Read The Entire Bible Sequentially At Least Once
Obviously, reading the entire Bible multiple times is ideal, but reading it through sequentially at least once is essential. This gives you a feel for the overall arc of Scripture.
As you study the Bible and read the Old Testament and New Testament, youll see the grand Creation -> Fall -> Redemption -> Recreation storyline.
If you want to learn how to read and study the Bible, reading at least once through the entire thing is tremendously helpful.
If you need help, there are loads of plans which can take you through the Bible in a year.
Want to know how to understand the Bible? Read the whole thing.
So Many Versions Of The Bible Which One Should I Use
Since it is unlikely that youll begin reading the Bible in its original languages , pick any version of the English Bible to start with.
The Bible is Gods Word to us, and He will use it to speak to you, no matter which version you choose.
The technicalities of the translation process can seem like Greek, so suffice to say that major Bible translations differ mainly between a meaning-for-meaning and word-for-word translation.
Some examples of word-for-word translation include the English Standard Version and the New King James Version these aim to preserve the original order of the text in English. In contrast, the New Living Translation is a meaning-for-meaning translation where the focus is on rendering the idea of the text most accurately. Two versions the New International Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible fall somewhere in between.
Pro tip:It is common to use different translations to gain a better understanding of the particular verse you are reading. or Amplified Bible are good options, and this website, BibleHub, shows close to 20 translations for every verse.)
Choose Where To Start Reading The Bible For Beginners
Now that you have a good Bible and youre ready to dig in, you may be wondering how to start reading the Bible for beginners.
Let me give you a helpful tip When youre learning how to read the Bible for the first time: DO NOT start at the beginning and attempt to read straight through. This is a common beginner mistake.
The Bible isnt like a novel where you just open up to page 1 and start reading. Rather, the Bible is more like a collection or library of individual books, poems, letters, and documents, its made up of lots of different genres and writing styles, and some of the Bibles individual books are much easier to read than others.
For example, heres a quick overview of what youll find when youre learning how to start reading the Bible for beginners:
Old Testament Books:
- Genesis Exodus: Bible stories of the first people God created. Easy reading.
- Leviticus Deuteronomy: Long lists of Old Testament law that we are not required to follow today. Very difficult reading for beginners.
- Joshua Job: Longer, more complicated stories of the Israelites and their on again off again relationship with following God. Moderately difficult reading.
- Psalms Ecclesiastes: Quick, general Biblical advice for godly living. Easy reading.
- Isaiah Malachi: More stories of the Israelites and their on again off again relationship with following God with plenty of prophesy mixed in. Fairly difficult reading.
New Testament Books:
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How To Read The Bible: Just Get Started
Once you get started, it is easy to expand your efforts. The key is just to start! That way, it will help prepare you for the next major issue that rocks your boat on the sea of life. You will be way ahead of the game in dealing with it.
If you commit yourself to this four-step process, you will begin to master the Bible so well that the Bible begins to master you. And as the Bible begins to master you, you will enjoy the inner peace, love, and joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In addition, you will experience a peace and power in life and ministry that the Holy Spirit gives to those who meditate on and practice His Word.
Taken from 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. Copyright © 1988, 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2018 by Max Anders. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
About the Author: Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books including 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.
Reading The Epistles With Acts
Over 25 percent of the New Testament was written by the apostle Paul, and all of his letters fit into the narrative Luke provides in Acts. Reading Pauls epistles as we read alongside his missionary journeys can give us a new appreciation for his relationship to these churches and their backstory.
In Acts 17, we read about some of the struggles Paul went through in planting the church at Thessalonica. This provides a perfect backdrop for reading his first and second letters to the Thessalonian churches.
BlueLetterBible.org provides a helpful chronology of the New Testament starting with the second chapter of Acts.
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How To Study The Bible: The Ultimate Guide
If you want to know how to study the Bible and how to understand the Bible, youll find this post helpful.
When it comes to getting more out of the Bible, how to understand the Bible for all its worth, how to read the Bible and gain a fuller and holistic understanding of Scripture, I think these suggestions can be very helpful. Theyve certainly helped me understand the Bible more effectively.
Here are 21 powerful strategies to help you learn how to study the Bible and understand the Bible more fully.
Remember, these are methods. They dont replace the Holy Spirit or diligent devotion.
With that said, lets dive in.
Here are 21 tips for how to read the Bible more effectively.
Memorize To Master The Bible
I used to think that it was better to have a lot of verses memorized, but in my effort to have as many verses as possible memorized, I had them memorized shallowly. I might have to struggle to get started, or get partway through a passage and have to paraphrase the rest. Now, I realize it is much better to have fewer verses memorized very deeplythat is where the power comes from. Rather than memorize a mile wide and an inch deep, it is better to memorize an inch wide and a mile deep. That is a key difference, because until we memorize verses deeply and spend time meditating on them, the truth of the passages does not seep deeply into our subconscious to influence our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and emotions.
When we memorize Scripture this deeply, it will often then jump into our minds as our first reaction to lifes circumstances, helping guide our decisions and influence our emotions. Even Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, quoted Scripture in response to the temptation. When we know Scripture well enough to quote it immediately in response to lifes challenges, the Bible begins to take on a power that it did not previously have in our life.
Memorize one verse so that you can say it without hesitation. Then, memorize another, but link it to the first. Then memorize a third one, but link it to the first two, and so on. Keep doing it the rest of your life. Pretty soon, your command of Scripture will be a mile wide and a mile deep.
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Apps To Help You Read The Bible
The best app Ive run across is the Bible app. Its the most popular app and for good reason. Not only does it give you multiple options for reading through the Bible in a year, 90 days, 30 days, etc. but it also gives you special devotions. It offers quite a few versions of the Bible and so much more.
Bible.is is my favorite app for listening to the Bible. You can listen to the Bible dramatized which Ive found makes the stories come alive. This app is also great for listening to the Bible with your whole family.
Audible is another great app option for reading the Bible that you can listen to while youre doing other tasks. Daily Bible Verse is an app I have enjoyed as well.
Learning How To Read The Bible Can Be Fun And Enjoyable
PinBy the way, if youre truly interested in learning how to read the Bible for beginners, Id love to invite you to check out my brand new book: Fall in Love with Gods Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women!
Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Fall in Love with Gods Word has everything you need to learn how to:
- Overcome 7 common obstacles preventing you from spending time in Scripture
- Discover the personalized Bible-reading routine that works for YOU
- Learn 15 easy ways to make reading the Bible for beginners more meaningful and enjoyable
- Use Scripture to conquer sin, false beliefs, and negative thought patterns
- Experience fresh spiritual growth and passion for Gods Word.
Please visit Amazon.com or your local bookstore to learn more and grab your copy of Fall in Love with Gods Word today!
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How To Read The Bible Chronologically
Christians have a special relationship with the Bible. Its not a just book we read once and set aside. Its one that we hopefully come back to regularly for knowledge, inspiration, and guidance.
The challenge we face is in maintaining constant exposure to Scripture without developing a been-there-read-that mentality. Finding new ways to approach the Bible prevents us from the kind of familiarity that makes reading it a chore.
Reading the Bible chronologically can be a refreshing way to see it through new eyes. We might think that because the Bible starts with creation and ends with Revelation its already laid out sequentially, but its not. Reading it in the order that events occurred can equip us to understand its narrative more clearly, and see it from a fresh perspective.
How To Read The Bible
Do you wish you could learn how to read the Bible for beginners, but you dont know where to start?
If so, youre not alone.
As I share in my new book, Fall in Love with Gods Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women, 59 percent of Americans wish they could read their Bibles more often, according to the 2020 State of the Bible Report .
And yet, its no secret that learning how to read the Bible can feel a little intimidating and overwhelming at first!
You may find yourself asking Google questions like: Whats the best Bible reading plan for beginners? or How to start reading the Bible for beginners? or How to read the Bible for the first time?
The good news is: Learning how to read the Bible really can be fun and easy even for beginners! And in todays post, Ill show you how.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the many costs of running this site and allows me to help provide for my growing family. Thank you!
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Read A Single Book Multiple Times
Sometimes it can be immensely helpful to immerse yourself in a single book for an extended period of time.
I remember hearing pastor Mike Bullmore say that there was a lengthy period when he went through the book of Psalms repeatedly for the health of his soul.
Diving way deep into a single book allows you to pick up nuances you would never get on a single pass. It forces you to grapple with the logical arguments of the author and pushes you to a more thorough understanding.
As you read 2 Corinthians again and again, youll start to understand why it mattered so much to Paul when God said, My grace is sufficient for you.
Dont Put Yourself At The Center
Remember, the Scriptures testify to Jesus, not you! Yes, there are thousands of things that are incredibly relevant to you, but Jesus is at the start, middle, and end of the Bible.
ITS. ALL. ABOUT. JESUS.
Its easy to put yourself smack dab in the middle of stories that are really pointing to Jesus. Youre not David in the story of David and Goliath, youre freaked out Israel.
Jesus is David, the conquering king. The story of Adam and Eve isnt mainly a primer on the ways of Satan, its the tragic story of the Fall and Gods promise of a snake-crusher.
As youre learning how to study the Bible, keep Jesus at the center.
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How Much Of The Bible Should You Read A Day
There really isnt a right or wrong answer to this question. It really depends on what your goals are.
Do you want to read through the Bible in a year?
Do you want to read it in chronological order?
Are you trying to make reading the bible a daily habit?
Are you studying a specific topic?
Is there a specific book of the Bible you want to focus on?
No matter what your goals are there are plenty of Bible reading plans available online for you to choose from. Most bibles have a yearly reading plan already in them.
If you dont want to follow a reading plan, I would suggest you read a chapter a day.
Heres The Best Bible Reading Plan For Beginners
While youre certainly welcome to read the Bible in any order youd like, heres the order I would recommend when youre still learning how to read the Bible for the first time.
This Bible reading plan for beginners will help you cover all the key people, stories, and teachings and start with the easiest, most applicable books first, before you get into the more obscure or difficult Bible books last.
- Matthew John
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Mark Up Your Bible As You Study
Gods word is sacred but the paper its printed on is not. Dont be afraid to highlight, underline, circle, and draw lines between verses.
Use certain colors to highlight repeated words or themes. Come up with a series of symbols or shapes to put beside verses that connect them together. Underline passages that really hit you hard.
When it comes to studying the Bible, few things help like this kind of intense engagement.
How To Pick A Version
Now that you hopefully have some reassurance about the trustworthiness of the Bible, you may be asking, There are many English translations of the Biblewhich one should I read? Thats a good question.
Bible translations land somewhere on the spectrum between word-for-word translations , and thought-for-thought translations. There are also paraphrases available, like The Message, which seek to bring the meaning of the text to life.
If you are new to the Bible, usually a thought-for-thought translation like the New International Version or, farther along the thought-for-thought continuum, the New Living Translation , is recommended since it is more readable.
Afterwards, you could pick up a more literal translation like the New American Standard Bible or the English Standard Version for more in-depth study.
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Create A Bible Reading Plan
As I was researching for my book, Fall in Love with Gods Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women, I found the #1 reason why Christian women dont read the Bible as often as we would like is because were TOO BUSY!
We want to read Gods Word. We know its important. We know its something we *should* do.
And yet, it seems like there are always a million things competing for our time and attention.
Thats why I devoted a whole chapter in Fall in Love with Gods Word to creating your own personalized Quiet Time Plan. Basically, rather than hoping to get around to it. , one tip that I found SO helpful personally was to create a plan in advance.
PinIf you want to not only learn how to start reading the Bible for beginners, but actually stick with it, decide in advance:
- WHEN you will read your Bible
- WHERE you will read your Bible
- HOW LONG you will read your Bible
- WHAT you will do during this time
- WHAT MATERIALS you will want/need
Deciding all of these details in advance can really help you make your Bible reading a habit.
Want a short printable workbook to help you find the perfect Bible reading plan for you? You can download this Quiet Time Planning Guide for free.
Is The Bible Meant To Be Read In Order
The books of the bible are arranged according to the type of book and are not meant to be read in order. In fact, most people who try to read from cover-to-cover in order tend to get stuck after a few books. Its better to go for the overview first and then come back to fill in the details.
The books of the Old Testament are categorized into groups: the Law, History, Poetry, Prophetic. The books of the New Testament can get categorized into these groups: Gospels, History, Epistles, Prophetic. The order of 15 books recommended above includes at least one book from each category so you can get an idea of every genre.
There is also some repetition in the Bible. For example, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles cover much of the same history from slightly different perspectives. The same is true of the 4 Gospel accounts of Jesus. It is better to leave the nuances of the differences until after you get an overview of the Bible.
Also, if you read just 1 of the Gospels first, you can get a good sense of the life of Jesus. I recommend Luke in the list of 15 books above because he gives a thorough and orderly account of Jesus life and ministry. It also fits in well with the book of Acts, as Luke wrote that book too.
Reading for an overview of the Bible first is a good way to not get bogged down in difficult passages or a list of names and numbers that dont make sense. Those can all be read later. Go for the main flow of the Scripture first.
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