One vital part of the teaching program of most churches is missing: that of teaching believers how to enjoy their Bible. Most seem content to have followers in the Sunday service as spectators to a show plus some points to help them in the coming week, and don’t forget to come next Sunday! I want to demonstrate how easy it is to get daily encouragement from reading your own Bible.
Possibly the most well-known and constantly used passage is Psalm 23, written by David. It is almost universally used at funerals, the hymn versions are also favorites, and I would guess a majority of church attendees could recite it from memory. It is really best discussed at Easter, as it follows Psalm 22, the psalm of the Cross. I even found my notes when I preached on verse 1 on Palm Sunday in 1965 and 1982 (yes, Pete and Repeat!). Let’s use it to show how to enjoy your Bible without a college degree! The first suggestion is this: simply read what is written!
“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1a). It is interesting that most of the popular translations and paraphrases do not attempt to change the words of this phrase from the original 1611 edition of the King James Version. I suspect this is because the phrase is so ingrained in English speech and literature. There are no long words here; just five simple words that everyone can understand.
Notice first that the statement is about a relationship between “The Lord” and “me,” that is you, the reader. And this relationship continues through the six verses of the psalm. “He makes me…,” “he leads me…,” “he restores my…,” and so on. Underline the me’s, the my’s, the I’s. Put a circle around “The Lord,” the he’s, the thy’s, the thou’s (or you’s and your’s, depending on your translation). As D.L. Moody said, “Never buy a Bible you can’t write on.” Continue reading