Reading the Bible for Transformation

Let the Bible transform you by the renewing of your mind.

Much biblical illiteracy stems from a simple lack of reading Scripture. Make Bible reading a priority. Follow a Bible-reading plan. Very often, Bible reading ignites a greater love for God. So take up and read!

The apostle Paul encouraged the Roman believers, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Here are five means by which we can appropriate the truth of Scripture for spiritual transformation.

Read the Bible

Many Christians in the West do not know the books of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or the events of Jesus’s life. Much of this biblical illiteracy stems from a simple lack of reading Scripture. Make Bible reading a priority. Follow a Bible-reading plan. Very often, Bible reading ignites a greater love for reading. So take up and read!

For some practical ways to start reading the Bible, check out the suggestions below:

  • If you are wondering where the Ten Commandments are, we are here to help! Go ahead and flip over to Exodus 20 where you will find these important commandments God gave Moses.
  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, known as The Gospels, showcase important parts of Jesus’ life all the way from His birth to His death and resurrection as well as the miracles He performed and His calling and ministry of His disciples. The Book of Mark can be a great Gospel to start with as it's the shortest, but it's important to read all four Gospels to gain a more complete understanding of Jesus. 
  • If you are just starting to read the Bible, make a goal to read for 5 to 10 minutes a day, focusing on reading just one chapter. Quality can be more useful than quantity then you're starting out.
  • You can also use a Bible reading plan to help you navigate reading Scripture. There are plans that can help you read through the entire Bible in a year, plans for a month, or even a week. Below are a few to start with: 

Memorize Scripture

Children stop memorizing Bible verses around middle-school age, never to pick it up again. Adults today, by and large, do not make the effort to memorize Scripture. The psalmist writes, “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). Oh, how we need to write God’s Word on the tablet of our hearts today!

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Before you set out to memorize the entire New Testament, start with a few verses.
  2. Ask others in your church or family to join you in keeping you accountable.
  3. Incorporate as many ways to memorize as possible — through music, writing verses out on paper, repetition, and other creative ideas.

Here are some really great verses to start with along with some great tips to help you with memorization:

  • Make a goal of one verse a week. You can record each verse you have memorized in a journal and review them at the end of each week.
  • When you have selected a verse, write the reference of the verse and then the complete Bible verse on a sticky note or index card. You can easily carry this around with you and take a quick look when you have some downtime.
  • Here are some great verses to start with below:
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17
    • 1 John 3:16
    • Colossians 4:6
    • Ephesians 2:8-9

Adults today, by and large, do not make the effort to memorize Scripture. Oh how we need to write God’s Word on the tablet of our hearts today!

Brandon Taylor in Reading the Bible for Transformation

Meditate on Scripture

When we talk about “meditation,” we are not talking about the Eastern religious practice of crossing your legs, saying “Om,” and emptying your mind. Biblical meditation seeks to fill the mind with the truth, meaning, and application of the biblical text. In so doing, the Spirit of God aligns our minds with the mind of Christ so that we might be transformed into his likeness. Meditating on God’s Word bears the fruit of a healthy and fruit-filled faith, which brings delight and godly perspective to your life and to the lives of those around you.

Below are some easy steps to take as you begin meditating on Scripture:

  • Find a quiet comfortable place for you to focus. This could be a nice spot outside or a comfortable spot in the house. Doing this in your bed or lying down could be challenging as it may be harder to focus.
  • Take a few deep breaths and pray for God to reveal to you something about himself or truth from God’s Word. 
  • Choose a passage that is about 5 to 10 verses long.
  • Read through the verses all together one time through.
  • Read through the first verse and ask yourself what the verse says about God, humanity, sin, or how it impacts you personally. You may have to do this several times.
  • Repeat for each verse.
  • Read the whole passage all the way through again.
  • Pray about what you may have learned from the passage to close out your time.

Pray Scripture

Matthew Henry (1662–1714), the great Bible commentator, confined his prayers — almost entirely — to the language of  Scripture. Praying the Word of God to God not only provides God-honoring language but also transforms our souls in the process. By praying Scripture, we appropriate its truth in our thoughts and affections, which renews our minds and draws us heavenward. Filling our prayers with God’s Word transforms our hearts by reflecting back to Him the holiness and beauty of His revealed truth.

Below are some great passages to pray through based on different topics:

  • Restoration from sin: Psalm 51
  • Depression or desperation: Psalm 42
  • Praise of God’s sovereignty: Psalm 115 or Exodus 15:1-18
  • Humility: Philippians 2:6-11
  • Focus on thankfulness: Colossians 3:15-17 

Become Involved in a Community of Faith

In a local church, believers are transformed through the faithful preaching of the Word, Bible study, small groups, counseling, and the many other contexts of Scripture-saturated edification. From accountability to encouragement, God has seen fit to equip you with the tools for gospel transformation within the community of faith. As you read, memorize, meditate, and pray the Scriptures within the community of faith, may God plant you by streams of grace so that you may bear fruit in season, for his glory and your joy.

Portions of this article are adapted from The Bible Guide.

Brandon Taylor serves on the Bible marketing team at LifeWay and has been on staff for more than 6 years. He resides in Nashville, Tenn., and enjoys Alabama football, ice cream, any type of game, and loves to see the powerful impact of God's Word in the lives of people.

The Bible Guide: A Concise Overview of All 66 Books provides a brief and concise overview of each book in the Bible. Included is a concise summary of each book’s circumstances of writing, message and purpose, structure, and contribution to the Bible. A practical take-away helps apply a principle from each book to everyday life.