How do I read the Bible practically? In this video, Pastor David Platt provides a four-fold framework for how to read the Bible and experience intimacy with God. Pastor Platt does this through an acrostic: MAPS. First, he exhorts us to meditate on and memorize the Word of God because of its great worth. Second, he encourages Christians to apply the Bible and thus be transformed by it. Third, Pastor Platt urges us to pray the Bible, thereby communicating honestly and biblically with God. Finally, he challenges us to share the Bible with others because of how its truth has transformed us. When a person reads the Bible intentionally and practically, they allow the Word to dwell richly in them.
- Meditate and Memorize
Watch Full Sermon of “We Glorify God…“
How to Read the Bible Practically: MAPS
Let’s seek God together through his word. And this is the last acrostic. I’ll remind you of three acrostics today. We talked about this one last year. So again, this will be review for many but new for some, we use the word maps as a guide to get from reading the Bible to experiencing intimacy with God. So maps.
Memorize the Bible
And if you remember M stands for two words, anybody remember what they are? Meditate and memorize. It’s kind of really funny if you didn’t remember that. So anyway, meditate and memorize. So the whole picture here is coming to the Bible. We’re not just going to reading like, “Okay, check that box.” Now we’re meditating. We’re going to talk about this more in just a minute. But we read the Bible slowly. We ponder what it’s saying. We’re soaking in what it means. We read this different than any other book.
It’s not just like scrolling through the news on your phone. Okay. Or scrolling through this or that on Facebook. It’s not just kind of seeing what’s there. It’s stopping and listening and pondering. What is this passage saying? Who’s writing it? Who are the first people who receive this? What would they have thought about this? What’s the whole point of this passage?
Meditate on The Bible
And what does it mean? What does this passage teach about who God is, about who we are, about who Jesus is, about what it means to follow him? And then as we’re meditating, pondering over, soaking in, we look for verses or even passages or chapters sometimes that we want to memorize. So memorization is one of the most practical ways of meditation. Because when you memorize something, you say it over and over and over again, you cement it in your head.
That’s what we’re doing. When we think about meditation, memorization is one of the best ways to do that. So it just becomes a part of you. So we try to memorize. Maybe I’ll encourage you to set a goal for that. Maybe it’s a verse a week, or maybe more. We meditate, and memorize.
Apply the Bible
Then we, A, apply. So we ask how does what I just read transform my thoughts, my desires, or my actions? Think head, heart, hands. How does what we read in God’s word change the way we think?
So just read through the Bible and go, “Okay, how does this change the way I think? How does this change what I desire, what I want in my life, what I want for my family, what I want in the world? And what does this passage compel me then to do? What is what I just read change about the way I act? How does it change the way I speak? How does it change the way I serve other people? The way I love people in my … What changes in my life, my actions, my words, as a result of what I’ve just read?”
Pray the Bible
So James 1 says, we just read the word and don’t walk away thinking about how it applies to our life. We have missed the whole point. So we apply, then asking these questions in application leads us to P, which is pray. So do what we just said, asking or yield, according to God’s words. So we pray according to what we read. We praise God according to what we read. When we read things, we learn about God in the word that just leads us to praise him. When we see things in the word that we are falling short in, it leads us to repent of sin in our hearts about not obeying God’s word. It leads us to ask for things. What’s key is here, now we’re asking for what God wants, not what we want and God promises. You’re my words abide in you. Ask whatever you want and it will be given you because you’ll be asking according to what I know is best for you.
How to Read the Bible Practically: Share the Bible
So we pray according to, we ask according to God’s word, then obviously we yield according to God’s word. God help me live this out, which finally leads to S which is share. So write down your reflections, talk about them with others. Write down your reflections. I use a running journal on my iPad. Just a word file. It’s just really simple that it just has reflections on the word each day. Different people could do different things. Obviously, there’s not a Bible verse I can take you to that says you need to write out this or that. I just find it really, really helpful. Both my prayer time and keeping my focus instead of my mind wandering everywhere. And then as I’m reading the word to spend time just writing out what am I learning in it. And then I write it out, not just for my own sake, because I want to share what I’ve learned with other people around me.
This is what we say to each other every week when we leave worship. All authority in heaven and earth have been given to me, go there for and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them. And then the father, son, the holy spirit and teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. So as he speaks to us, then we are supposed to pass that on to others. Listen to these verses. Remember Deuteronomy 6:6–9 we’ve looked at them before.
These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand. This shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates
Did you hear that? Talk about my word. God says when you’re sitting in your house, when you’re walking by the way, when you’re lying down and when you’re rising. That pretty much covers it. All the time is God’s word like that in your life.