The Bible is full of wisdom and insight for daily living. It can teach about love, patience, and faith, and it provides strength and comfort during hard times. Here are some tips to help you get started reading the Bible.
1. Choose a Bible Translation
You should choose a Bible translation that best suits your reading level and understanding. Some of the most popular English translations include New International Version (NIV), King James Version (KJV), and English Standard Version (ESV). Compare different translations to see which ones suit your needs and preferences.
If you are truly starting from scratch, try beginning with the New Living Translation, which is written in a more contemporary and accessible style. You can also find versions written for young readers, such as the Children’s Bible or other kid-friendly translations like The Adventure Bible or The Bible in Pictures.
2. Take it One Book at a Time
Many people are intimidated by the size of the Bible and its unfamiliar language. To make things easier, try taking it one book at a time. Start at the beginning with the Book of Genesis and work your way through the Old Testament, then move on to the New Testament. Remember not to rush it – give yourself time to process what you’re reading.
Try highlighting or taking notes on verses or passages that stand out to you. This will help you make connections that you wouldn’t necessarily catch on the first read-through. If you become overwhelmed trying to read through a book, simply break it up into manageable chunks.
3. Read with an Open Mind
The Bible is a unique collection of stories, poetry, and wisdom from many different peoples and communities. It is important to remember the cultural context in which these stories were written. As you read, try to remain open minded and consider how the content of the Bible might look from different perspectives.
This type of exercise will help you better understand the text and will enable you to connect with it on a deeper level.
4. Find a Study Partner
Find a friend, family member, or mentor to read the Bible with you. Having someone to discuss and learn with can be incredibly helpful. Not only will it keep you motivated, but a study partner can act as a sounding board, helping to explain confusing passages or offer a different perspective on what you have read.
It can also be beneficial to seek out a Bible study group. Joining a study group gives you access to multiple perspectives and allows you to ask questions without feeling judged. Seek out a reputable study group near you, or start your own with like-minded individuals.
5. Pray for Guidance
One of the best ways to approach reading the Bible is to pray for guidance. Ask God to open your heart to hear and see the message of the scripture. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with understanding and instill you with the courage to act on it.
You don’t have to worry about not understanding or knowing what to do with what you read. God will lead you in the right direction as you continue to pray and read the Bible.
6. Read About Jesus
Jesus Christ is the central figure of the Bible and the person who brings it all together. Start by reading the four gospels to get an overview of Jesus’ life. Move on to the Book of Acts to read stories of the early church and focus on the books of Ephesians and Colossians to read about Jesus as Lord and King.
Other books in the Bible are also full of amazing stories and lessons about Jesus that can help you strengthen your faith. Consider carrying a small, pocket-sized Bible with you so that you can access Scripture and remember God’s promises whenever you need them.
7. Don’t Be Discouraged
Reading the Bible for the first time can be overwhelming. To avoid feeling discouraged, keep in mind that even if you don’t understand every single passage, you are still gaining something valuable from the experience. Focus on what stands out and pray for clarity when needed. Don’t forget how amazing and rewarding it can be to read and study the Word of God.
Review And Memorize
After each session, take some time to go over any verses or passages that stood out. Reflect on what they mean and how they can be applied to your life. If it helps, keep a journal to jot down thoughts and reflections. Taking notes will also help you to review and remember key points.
If possible, try to memorize scripture. This will help to not only recall passages more easily, but it will also help to fortify your spirit with God’s promises in times of uncertainty or distress.
Discover Bible Commentaries
Don’t be afraid to explore spiritual commentaries and Christian media. If a particular passage or chapter is difficult to understand on its own, bible commentaries can help to provide additional insight and analysis. Look for commentaries written by respected scholars, theologians, and church leaders.
Some online platforms, such as Bible Gateway, also offer commentaries and helpful study aids. These are often accompanied by reading plans and suggested questions to help you dig deeper into the passage.
Keep Up With The Times
The Bible was written over centuries, so it is important to remind yourself of the history and context of when certain passages were written. To help with this, try reading about the current events, social issues, and events that were taking place when the passage was written. This will give you a clearer picture of how the verses and stories relate to today.
To further explore biblical history, take advantage of opportunities to visit important sites. Touring places like Jerusalem, the Sinai Desert, and Petra are incredible ways to help connect the stories with the setting in which they took place.
Read Related Resources
Don’t limit yourself to the Bible – there are many helpful resources available to supplement your reading. Look for devotionals, spiritual memoirs, or even fiction that deals with biblical topics or themes. And don’t forget to read inspiring stories of other people living out their faith.
These resources can provide an unexpected source of comfort and insight. They can also do an excellent job of putting the stories of the bible in a modern context and help to show how the Bible can be applied to our lives.