How To Listen to the Bible on Bible Gateway

There’s something special about hearing the Bible read aloud. Every Sunday, millions of Christians around the world listen to Scripture read out loud from a church pulpit. Many people read the Bible aloud at the dinner table or recite their daily devotional readings.

Did you know you can listen to the Bible at Bible Gateway?

Bible Gateway has a large library of audio Bibles, and while they’re extremely popular, we like to mention them here periodically for those of you who might be unaware that you can listen to the Bible for free at Bible Gateway. If you didn’t know you could listen to audio Bibles online, here’s how.

There are several ways to listen to a Bible passage. One way is to download our mobile app for iOS/Android, which has an audio Bible feature. But we’ll cover listening to audio Bibles in the app in a future post; today, we’ll look at the ways you can listen to audio Bibles on the Bible Gateway website using your web browser.

The most direct way to listen to an audio Bible is to click on Audio Bibles on the lefthand side of any page on Bible Gateway. Look for it about halfway down the navigation menu:

This will take you to the Audio Bible page. Here, use the drop-down menus to choose the specific Bible, reader, and Bible chapter you want to hear:

audio-bible-selector

Note that you can only choose a chapter to listen to; you can’t specify a specific verse.

Once you’ve made your selection, press Play audio and a small popup window will appear with an audio player in it queued to the Bible passage you chose. The arrow buttons skip to the next or previous chapter, and you can use the drop-down menus to switch to a different audio Bible or Scripture passage:

bg-audio-player

If continuous play is selected, the audio will continue to the next chapter once it’s read through the one you chose, and will keep reading until you pause it or close the audio player window. If it’s unchecked, the audio will stop at the end of your chosen chapter.

That’s one way to get started listening to the Bible. The second way is to look up a specific Bible passage using the search box on the homepage. To see how this works, go to a specific Bible passage—for example, Acts 1.

Once you’re at the passage page, look for an audio button above the passage. It looks like this:

Clicking on this button pulls up the audio player popup window described above, queued to the Bible chapter you’re viewing. (Note that audio isn’t available for all Bible versions; if there is no audio version of the Bible you’re reading, the audio button will not appear.) As mentioned above, because our audio Bibles are broken down into chapters, the audio will start at the beginning of the chapter you’re reading; it won’t start at a specific verse within the chapter.

We hope this makes it easy for you to listen to the Bible on Bible Gateway!

Posted by Andy

A Lamp On A Stand (Guest Post by Annie Downs)

This is the third post in a series; in part 2, Annie discussed what it means to be a “city on a hill.”

I have too many lamps in my house. I love the soft warm light that lamps put off in each room. So instead of having overhead lights turned on, I prefer a few lamps in the living room, a couple in the bedroom, even one in the bathroom (which is when I realized I had too many lamps—when I could spare one from a main room for the bathroom). I feel like lamps make a home feel welcoming and open, inviting and friendly.

We’ve been talking about these verses about light for the last few weeks. I wonder if Jesus thought of lamps the same way we do now, and how they affect the feel of a home.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV).

You are a light to the world. You are a city on a hill. And you are a lamp.

To be a lamp on a stand, we have to speak love to the people in our homes. In my book Speak Love, I write about how important it is to treat your family well with the words that you use.

Jesus gives us two options for our lamp that shines to everyone in the house—it can be on a stand or under a bowl. I grew up with two younger sisters and we argued often, so I know just what it feels like to have my lamp snuffed out, and I equally know what it is to shove my own light under a bowl and say the mean things.

While the people in your home may be the easiest victims for your short temper or frustrated feelings, they are also the ones that can be the most affected by speaking kindness and love into their minds and hearts.

I want to use my words to be a lamp on a stand for my family. I know how a lamp makes me feel about the place I live—is it presumptuous to wonder if a family member full of encouraging and loving words could make a home feel the same way a beautiful lamp does on a dark night?

It doesn’t take a massive amount of work—a sympathetic word where frustration is expected, an encouraging note left in a lunchbox, reminding your parents that you are grateful for them. Choosing to speak love to the people in your house will make a bigger impact than you can imagine, just like the change in a living room when a lamp is turned on in the middle of the night. You are that lamp on a stand.

Annie Downs is an author who loves helping young people—especially teen girls and young women—overcome the challenges that life puts in the way of their spiritual development. Her most recent book is Speak Love. Follow Annie at her blog, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by Andy

What Are People Around the World Searching For in the Bible?

In a previous post, we reported that visitors to BibleGateway.com come from 92% of the world: 242 countries or territories out of a possible 263, including Vatican City, Israel, Palestine, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea. These visitors spent more than 76 million hours last year searching, reading, studying, comparing, and sharing the Bible in their own languages.

But what, exactly, were they looking for in the Bible? And do Bible readers in different parts of the world gravitate toward different sections of the Bible?

As a helpful visual resource, the strategic mission research and mapping agency GMI used data supplied by Bible Gateway to create the following Missiographic (click image to enlarge):

Missiographic: What Are People Searching For?

(Click for a PDF version.)

What conclusions can we draw from this? As the chart shows, people in the ten most populous countries in the world are reading Psalms, Genesis, the Gospels, and 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s a breakdown, taken from the Missiographic, of the most popular Bible passages in the ten most populous countries:

China 

  1. Matthew 1
  2. John 1
  3. Psalm 23
  4. 1 Corinthians 13
  5. Genesis 2
India

  1. Psalm 23
  2. Genesis 1
  3. John 3:16
  4. Psalm 1
  5. Proverbs 1
USA

  1. Psalm 23
  2. 1 Corinthians 13
  3. Genesis 1
  4. John 3:16
  5. Jeremiah 29:11
Indonesia

  1. Genesis 1
  2. John 3:16
  3. 1 Corinthians 13
  4. Ecclesiastes 3
  5. Psalm 1
Brazil

  1. Genesis 1
  2. Psalm 23
  3. 1 Corinthians 13
  4. John 3:16
  5. John 1
Pakistan

  1. Psalm 23
  2. Psalm 91
  3. Genesis 1
  4. Proverbs 1
  5. Psalm 89
Bangladesh

  1. Psalm 91
  2. Psalm 89
  3. Genesis 1
  4. Psalm 23
  5. 1 Corinthians 13
Nigeria

  1. Psalm 23
  2. Psalm 51
  3. Psalm 121
  4. Genesis 1
  5. Psalm 27
Russia

  1. 1 Corinthians 13
  2. Matthew 1
  3. Psalm 23
  4. John 1
  5. Matthew 5
Japan

  1. Genesis 1
  2. Psalm 23
  3. John 1
  4. Psalm 91
  5. 1 Corinthians 13

Posted by Jonathan

Sweeter Than Honey

By Mel Lawrenz of The Brook Network, author of Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership.

God longs for us to receive his word as contained in the Scriptures. To demonstrate this God had a prophet eat a scroll that tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth (Ezek. 3:3). Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

How, then, do we make Scripture reading and study rich disciplines in our lives? Here are some time-tested fundamental guidelines.

1. Just read it. Don’t wait until you have a master plan for consuming the whole of Scripture. Don’t wait until things are just right or until you have a large block of time to read Scripture. Avoidance keeps us from God’s voice, and simple procrastination does the same. When my grandfather was teaching me how to fish and watched me fiddling with my tackle, playing with bobbers and hooks and sinkers (with which I was utterly fascinated), he told me, “You won’t catch any fish unless your line is in the water. Just fish!” And I found out that he was right. I never once caught a fish when my line was out of the water. It is guaranteed. I’ve thought of that lesson many times when I suspect I’ve been keen on talking about the theory of spiritual life instead of just doing it.

Just read it. If you have a Bible reading plan, stick with it. If you don’t, first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, read just one chapter or even a few verses. Commit to opening your Bible at least once every day. If you want to grow a garden, you’ve got to get the seed in the ground.

Just read it.

2. Join your reading with praying. Again, if you are only beginning this discipline, don’t worry about the form and the quantity. Pray “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Ps. 119:18). And after you’ve read, take a few minutes to quietly reflect on the thoughts prompted by the passage. Tell God what you’ve learned, what you want to thank him for, and ask for further guidance.

3. Read and trust. When we read Scripture, seeds are being planted. We may not see immediately how the story of Solomon, Paul’s letter to Titus, or the book of Revelation will benefit us today. You may read something today that you do not understand at all. But as surely as seeds that are planted in rich, loamy soil with plenty of moisture will sprout, grow, and flourish, so will faithful daily readings of Scripture. Jesus taught about the Word of God in terms of seed that sometimes falls on the path (deaf ears), sometimes falls on rocky, shallow soil (superficial interest), and sometimes falls on soil choked with weeds (worldly competition). But when the seed falls into the heart of someone who is really listening and who trusts that God has spoken out of his love, then a living crop of truth will come to be. It just takes time and trust and a discipline that gets the seed planted in the first place.

Posted by Mel Lawrenz

Five Bible Passages That Show Us What True Love Looks Like

Valentine’s Day is here! Maybe you’re looking forward to a romantic date night with the love of your life… or maybe you’re resigned to playing video games and curating your Pinterest boards by yourself while all your friends go out with their significant others. (Hey, we’ve all been there.)

Either way, Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to learn what the Bible teaches us about love. Not the shallow “love” on display in advertisements and marketing copy, but real, genuine love—the self-sacrificing, grace-extending attitude that God wants to see embodied in all of our relationships, not just our romantic ones. Whatever your plans for Valentine’s Day, take a minute to reflect on these five powerful Bible verses that explain what true love looks like.

1. 1 Corinthians 13

Perhaps the most famous Bible passage about love, this one is frequently and understandably recited at weddings. But as with many well-known Bible quotes about love, it’s not just romantic love that is being described:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a ringing brass gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and I know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I parcel out all my possessions, and if I hand over my body in order that I will be burned, but do not have love, it benefits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not boast, it does not become conceited, it does not behave dishonorably, it is not selfish, it does not become angry, it does not keep a record of wrongs, it does not rejoice at unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will pass away. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but whenever the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside the things of a child. For now we see through a mirror indirectly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know completely, just as I have also been completely known. And now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (LEB)

2. 1 John 4:16-18

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)

3. Romans 12:9-13

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. (HCSB)

4. 1 John 3:10-17

This is how God’s children and the devil’s children are apparent: everyone who doesn’t practice righteousness is not from God, including the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister. This is the message that you heard from the beginning: love each other. Don’t behave like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he kill him? He killed him because his own works were evil, but the works of his brother were righteous. Don’t be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have transferred from death to life, because we love the brothers and sisters. The person who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him? (CEB)

5. Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)

How does the picture of love in these verses compare to the type of love that marketing campaigns and relationship manuals exhort us to practice? Do you exhibit this type of love toward your spouse or significant other? Do you exhibit this type of love toward everyone in your life?

Posted by Andy

A City On A Hill (Guest Post by Annie Downs)

This is the second post in a series; in part 1, Annie discussed what it means to be a “light to the world.”

Your words matter. How you speak to those around you makes a bigger difference than you could ever know.

In Matthew, Jesus tells us four ways we can be a light.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

We already discussed what it is to be a light to the world, but what does it mean to be a city on a hill?

To be a city on a hill, we have to speak love to our community. That’s what Edinburgh Castle does right in the heart of the capital of Scotland—it is a beacon for the whole city, for the ones who live right there. When all is dark, there it proudly sits atop the Royal Mile, lit on every corner, giving a reference point to anyone in view.

A city requires more than one light. It’s interesting how Jesus listed these, because again- just like with the light of the world—He’s showing us that we matter in a bigger story than just our own. We have to shine together, work together, speak love together, in order to be a city lit up for the benefit of those in the dark.

Nothing infuriated me in college like street preachers on our campus. It bothered me how they yelled and screamed justice and law and seemingly forgot grace. But what they caused, every semester, was a buzz on campus, a flicker of light. Unbeknownst to us (and maybe even to them), their judgmental statements always ended up allowing the rest of the Christians on a non-Christian campus to shine together, like a city on a hill, and stand up for grace.

It can look like that to be a city. It can also look like teaching Sunday School at your church or coaching a soccer team. It can be speaking up for the less fortunate in your area and helping to see them provided for. Your words can impact your community, and as you band together with other believers, you become an integral part of a city on a hill.

Annie Downs is an author who loves helping young people—especially teen girls and young women—overcome the challenges that life puts in the way of their spiritual development. Her most recent book is Speak Love. Follow Annie at her blog, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by Andy

Balancing Life, Faith, and Relationships: “Boundaries” and “His Princess Every Day” Begin on Valentine’s Day!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got two brand new email devotionals that both focus on balancing life, faith, and relationships!

The new devotionals are Boundaries and His Princess Every Day; both begin this Friday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day!). Click here to sign up.

Here’s a bit more about the new devotionals:

Boundaries

boundariesHow can you manage your relationships, family life, personal needs, and all of the other pressures and responsibilities you face? Can you set limits and still be a loving person? What can you do when someone wants more time, love, energy, or money than you’re comfortable giving?

Boundaries is a new weekly devotional drawn from the popular Boundaries book series written over the last decade by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Each week, you’ll read a short essay with practical guidance about setting healthy boundaries in dating, marriage, parenthood, and more. Sign up for the Boundaries devotional here.

His Princess Every Day

sheri-rose-shepherdIf God were to write a personal letter to you, what would He have to say to you? If the many letters that make up the New Testament are an indication, a personal letter from God would be encouraging, uplifting, convicting, and sometimes challenging.

Sheri Rose Shepherd has set out to imagine what such personal letters would look like throughout her best-selling His Princess books, and now she’s making the best of those letters available as a daily email devotional at Bible Gateway. Each weekday, you’ll get a daily “letter from God” as imagined by Sheri Rose Shepherd—something that will encourage you and deepen your faith. Sign up for His Princess Every Day here.

We’re very excited to add these devotionals to our online library—although they take very different approaches, both are about grounding your everyday life in faith and aligning your priorities to match God’s will. Both Boundaries and His Princess Every Day begin this Friday. Sign up today!

Posted by Andy

The Light of the World (Guest Post by Annie Downs)

When I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, I was often entranced by Edinburgh Castle. Built thousands of years ago when castles weren’t just for show but also for protection and battle, Edinburgh Castle sits high on hill, mostly surrounded by steep cliffs. At night, no matter where you are in the city proper, the lights of the castle can be seen.

The night before I moved back to the States, I was wandering aimlessly on the cobblestone streets of the city, listening to some melancholic music and thinking through WHAT IT ALL MEANS. (I don’t often have movie-worthy scenes in my everyday life, so when one presents itself like this, I milk it.) I stopped behind the pizza place off Princes Street and looked up to the castle, knowing this night view was my last.

It was the first time I really understood what Jesus meant when He talked about a city on a hill in Matthew.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

I’ve pondered over this verse, and what it means for us as believers—to be like Edinburgh Castle, to be a city on a hill when darkness falls all around us. In my book Speak Love, I write about the power of words and how we can use our words to impact those around us. These verses illuminate four main ways we can use our words to positively affect others.

Four ways, Jesus says, that we are to shine:

  • Be a light to the world.
  • Be a city on a hill.
  • Be a lamp on a stand.
  • Be a light.

To be a light to the world, we have to speak love to the world. Think big first, He says. It’s like He is taking time to remind us that this story we are living isn’t just about us– don’t just think about the light, think about the world. And thanks to social media and the ability to print content on the WORLD wide web (case in point: this article), we are able to use our words to literally impact the entire world. Whether you want to translate the Bible for tribes who do not yet have it in their native tongue, move to the ends of the Earth to share the Gospel, or use Bible Gateway to understand a new translation of an old favorite verse to share in your writing, impacting the world with our words is easier than it has ever been before.

Don’t underestimate the massive impact your words can have. Ask anyone who has had a blog post or a tweet go viral, for better or for worse. What you assume will be read by a small population can reach a global audience in a disturbingly short amount of time.

Trust God with your words–with their potential and reach. Whether it is one conversation in a coffee shop in India with a young woman who has never heard of Jesus or one blog post that is read by millions, your words matter. You are the light of the world.

Annie Downs is an author who loves helping young people—especially teen girls and young women—overcome the challenges that life puts in the way of their spiritual development. Her most recent book is Speak Love. Follow Annie at her blog, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by Andy

The Olympics, the Nations, Life, and God

By Mel Lawrenz, Director of The Brook Network and creator of The Influence Project.

If you are among the billions (literally, billions) of people around the world who will watch at least some of the Olympics over the next two weeks, here are some biblical perspectives worth contemplating—and maybe sharing with other people.

1. Athletic competitions are an opportunity for us to contemplate the meaning of perseverance in life. The Apostle Paul (who would have known the reputation of the ancient Olympic games) said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). And “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Every athlete competing at the Olympic level needs to persevere, not for a few days, but through years of training. Faith is for one’s whole life.

2. The nations of the world are an amazing spectacle, but they are like a drop in a bucket to God. The nations of the world sometimes gather in goodwill athletic competition, but sometimes they war against each other. God’s sovereignty and grace is what gives us hope. As Isaiah put it:

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
(Isaiah 40:15, 21-22).

So the Olympics are an opportunity to learn about this amazing world in which we live and the incredible range of human experiences, but they are also an opportunity to think of the greatness of God who is Lord over the nations.

3. By God’s grace, everyone can win in faith. That may sound like a cheap slogan, but it is true. In the Olympics we see competitors who have spent their lives preparing for the big event, and may be shattered if they only get a bronze medal rather than gold. From God’s perspective any man or woman, boy or girl, who gains forgiveness through faith in Christ and who lives in the light of that faith, is a victor. It is not about comparing yourself to someone else (which in the realm of faith always makes us losers). You look to Jesus, run the race, worship the King and serve other people, and then celebrate that God has allowed you to be part of the greatest global spectacle there ever has been.

Posted by Mel Lawrenz

What Does it Mean to be “Bible-minded”?

What does it mean to be “Bible-minded”? That term has seen a lot of use in the last week (including by us) in discussions of American Bible Society’s survey of America’s most “Bible-minded” cities. (As followers of our blog know, we’ve responded to the survey by running our own analyses of the top Bible-reading cities in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia.)

But what does that term mean? In your opinion, is a “Bible-minded” person someone who…

  • …thinks about the Bible a lot?
  • …believes that the Bible is God’s Word?
  • …believes that the Bible is scientifically and/or historically accurate?
  • …obeys Biblical laws and instructions?
  • …is a Christian?
  • …belongs to a specific Christian denomination, a particular political party, or other group?
  • …reads the Bible obsessively?
  • …tries to base their actions and lifestyle on certain principles found in the Bible?
  • …some, all, or none of the above?

You can probably supply many more possible definitions of the term, but the point is: it’s not immediately obvious what it means to be “Bible-minded.” Because it had to stick to one definition of the term for its survey, American Bible Society chose to define “Bible-minded” as referring to someone who reads the Bible regularly and believes in the Bible’s accuracy. When we ran our companion studies here at Bible Gateway, we looked at the frequency of visits to online Bibles. Some stories reporting on the survey gave the term a different slant, equating “Bible-mindedness” with “godliness.” These different definitions might be interesting or even useful, but none paint a completely satisfying picture of “Bible-mindedness.” And they point to the frustrating vagueness of the original term, as Religion Dispatches writer Brent Plate bluntly observes:

The first sentence of the Barna article explains that the poll was about “the role of the Bible in U.S. Society.” The fine print in the survey suggests something slightly different: “Respondents who report reading the Bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as ‘Bible-minded.’” No suggestions are given that someone might act anything scriptural out, put the Bible to use, or otherwise engage it in real life. What we are left with is the idea that people read the Bible and call it accurate, and thus we know something about society.

The logical leaps here are vast. In reality, the survey is not telling us about any “role” of the Bible. It’s all just a mind game.

Despite the difficulty in defining it, “Bible-mindedness” is neither a bad term nor something we shouldn’t pursue. The Bible itself challenges us to be Bible-minded, and you can be sure that the ancient Israelites who first read or heard these pieces of Scripture asked the same questions we’re asking now:

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.” — Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV)

Bind [God's laws] on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart. — Proverbs 7:3 (NIV)

Whether we call it “Bible-minded,” “Bible-hearted,” or any other term, the questions being asked are: why do we read the Bible, and what effect should it have on our lives?

As Christians, we can point to one obvious reason that we read the Bible: to learn the truth about God and humanity. But why do we keep reading the Bible? Why does the Bible instruct believers to continually read and teach Scripture?

There are a lot of solid answers to that question, but one passage in particular gives us a good picture of what a “Bible-minded” life looks like:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. — 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

This passage is very nearly a checklist of how to “apply the Bible to your life” (to use another common, but also frustratingly vague, phrase). When you read the Bible, do you…

  • …open your mind to the truths it teaches you?
  • …allow it to convict you, when necessary, of sin in your life?
  • …respond to that conviction with prayer, repentance, and other Bible-based action?
  • …earnestly try to put into practice the teachings and values taught in the Bible, with a goal of pursuing righteousness (as the Bible defines “righteousness”)?

If you pursue those actions when you read the Bible, then you’re on your way to living a “Bible-minded” life: a life convicted and reformed on an ongoing basis by God’s Word. That definition encompasses a million different individual experiences of the Bible, and it’s much too involved a definition for practical use in a survey—but by God’s grace, it’s within reach of all of us.

Posted by Andy