If the thought of reading the Bible overwhelms you, you’re not alone. Even those who consider themselves to be mature in their faith can struggle, at times, with reading the Bible regularly. Perhaps you’re new to reading the Bible and don’t know where to start. Or, maybe you’ve stopped reading the Bible over the last few years and would like to start reading it again. No matter where you’re at on your spiritual journey, we’ve all got to start somewhere. So, here are a few suggestions for you.
1. Read a User-friendly Bible Version
Although the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, there are now a wide variety of Bible versions out there in thousands of different languages. Some of them are more precise; others are easier to follow. One Bible version that’s easy to understand is the New Living Translation (NLT). Another is the New International Version (NIV). Want to carry around the Bible everywhere you go? Download a Bible app on your smartphone. It’s free and easy to use!
2. Ask God to Help You Understand
Before you start to read, ask the Lord to help you to understand. One of the reasons why God sent the Holy Spirit is to show us the truth. John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” Then after you read the Bible, ask the Lord to show you how to live out what you just read.
3. Start by Reading the Gospel of John
The Bible is not just a book that you sit down and read cover to cover like a novel. In fact, it’s different because it actually contains 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. A good place to start would be the Gospel of John because it has clear, simple passages. It also tells you about who Jesus was and what He said. For example, in John 14:6, Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” No matter where you start reading, though, God will help you to come to know Him more.
4. Read For Five Minutes a Day
Reading through the Bible in one year intimidates many of us. So if you’re not currently reading the Bible, start by reading for just five minutes a day. And if you miss a day, no worries! Pick right up where you left off. Don’t read the Bible as if it was something to check off on your to-do list. Instead, read it as a way to get to know the Lord more.
5. Reflect on What You’ve Read
We all struggle, at times, with forgetting something we just read—especially the Bible! Take your time while reading. You may even want to go back and reread the passage slowly. Are there any verses that you like? Write them in a journal. Do you feel God leading you to do anything differently in your life? Record it. Did God answer a prayer? Jot it down! Months—or even years—down the line, you can look back in your journal and see how you’ve grown!
6. Go to a Good Bible Study
While you don’t have to go to a Bible study to read the Bible, it’ll certainly help you learn more about the Bible. There are a lot of Bible studies out there. Whether you’re a man or woman, young or old, married or single, you can find a good Bible study to meet your needs. Check to see if there are any Bible studies at local churches or non-profit organizations in your area.
7. Memorize a Few Favorite Bible Verses
Don’t think you have to start by memorizing dozens of Bible verses in one sitting—you don’t! Start small by memorizing just one verse. After you’ve read the Bible a few days or a few weeks, look back over what you’ve read to see which Bible verse stands out to you the most. Next, memorize it so that you can say it without hesitation.
8. Meditate on the Bible
Whatever you think about throughout the day is what will seep into your heart and mind. It will eventually control your life. So if you begin to think about, memorize, and ponder the Bible, it will begin to change your whole mindset. A simple way to do this is to write a Bible verse or a quote on a 3×5 card. Then during the day, take it out and reread it—you’ll be surprised at how much more peace you have by thinking about God’s Word!
9. Apply it to Your Life
Think that just reading the Bible is enough? Think again! Truth be told, you can’t just read the Bible—you have to do what it says. James 1:22 puts it best: “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” If you read the Bible but don’t do what it says, there will be no life-change. So when you read Scripture, ask yourself: Is God pointing out a truth I should believe? Or, does God want me to change something in my life? Ultimately, whatever you learn from reading the Bible will change your life!