SWORD (The 5 Levels of Bible Reading)

SWORD (The 5 Levels of Bible Reading)

The best way to adopt greater levels of truth is directly from the Bible. Here are five levels of Bible-reading that can take encounters with God and His truth to the next level. Use this SWORD acronym to defeat lies while infusing your spirit with truth.

Level 1: Scan-reading

  • The washing of the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26).
  • This is quantity reading or listening. It is our daily spiritual shower, cleansing us from spiritual dirt we may have picked up.
  • “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2).

Level 2: Wait and Meditate

  • Notice and note what is standing out specifically to you.
  • Mark up your Bible – underline, circle, etc.
  • Think about and meditate on what you have read (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3).

Level 3: One Personal Word

  • We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
  • As we identify specific words/promises God makes real to us, we have a sword to move forward in life (Ephesians 6:17).
  • Remembering our “Aha!” moments in the Bible or sermons, and the unusual coincidence of repeated truths we hear, is key for us to truly live.

Level 4: Resist Lies

  • “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).
  • The fiery darts of the wicked one are primarily lies.  When we resist the devil (James 4:7), we are resisting beliefs contrary to God’s Word.
  • Our shield of faith is not positive thinking, but it is rooted in specific biblical truths God has made real to us.

Level 5: Defeat Lies

  • Jesus persevered in Matthew 4:1-11 by repeatedly speaking “It is written . . . “
  • Jesus did not think His way out of the wilderness, but spoke His way out with God’s promises. He is our example of how to possess freedom.
  • We pull down the strongholds of restrictive beliefs by taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

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