm 23 or John 1:1-5. Preferably it should be a progressive reading and devotional meditation through a book of the Bible; examples would be one of  the gospels or the New Testament letters. Your goal is to know what the passage says, what it means and how it should be applied to your life. By doing this as you read through a book of the Bible allows you to grasp the background and context of the passages. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you carefully observe what the passage says. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what it means; you'll need to view the passage in light of what preceded and follows it so that you don't read it out of context or read into the passage things that the writer never intended. Finally, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply it to your life. Perhaps it is a greater knowledge and understanding of God Himself. Or there is a command to obey -- a specific action you need to take. Or maybe the Holy Spirit reveals certain sins that you are to confess and repent of. Or the Holy Spirit might lead you to respond in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for who He is and what He does. 

As you read your Bible, plan to go wide and deep. This will mean establishing a scheduled time to read and pray. Make this a habit that becomes a daily discipline. Nothing legalistic about disciplining your heart and soul to be with the Lord. Over time, you will see the fruit of this practice in your heart and life: new affections for God, a renewed mind, a thankful heart, lips that offer the sacrifice of praise to God, power to fight temptation and kill sin in your life, words and Scriptures to share when witnessing . . . 

What will be your plans for going wide and deep in God's Word?

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