There is a huge difference between (1) reading the Bible and (2) studying the Bible. Reading God’s word is, however, a part of the process of studying it. One cannot dig into/investigate its meaning without reading what it actually says, correct?
There is a blessing for those who read the Scriptures with a noble and good heart. God charged the kings who reigned over the Israelites to read from His law all the days of their lives (Deuteronomy 17:18,19). Blessed/happy are those who read God’s inspired message (Revelation 1:3). On one occasion, Ezra and other Levites “read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). Reading, reading clearly, reading with understanding. All of those are matters of great significance.
As we read the word of God, it is important that we read carefully. It is so easy for our mind to get distracted. When we are distracted, even in the slightest way, it affects our concentration. When our concentration is affected, we tend to miss things or make mistakes in our reading or hearing.
“Belteshazzar,” another name for the prophet Daniel (Daniel 4:8), is not the same as “Belshazzar,” king of Babylon (Daniel 5:1). We must read carefully. “Zephaniah” the prophet (Zephaniah 1:1) is not the same as “Zechariah” the prophet (Zechariah 1:1). Stay focused when reading. “Simeon,” a Spirit-guided man who held Jesus in his hands when He was an infant (Luke 2:25-28), is a different person than “Simon” the leper, in whose house Jesus dined near the end of His life (Mark 14:3). Read carefully.
God’s desire for Christians is to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), not “pay” without ceasing. Focus. “Anna,” a prophetess (Luke 2:36), is different from “Annas,” who was high priest of the Jews (Acts 4:6). Read carefully, and if you read out loud in the presence of others, read distinctly.
Through the years, I have observed in myself and others that, in reading the English Bible, our mistakes often are with small words, not the longer ones. It is as if our eyes see a big word coming up in a sentence and our mind focuses on it, so we “slip up” on some tiny prepositions which precede or follow it. It can happen to any of us. What we need to do is slow down, take our time, and do our best to read carefully. I know. In our private lives, we all are busy. We are in a rush to do this and do that. Let us not allow our hurried-up lives affect our concentration as we read the words of life! I know. In a public assembly of God’s people, there are some clock-watchers, so we do not want to drag our feet in our reading. But, in order to get the fullest benefit out of reading the Bible, we need to read carefully.
When one reads Romans 6, he can get into a heap of trouble by not paying attention to the prepositions. What did Paul write? Did he say that Christians are dead “in” sin or dead “to” sin? There is a mighty big difference! He said that God’s children are dead “to” sin (Romans 6:2). We have separated ourselves from sin in the sense that we no longer are sin’s slaves.
If I am a Christian, there was a time when I was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). When was that? Before I obeyed the gospel, while I still walked in darkness. Before conversion, we were dead in sin . . . after conversion we are dead to sin.
What about believing “in” the Christ and believing “into” Him? The difference in those prepositions is two English letters. We often read in the New Testament about believing “in” Jesus (John 3:16) or believing “on” Him (Acts 16:31). But, we never read in God’s truth of believing “into” Him.
Per God’s arrangement, all spiritual blessings, including redemption (Romans 3:24) and no condemnation (Romans 8:1), are in the Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Again, the Bible never says that we believe “into” the Christ. What does it say? That a person is “baptized into” Him (Galatians 3:27). That is not some so-called “church of Christ doctrine.” That is Bible doctrine. Read it for yourself. If the Bible says it, it cannot be wrong.
Note also that the Bible says a person is baptized “into” the Christ, not baptized “in” Christ. Read carefully, friend. Being baptized “into” Him makes baptism the point of transition . . . from darkness to light . . . from being lost to being saved. Reading is important. How we read is, too. Read carefully.
— Roger D. Campbell