How To Read The Bible For The First Time

1. What Is The Bible?

The Bible is an iconic collection of stories and writings. It is a foundation for many faiths, revered and respected around the world. The Bible contains the account of God’s relationship with humanity, detailing his revelation of himself to us through the stories told in its pages. It also includes instruction and guidance on how to live as good and faithful people.

2. The Bible’s Structure

The first books of the Bible comprise the Old Testament, which contains the Jewish scriptures. The second part is the New Testament, which contains the Gospels, and the stories and teachings of the early Church. They are further divided into the Law, History, Wisdom, Prophets and Writings. The structure of the Bible ensures a logical progression through each book, allowing the reader to easily follow its contents.

3. Understand How It Is Formatted

The Bible can easily be read digitally or physically in printed or audio format. The Bible is printed in different sizes and formats, from traditional hardbacks and leather-bound books to pocket-sized booklets. It is important to pick the language and format that suits you best. The size of characters, font style and spacing can make all the difference when trying to read and understand the Bible.

4. Have An Appropriate Bible Handbook

Many Bible editions come with a Bible Handbook – usually a separate, self-contained book – which, as the name implies, explains the contents of the Bible as a whole and contains brief accounts of every book in the Bible. This guide will help you understand more of the context and the meanings behind the Biblical stories, and offer insight on the discrepancies you might read in different versions.

5. Use A Bible Concordance

A Bible concordance is another great tool to get the most out of your Bible study, as it helps you search for keywords and provides you with the verses that contain that word. A good concordance should also provide you with detailed definitions for each word. You can also search for a word or phrase in different versions of the Bible by using a Multi-Version Bible Comparison Tool.

6. Pray For Guidance

It is important to remember that the Bible is a holy book, and therefore needs to be read with an open mind and heart for the best results. Before starting to read, take a few moments to pray for guidance from the Spirit of God. Pray for discernment and an understanding heart, and be open to learning new things.

7. Set A Goal To Read The Entire Bible

Setting a goal to read the entire Bible is a great way to challenge yourself. One of the best ways to succeed in this task is by disciplining yourself to read a specific amount of chapters per day. This can be done easily by following a Bible Reading Plan – a list of books and chapters you need to read each day in order to finish the entire Bible in a certain amount of time.

8. Get An Understanding Of Each Verse

When reading the Bible, it’s important to pay attention to the context and the historical and cultural background of each book and verse. Understanding the context will give you a clearer insight on the verse, and increase your understanding of the Bible as a whole.

9. Seek Advice From Scholars

As you read, it can be helpful to find advice and help from scholars. There are many books and articles that can give you insight on how to read the Bible, and guide you along the process. Connecting with learned people will also widen your biblical knowledge and help you spot discrepancies between what is written in the Bible and what has been interpreted.

10. Have A Devotional Time

Finally, it is essential to have a time dedicated to reading the Bible and engaging with it through prayer and meditation. Devotional time should be carried out in the morning and the evening, in order to provide the reader with an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the word of God.

1. Read The Bible Intentionally

Reading the Bible should not be a mindless task, as it carries a special weight of importance. Start by reading with a purpose in mind. Reflect on the message of each chapter and think deeply about the morals and messages within the text. Ask yourself what the author was trying to communicate, and how this applies to our daily lives.

2. Make Connections

Connect the verses to other Bible stories and other verses. There may be similarities between various Bible stories, and by studying these and reflecting on them, a better understanding of the text can be gained.

3. Break Down Big Ideas

The Bible covers vast ideas, stories, and principles. It can be intimidating when faced with larger ideas. To better understand them, break the ideas up into smaller, more manageable concepts. List the individual ideas within the larger narrative and reflect on the similarities and differences between them.

4. Read All The Verses

Sometimes, a single verse can be misleading. It is important to read all the verses in the Bible to get the full picture. All Biblical stories are interconnected, so if one verse is unclear, the explanation of that verse may be found in another.

5. Commit To Memory

After studying a passage, practice saying the verses out loud until they become memorized. Once the passage is memorized, you can reflect and meditate on it during quiet, personal times. Memorization allows for quick access to the verses and offers opportunities of internalization and application.

6. Be Open To Interpretation

The Bible is open to many interpretations, and the true meaning of its contents may never be fully known. To get the best out of your Bible study, remember to be open to different ideas. Develop your own interpretations and use them to encourage deeper questions and self-reflection.

7. Read With Others

Reading the Bible with other people is an incredibly constructive way to engage further with the text. Group discussions can lead to profound insight and deeper understanding of the contents. If a solo journey is not your preference, find a group or join a Bible study.

8. Look Into Different Translations

Although Scripture is unbroken and unchangeable, different translations can advance one’s understanding. Different words used in the translations can offer fresh perspectives. Research translations and pick the one that speaks to you the best.

9. Use Repetition

Repetition is an effective tool to acquire knowledge. Re-read stories, verses, and chapters until it becomes ingrained. Continually review the material until it starts to make sense, and the messages become clear.

10. Apply To Your Life

Ultimately, the Bible’s message offers insight into how to live our lives. Take what you are learning and apply it to your own personal experiences. Doing so will help you grow in faith and understanding, and help your relationship with God deepen.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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