Do you read the Bible? I hope you do. When you read the Bible, how do you read it? How much time do you give yourself to read it? Each day, I set aside time to read the Bible, and because I’ve set aside the time, there’s no pressure to get my reading done. Therefore, while I’m reading, I have the time to study what I’m reading.

Believe it or not, reading and studying the Bible aren’t necessarily the same. When I’m standing in a long line at the grocery store, and while I’m waiting, I open up my Bible app and read the Bible. I’m reading the Bible. While there’s nothing wrong with reading the Bible in such a circumstance, I know I’m not giving it my full attention. That’s the difference between reading and studying the Bible. The amount of attention we give to what we’re reading.

When we give our full attention to what we’re reading, we’re more likely to stop and think about what we’ve read. Does it make sense? If not, why? Then, what do we do to clarify what we’ve read? Quickly reading through the Bible is one way to misunderstand what it says. For example, in Exodus 9, we read about three plagues that struck the Egyptians: one against their livestock, one of the boils, and the plague of hail.

We are given this insight when we read about the plague on livestock.

And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died (emphasis added).

Exodus 9:6 (NIV)

When we read about the hail, we are given this insight.

Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.'”

Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.

Exodus 9:19-21 (NIV)

If we’re reading through Exodus quickly or not giving it our full attention, we might need clarification about the livestock. In verse 6, we’re told, “All of the livestock of the Egyptians died,” but in verses 19-21, the livestock are alive and need to be put into a shelter, or they will die. How could all the livestock have died in verse 6 only to be in jeopardy later in verses 19-21?

If we go back to when the Lord declared that there would be a plague on the livestock, we get our answer.

The hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats (emphasis added).

Exodus 9:3 (NIV)

Only the livestock in the field would be struck down by the plague on the livestock. Therefore, when we read verse 6, which tells us all of the livestock died, it’s saying that all the livestock in the field died. Those left in barns and other shelters did not.

Therefore, when we get to the plague of hail, the previously sheltered livestock out in the fields are in jeopardy.

It’s easy to miss that the first group of livestock was out in the field, even if we’ve set aside the time to read and are taking our time. How much easier to miss it if we’re quickly reading through the Bible? This is one reason I like having a Bible app on my phone where I can highlight and leave notes since it doesn’t take much time to highlight a verse and leave myself a note. Something like, “I thought they all died. What’s going on?” That way, I can come back later and find out what I missed.

Reading our Bibles is a good thing. By reading the Bible, our relationship with God will grow. However, it’s better when we set aside the time to read our Bibles and give God our full attention. In either situation, if we find ourselves lacking in wisdom and understanding, we know we can ask God for enlightenment, and he will illuminate us.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.