How to Read the Bible With Fresh Eyes!
The process is simple:
1) Get a fresh Bible, preferably in a translation you haven’t read before or for a while.
2) Ask God to open your eyes, your ears and your heart as He speaks to you through His Word each time you read.
3) Read the chapters on the included schedule each day out loud, slowly.
4) Search for what the Bible says on the following issues:
- Prayer – When do people pray? Why do they pray? Where do they pray? What do they pray?
- Favor – What is it? How does one obtain it? What happens when one receives it?
- Loving God – How?
- Loving My Neighbor – How?
- Loving One Another – How?
5) Listen to the whispers of the Spirit as you read, as He reveals God’s will concerning faith, mercy, grace and hope.
6) Write down what you discover in a notebook or on a document file in your computer to review and ponder.
7) Share what you are learning with others in the church, and with family and friends to encourage them in the Lord.
Each time I read the Word of God, I am amazed at how practical His will and whim is. It encourages the soul, transforming us into His image each day we step into His presence through His Word. ~ Pastor Matt
Here’s a free reading schedule to cover the entire Bible in one year from our friends at Eagles In Leadership: whole-year-reading-schedule-eagles
Pictured from Left to Right, front row: Melodee Smith, Jody Stutzman, Sherry Honnold, Sandra Carr, Judy Long, Patsy Alvarado, Gayle Young, Jack Young. Back row: Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Dwayne Mishler, Charlene Neal, Mike Neal, Jean Edmonds, Frank Alvarado. Not pictured, Robert Williams.
2016 Bible Readers Honored on January 1, 2017
Before Pastor Matt and Melodee Smith had been voted on as the new pastoral family on January 17, 2016, they had encouraged the church search committee and the church as a whole to join them as they read through God’s Word in 2016.
On January 1, 2017, 15 Woodlanders were honored, including Pastor Matt and Melodee, for their diligent accomplishment.
Jack Young commented on his experience over the past year. “Reading through the Bible this year has taught me many things. Among them is that present day America is not all that different from ancient Israel in society’s moral decline and it’s rejection of God’s direction.”
“I was also reminded of what Christian ethics (Romans 12:9-21), proper behavior (1 Thess. 5:12-22; James 1:19-27; 4:7-11), and confidence of God’s direction (1 & 2 John and Jude) consists of. It was a great learning experience. I can’t wait to find out what I will learn next year.”
Reading the Bible the way it is published allows the reader to discover the unity of thought in each of the Bible books. As Patsy Alvarado says, “It has helped me feel closer to God and realize His mercy, grace, love, and compassion for us. I can clearly see His patience with repeated sins of people. I feel like I’ve had a mini Sunday School lesson every day that I read, leading to a better understanding from the beginning to the end. I am eager to start again, in a different translation, because I know there will be many things I probably missed the first time. So sorry it has taken me this long in my Christian life to do this but so grateful to have begun now! Thank you Pastor Matt.”
Reading God’s Word is one of the key issues to spiritual vitality. As the Bible teaches, “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, CEV) Charlene Neal expressed this idea when she said, “Each time I read Scripture I learn something I’ve never seen before. God reveals things to me at the exact time I need them in my walk with him.” Judy Long agrees, “I feel that I have developed a closer more personal relationship with the Lord.
Dr. Smith is writing several books on the Old and New Testament and has sent out first draft copies of his chapters for each book in advance of the scheduled reading to each reader. Frank Alvarado explained why such help is needed when reading the Bible. “Up until now I had never read the Bible through nor had I been challenged to read it from cover to cover. So like a puzzle I had a lot of missing pieces. Now that I have read the whole Bible through, thanks to Pastor Matt and his daily schedule and prompting, I can see the whole picture. It’s not all focused yet but it’s a lot clearer now. This daily study has strengthened my faith, making me more humble yet wiser by bringing me closer to the Lord.”
Jean Edmonds summarized the experience of so many Woodlanders when she said: “I have learned more about the character of God. I have first hand knowledge how merciful and long-suffering God is to His people. I have learned how deeply He loves us and, in exchange for that love, how little He really asks of us; only that we believe in Him and obey His commands. Reading His word everyday has kept my thoughts focused on Him first in my life.”