How To Start Reading The Bible

The Bible is an incredibly profound religious text that has touched millions of people over the years. Its power has a remarkable ability to shape, improve and transform lives. However, reading the Bible can be an intimidating experience for many who might feel overwhelmed by its sheer size and complexity. While it can take a lifetime to become familiar the Bible, it is not impossible to get started. Here are some tips to help new readers begin their exploration of this ancient and influential work.

First and foremost, setting a goal is essential to developing a successful reading plan. For instance, a clear goal might be to read two chapters every day or three verses every morning. Goals make reading the Bible enjoyable and provide a sense of accomplishment as the journey progresses. Additionally, it can be helpful to set aside a specific time each day to focus solely on reading the Scriptures. Developing a regular habit of reading the Bible helps keep readers motivated and on track.

Another important aspect for new readers to consider is that the Bible is an ancient text that is filled with symbolism and imagery. Today, we might not understand the significance of certain terms or images that were meaningful to readers thousands of years ago. Taking the time to look up words or passages can help bring deeper insights and better understanding to the text.

Often, new readers find it helpful to start with a particular book that resonates with them more than others. Rather than jumping randomly around the bible, becoming familiar with an entire book can provide context and understanding of the larger themes and plots. Additionally, using study guides, commentaries or taking part in a bible study can also help to uncover hidden messages and enrich the reading experience.

The most important point for readers to remember is that the Bible isn’t just some ancient and distant work to be learned and dissected, but that it’s a living document that can bring hope, joy and growth. Allow the stories to touch and guide one’s heart and don’t take everything literally. When opening the bible, leave out all preconceived notions, opinions and beliefs and let the words seep into the core of one’s being.

Try Different Bible Translations

Inevitably, translations of the Bible can alter the text’s meaning in profound ways. Avoid relying on a single translation and explore different versions that can provide a refreshing perspective and alternate interpretations of verses. Some versions are older, more literal translations while others may focus on contemporary phrasing and imagery. By utilizing various translations, readers can get a better understanding of the larger message.

Taking Notes

Note taking might sound like it belongs in a classroom, but it can also be an invaluable tool when reading the Bible. Remembering details from the countless stories and passages can be quite difficult, so writing down thoughts and key points to return to later can be a great way to stay engaged as readers progress on their journey. Notetaking can also be extremely useful when engaging in conversations about the Bible with others.

Seek Others For Support

While reading is an individual pursuit, seeking advice and guidance from others can be enormously helpful. Family members, friends and religious leaders can provide valuable insights and spark new ideas. Surrounding oneself with a support network can also be beneficial when feeling overwhelmed or lost in the text.

Pray & Meditate

Prayer and meditation can be incredibly powerful tools when reading the Bible. Ask God to open one’s heart and mind to help unpack the deeper messages and meanings in the book. Daily prayer and meditation can show readers the power of the words and bring the text to life in a profound and life-changing way.

Read in Context

The Bible is a living, ever-changing book and it’s important that readers understand the context in which the text was written in order to fully comprehend it. The Bible contains writings from hundreds of authors spread out over thousands of years and each was impacted by their experiences, culture and surroundings. Writing, themes and beliefs have evolved over time and still evolve today, so it’s essential to maintain this perspective when exploring the Bible.

Use Technology & Apps

Technology can be an incredibly useful tool when studying the Bible. Using a smart phone, tablet or e-reader can make bringing a physical bible nearly obsolete. Hundreds of free bible apps have become available in recent years and many provide valuable features such as easy-to-read typeface, social sharing, audio bible and commentaries. However, it’s important to remember that technology is merely an accessory and can never be a meaningful replacement for a personal relationship with the text.

Follow Biblical Scholarship

Throughout the ages, generation after generation of biblical scholars have done incredible work unlocking the secrets of the Bible. Reading scholarship from both the present and past can provide personal and intellectual growth, help develop personal convictions, offer helpful guidance and increase knowledge and understanding. Increased insight can open the door to new questions and new ways of viewing the world around us.

Focus on Spiritual Growth

Above all else, readers should strive to develop a personal relationship with the Bible and its teachings rather than view it solely as an intellectual exercise. While knowledge of the text is important, it should be directed toward improving one’s relationship with God and spiritual growth. In time, this ongoing process will provide a greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the text while simultaneously improving one’s connection to God.

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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