Where To Start Reading The Bible

Where To Start Reading The Bible:
For many, reading the Bible can be a daunting prospect. From the long lists of battles and genealogy of the Old Testament to the complex and often obscure narrative of the New, a reader must often ask the question: Where should I begin?
New and experienced readers alike will find that the same few books of the Bible often pop up in suggestions moreso than others. Primarily, these consist of the books of the Gospels (which cover the story of Jesus’s life and ministry) and Proverbs.
The Gospels tell the story of Jesus in different ways, with each Gospel containing unique details adding to the depiction of Jesus’s life. To get the full picture of Jesus’s life, it is recommended to read all four; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Proverbs is one of the easiest books to comprehend and is often suggested as the starting place for reading the Bible . Its timeless wisdom has provided wise counsel for centuries and is a source of great solace for many across the globe. Its realm of topics range from life advice to instructions for living a successful Christian life.
Most of the individual books of the Bible do not tell the full story in itself. In the larger narrative, the books are a testament to a much wider powerful story; one of God’s unwavering faithfulness and grace for his creation. To get the full picture, readers must pay attention to how the books of the Bible unifiedly express this larger narrative.
Familiarity with the overall structure of the Bible is also important. To start off navigating the Bible, it is suggested that readers become familiar with the general structure of the Bible; its divisions, main themes, and genre changes. Doing so will enable a more meaningful understanding of its multifaceted narrative.
Another important part of reading the Bible is reading with discernment. Although the Bible is often received as the immaculate Word of God, the interpretation and application of it must be done with caution. The Bible is filled with many metaphors, ambiguities, and deep truths, and as such should be read in context and with an open mind.

Different Approaches to Reading the Bible

When it comes to how one actively reads the Bible there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For those who prefer an analytical approach, asking relevant questions such as; ‘What is the author trying to tell us through the stories?’ or ‘What is the background of the narrative?’ are crucial for achieving a better understanding of the text.
Readers who like to experience the Bible in a more experiential way can read through Bible books as if they themselves were part of it. This involves an element of immersion and sensorial engagement with the contents of the book. These readers will often read the Bible at a slower pace with the intention of listening to the stories and becoming more aware of the presence of God.
Another approach to the Bible is what is known as the devotional approach. This involves establishing a predictable daily time to read the Bible. Those who take this approach may choose to read through certain passages or reread other passages on a daily basis.

Technology Aids

In this day and age, technology can be of great help for readers when it comes to understanding the Bible. There are online platforms, such as YouVersion, that assist readers with tracking their Bible reading progress and taking notes. Apps like Biblegateway also provide readers with search functions, audio Bibles, and a library of various translations of the Bible.

Finding a Local Community

Though many of the passages in the Bible can be experienced independently, there is great benefit to having access to a supportive Christian community when seeking a better understanding of the Bible. Often if the text is not understood, discussing it openly with other members of a faith community can help to break it down into more understandable pieces.
Being part of a faith community also offers the opportunity to further one’s spiritual growth by being exposed to different interpretations of the same text and often different experiences of living out the principles of the Bible.

Developing Good Habits

Possibly the most important part in successfully navigating the Bible is developing reading habits. To have a consistent reading however do not require to create a full, detailed plan. Instead, it is more efficient to create space for reading the Bible in small spurts throughout the day.
Combining this with a system of regular prayer and studying of the text are key elements for a consistent relationship with not only the Bible but with God, who is the Word (John 1:1).

Cultivating a Culture of Reflection

The Bible can often be full of beautiful and powerful stories, but the reader must make it a priority to look deeper; to read between the lines. To help draw out the deeper, deeper meanings readers can take time to reflect on the power of the stories they have been reading.
Questions such as, ‘What has God said to me through this passage?’ or ‘What could this story teach me about his character?’ help bring the Bible off the page by providing a pathway for the reader to make meaning of their own experiences, trials and walks of faith.

The Bible for Study, Reflection and Meditation

The stories in the Bible can be experienced both as stories and as spiritual experiences, but to create long term change, it is important to develop a habit of reading the Bible for study, reflection and meditation. By actively engaging with the stories in the Bible, readers can have a deeper, more meaningful relationship while understanding their own morality and the needs and values of their culture.
Lastly, keep in mind the calling of the Bible. The books are there to speak of hope, joy, and love. To receive the full power of its words, readers must begin with openness and faith, and they must continue with grace and an openness to struggle.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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