“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105, ESV).
What is this book? How do I read it? Where to begin? It was written a long time ago – how is it relevant to me today?
These are good questions that you might have about the Bible, especially if you are a beginner. I imagine you might have many others. Instead of answering each of these specifically, this post will outline five principles that you can follow when reading the Bible.
1. Read looking for God
The Bible is a book about God and what he has done. It is inspired by God – that means that while humans wrote it, God is ultimately the author of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of books, divided into chapters and verses, which all lead or point us to Jesus, the son of God. It is very important to understand who Jesus is – this is why many new Bible readers start with the book of John. This book was written “…so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, ESV).
So pick a book and start a chapter. As you read, ask yourself these two questions:
- What does this teach me about God?
- What does this teach me about how I should live?
Where should I begin?
The books of the Bible are written in various literary styles and with various purposes.
To read about… Try
- Jesus Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
- Wisdom Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
- Christian Living James
- Prayer Psalms
- How the world began Genesis
2. Read with help
Before reading my Bible, I begin by praying. I pray that I would be open to the truths that I am about to hear. – “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain” (Ps. 119:36, ESV). Be ready to do some work as you read, following the narrative of the stories and asking yourself the two questions listed above. Be prepared to be satisfied by what you are about to read.
When I come upon a passage that I don’t understand, I look for help. Many Bibles have notes associated to each verse written in the margins on in the bottom of the page. There are other books – commentaries, which are entire books about a specific book of the Bible. The Believers Bible Commentary is a good whole Bible commentary to start with. These notes and commentaries often provide important context to the passage you are reading. They might help you understand the author’s intent, or how the original audience might have understood the message. Don’t be afraid to use a commentary or search online if you have questions about a passage.
If you have a question about a specific book or passage, someone from our church would be happy to connect with you!
For our list of recommended Bibles and Commentaries visit this our resources page.
3. Read Regularly
The Bible is not like a textbook that we read once, learn from, and put back on the shelf. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). Although it was written a long time ago, it is absolutely relevant today, to you, today! Make a habit to read regularly, and from all parts of the Bible.
Option a) Five day plan
This plan will help you become familiar with the Bible as you read five days per week. Following this plan will lead you through the entire Bible over the course of a year. Download the plan
Option b): Bible app by YouVersion
Under ‘plans’ there are various plans which guide you through the Bible or through a specific book. There are also plans for when you are feeling a certain way, for example if you are anxious, or if you are joyful. The Bible app also allows you to listen to the Bible being read.
Reading regularly, not only in times of distress, gives you the spiritual food necessary to face life’s joy’s and challenges. ”But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, ESV)
4. Read Together
Jesus tell us, “When two or three gather in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20, ESV). The Christian life is to be lived in community. One way to read together is in church on Sunday. Christians meet on Sunday to worship God. This includes praying, singing and reading the Bible.
Another way to read together is in a Bible study. This is a group of people who read the same passage and then meet to discuss it. When we read together we help each other understand, and are drawn together in unity.
5. Read Obediently
The Bible is full of Good Truths. But obeying these truths is not easy. In fact, an obedient Christian will be persecuted by the world. But, the Bible’s instruction is clear: repent of your sin, trust Jesus, and live obediently, as He has commanded you to.
The Bible is the single most important book you will ever read. At its core, it has the single best piece of news you will ever hear – the hope that is found in Jesus Christ! So friend, what are you waiting for? Pick up a bible and start reading today!
The Bible is a big book!
It can feel intimidating opening it and not knowing where to start and how to interpret it. And that’s okay!
This page will help give you a foundation to the Bible and how to use it to help you discover God and the mysteries of this world through the stories and revelations.
Do you have questions or want to talk to someone about how you can experience hope with Jesus?
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