HOW TO READ YOUR BIBLE
(When You Don't Know Where to Start)
One of the ways we develop a relationship with God is by understanding His identity and character through His word.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. - Psalm 119:105 NLT
Do you sometimes find it hard to read your Bible? Does the thought of digging into scripture ever intimidate you?
If so, you’re not alone.
I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago who is newer in her walk with Jesus, and she made a great point in our conversation.
“There’s no guidebook to know how to read your Bible. I wish God could tell me exactly what to do and the best verses to read to get the most out of my time with Him.”
Yep. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there.
There are days when it can be tough to know where to begin in scripture. Whether you’re years into your faith or are just starting out, everyone can go through seasons when reading the Bible feels dry, confusing, or unnatural. And there's no right or wrong way to proceed.
But here’s the thing you need to know if you want to mature in your Christian faith.
If you want to grow and find a closer relationship with the Lord, making time to read your Bible is a must-do. Like prayer, studying scripture is a spiritual discipline that can’t be ignored or skipped over. One of the ways we develop a relationship with God is by understanding His identity and character through His word.
While I’d be remiss if I said I’ve figured out the “best” ways to read the Bible, I will say there are some tips that have helped me grow in my study of scripture.
When You are Short on Time, Need Encouragement, or Want to Find Joy in God's Presence: Read the Psalms
Try reading through a chapter slowly and highlighting the characteristics of God. Pour over the words and praise God for who He is and what He does. Underline and meditate on the passages that speak to your heart that day and journal about it.
When You Want to Know Jesus on a Deeper Level: Read the Gospels
Start with Matthew and take your time reading through the first four chapters of the New Testament. Ask Jesus to help you understand more about who He is through His words and His teachings. At the end of a chapter or passage, journal your answer to the question, “What did I learn about Jesus in _(BOOK__, __(CHAPTER)__?”
When You Want to Grow in Your Spiritual Maturity: Read Paul’s Letters to the Church
Make a point to study Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Paul gives guiding principles that help us lead lives in alignment with Christ. If a passage seems confusing or troubling because of the context, reach out to a Pastor or spiritual mentor for guidance.
When You Want to Know the Stories and Characters of the Bible: Start a Chronological Reading Plan and Read the Entire Bible
I’ll be the first to say, the Bible will take you on a trip. Some stories in the Bible are entertaining, wild, and feel like they’re straight out of a fiction novel. Some parts will feel stagnant and hard to get through (I’m looking at you, Numbers.) Some will even make you cringe and ask bigger questions about who God is. But all of it is God-breathed and is there for a purpose. Reading the Bible from cover to cover will deepen your understanding of God and challenge you to grow in your relationship with Him.
Here’s the best part. When you know the stories, characters, and word of God spoken throughout scripture, the Lord will begin to bring them to mind to help guide you in your day to day life.
You’ll need courage and you’ll remember Gideon. You’ll want wisdom and you’ll remember Solomon. You’ll encounter a question about God’s provision and you’ll remember the Israelites gathering manna every day in the wilderness.
Regardless of how you choose to read your Bible, be expectant for the Lord to grow you.
- Jantzen Jolly-Miller