This year I have been (and will continue) trying to encourage you (and me) to think seriously about developing spiritually. The focus of my articles (and sermons) has been to give you some practical tools for growing in faith. My hope is that by the end of 2012 we will all have matured as disciples of Jesus Christ.
There are two primary ways that we are looking at this year: Prayer and Bible Study. The more time we spend in each, the more we will find ourselves becoming like Christ. The problem that we have is that too often we are clueless about how to go about praying. We get easily overwhelmed by trying to read the Bible.
First of all, let me say that I believe it is a misconception to think that the Bible is hard to understand. In earlier English versions we find language that has become archaic. Consequently, since the language is difficult we assume that the concepts are difficult as well. This is a very easy issue to overcome. To understand the text of the Bible with complete clarity, get a Bible in a translation or version that you can understand. I use the New King James Version, but some more accessible versions include the New Living Translation, the Message and the New International Version.
There are some other resources that will easily help you as you learn more about God's Word. The internet has become a tool for many things, including the Bible. Some of my favorite, and most helpful websites, include http://www.biblegateway.com/ . Bible Gateway is a collection of Bibles that can be searched by word, topic or verse reference. I use Bible Gateway on a weekly basis. Another excellent resource is net.bible.org. It is a new translation that includes a multitude of study notes and explanations.
There are many other resources to consider in your Bible study as well.
A study Bible comes complete with commentary, explanatory notes and concordance.
A concordance will help you find a verse by know a word in the verse.
A Bible commentary will help to explain a particular passage in a way that makes it easier to understand and apply to life.
A Bible dictionary will offer definitions for hard to understand words and concepts.
All of these items are available for loan in the church library or the church office in addition to be available for purchase at any Christian bookstore or at christianbook.com.
Happy Bible reading! Understanding God's word will make a world of difference in your life.