5 tips for reading the Bible.

Let’s face it, the Bible can be a hard book to read!

So many thou’s and shalt’s, big names, confusing timelines, not to mention that it’s old, like 2000+ years old.

But as Christians, reading God’s Word isn’t just a nice idea, it’s vital to our relationship with God.

As Christians, reading God’s Word isn’t just a nice idea, it’s vital to our relationship with God.

There’s something powerful about this book, because it’s more than just another book.

The Bible is living and active! Not outdated and boring like we sometimes think. God’s Word is alive, relevant in ways we can’t imagine. Have a question? Wrestling with an issue? Need guidance? Look no further.

More than anything, the Bible reveals to us the heart of God. Who God is and who He isn’t. His character. His promises. His ways. His truths. It lays out God’s views on a variety of issues—anything from money to marriage, and everything in between—if we want to know where God’s heart is on something, we just need to open up the Bible and read.

The Bible reveals who God is and who He isn’t.

Ok, so we know we should read the Bible, but how do we actually do it? How and where do we start? Is there a right or wrong way to read?

Here are 5 simple tips for reading the Bible well:

  1. Find a translation.

Finding a translation that you understand is so important! The goal of reading the Bible isn’t to check a box. It’s about understanding what you’re reading and coming to know and love God more.

The goal of reading the Bible is understanding what you’re reading and coming to know and love God more.

New to the Bible? I would highly recommend the NLT (New Living Translation), the Message, or the CEB (Common English Bible) as good translations to try.  

Been reading the Bible for some time and want a more literal translation? Try out the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) or the ESV (English Standard Version).

It seems to change at least once a year, but I’m currently reading and preaching from the NLT myself. Regardless of where you are, find a translation that you can understand.

  1. Find a place to start.

With most books, we typically starting reading on page 1, but this isn’t always the best place to begin when it comes to reading the Bible.

My advice? Start with the books of John or Mark. They’re easier to read and lay out the story of Jesus from beginning to end. The entire Bible centers on Jesus. Knowing who Jesus is will help you understand the rest of the Bible.

With most books, we typically starting reading at page 1, but this isn’t always the best place to begin when it comes to reading the Bible.

Looking for a different starting point? Try the book of Acts for the history of the early church (one of my favorite books!), Psalms and Proverbs for some practical life advice, or Genesis to find out where God’s plan began.

Some advice? Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to read a whole book in one sitting. Just read a chapter a day. Taking in one chapter at a time. As you’re doing so, wrestle with the words you’re reading. Underline verses or words that stick out to you. Write some thoughts down in a journal. Want go crazy? Read the same chapter twice in a day or three times.

I’ve also found that Bible reading plans can be so helpful. I actually created a free Bible reading plan that will bring you through the book of Philippians in 8 days if you’re looking for one to start with. There are also countless reading plans that you can follow on The Bible App (download the app on your phone if you don’t have it already).

  1. Prepare your heart.

Actually sitting down and reading the Bible is important, but before you do take 1 minute (literally 60 seconds) to prepare your heart.

How? Simply by asking God to speak!

It can be as simple as:

Lord, speak to me today. I’m new to the Bible. Help me to understand what you want me to understand.

Ask God to remove any distractions.
To help you hear something new.
To change you as you read.
To speak in a way that you can’t miss hearing His voice.

This is such a simple step, but it’s one that we often overlook.

This is such a simple step, but it’s one that we often overlook.

Lord, please speak to me through your Word.

  1. Be consistent.

Spent time with the Lord today? Awesome! Now do it again tomorrow.

Consistency is hard when it comes to reading the Bible, and if we don’t make it an intentional part of our day it’s easy to let things get busy and not find the time.

Struggling with consistent time in the Word? Try listening to the Bible! On a walk, while you’re working out, or driving the kids to and from dance practice, listen to God’s Word. Using The Bible App that I already mentioned, you can listen to the Bible (for free!) anywhere you go.

Struggling with consistent time in the Word? Try listening to the Bible!

I’ve also found that I’m more likely to spend time reading the Bible when I pick a place I like to read and a consistent time that works for me. Feel inspired in coffee shops? Grab a latte and pick up your Bible. More of a night owl? Open up the Word after the kiddos fall asleep.

It doesn’t matter where or when you read, all that matters is that you’re consistently getting into God’s Word.

  1. End with a takeaway.

After you’re done reading each day, ask these two questions:

Jesus, what is one promise you want me to take away from today?

Is there a change I need to make in my life?

Is there a verse that you really connected with? Maybe it encouraged or challenged you? A specific action that you know you need to make? Carry that thing with you throughout the rest of your day and into your week. Let it change you!

Maybe you want to memorize a certain verse. Put it on a notecard. Text it to a friend. Share what you’re taking away so others can be changed, too.

Even further, go through a book of the Bible with a friend or your spouse. Like I said, reading the Bible can be hard, but reading it with someone can make answering your questions easier and hold you both more accountable.

Reading the Bible isn’t about getting more information, checking off a box, or fulfilling some kind of Christian obligation.

We don’t read the Bible to know more about God. Instead we read the Bible to become more like God.

We don’t read the Bible to know more about God. Instead we read the Bible to become more like God.

To spend time with Him.
To grow in our love for Him.
To know His heart.

Notes:

#1 Before you start reading a book of the Bible I can’t encourage you enough to go to TheBibleProject.com. They have short 5 minute videos you can watch to get a quick backstory of each book in the Bible. The videos make the readings so easy to understand and really bring the Bible to life.

#2 Want to dig deeper into a specific verse? There are all kinds of free Bible commentaries online. Go to BibleHub.com, type in a specific verse, and start reading!

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8 Comments on "5 tips for reading the Bible."

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Hazel Behrens

Clear logical, and prayerful steps. Thanks, Adam. I would add one more. The Daily Audio Bible is great for those who struggle with print size, or other reading problems. Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm & Proverbs are read daily online or on the dedicated app wher one can read text while listening Great for English as second language readers. I listen via podcast subscription.

Anonymous

hi there sir adam, I want to try that Bible App you’re talking about. I am not new in the bible, but like as you said, we Christians MUST always read and study and take into action every word that was written on it, but sometimes I failed to do so, because of casualties over my work. I still find time to dig deeply on His word, not just because it is necessary but because I want to show that I love Him.. Please let me know of how could i have that Bible App. Thank you and Godbless

Rhonda

ThankYou

Jasmin Patterson

Great tips, Adam! I’ve been reading the Bible for a while but it’s always so good to simplify and remember practically how and why we read God’s Word. I’m going to share this post with my blog followers to encourage them this week. 🙂

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