Choose A Translation Of The Bible That Best Fits Your Needs
There are many English translations of the Bible. Some are more literal, word-for-word to the original languages the Bible was written in, but might not read as smoothly in English. Others are paraphrases and flow well in the English language, but you lose some of the richness of the original languages.
Choose a modern translation that aims for a good balance of accuracy and readability. Some of the popular translations include the NLT or the ESV.
I wrote an article that goes into a bit more detail about Bible translations: What Version of the Bible Is Easiest to Read . I explain the differences and share my recommendations.
One way to understand the Bible better is to read a different translation or two to supplement the one youre most used to. There are websites like Biblegateway that make looking at different translations very easy. I use one translation for my main reading Bible and look up the rest on my phone or computer.
Where To Start Reading The Bible
Where to start reading the Bible? Where should I start reading the Bible?
The Bible is a unique book. Its not like any other book thats out there. Therefore we should approach it differently. Knowing where to start reading the Bible is key to learning and growing from it.
In this blog post we are going to look at 4 books of the Bible that are great places to start.
One of the things I often harp on in many of my blog posts is understanding what the Bible actually is and how to read it. Im not going to go too much into that in this blog post, but I would encourage you to check out some of the posts Ive written on that. They will help you better understand the Bible and get more out of your time in Gods word.
If you want more information about what the Bible is and how to read it Ive written several blog posts on those topics. You can find them here:
I Want To Read The Bible How Do I Start Where Do I Start
The Bible is pretty huge and can be rather intimidating.
So you want to read the Bible. Thats great! This guide will help you get started in how to read the Bible. First well look at what the Bible is and its book structure, then move into picking a translation and starting your reading plan.
Hearing people drop names like Corinthians, Genesis, or Habakkuk may make you wonder if you will need to learn a foreign language just to get past page one. But dont worry, soon youll be zipping between Daniel, Jeremiah, John, and Matthew without problem.
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Why You Shouldnt Start From The Beginning
Conventional wisdom tells us when we pick up a book to start at the beginning. Its how you read a book, from front to back. But the Bible is different. And I think its best to NOT start in the beginning.
Now, Im not saying you shouldnt read the beginning of the Bible. You should. In fact, I think you should eventually read the whole Bible. Just not at first.
Well for starters, the Bible isnt a single book. Its a collection of 66 books written over sixteen centuries by over forty authors. It is a diverse collection with different styles, unique voices, different purposes, and incredible stories.
Because the Bible is a compilation of books I think its best to start with some of the most central books in this collection. That way you can get a proper framework to engage with the rest of scripture.
So, where to start reading the Bible? Lets take a look.
Again, if you dont have a good basis of what the Bible is and how to read it check out some of the blog posts Ive written on it. You can find more under the category How To Read The Bible
Whats A Good Amount To Read In One Sitting
Christians all over the world spend time with God and his Word on a daily basis. Some encourage both morning and evening prayers and readings. Usually people read smaller amounts in one sitting and give themselves some time to think and talk with God about what they read. Its also okay to blitz through a lot of text in one sitting.
If youre just getting started, consider one of the following patterns:
- Start the day reading a Psalm and talk to God about your own thoughts and feelings in response.
- Before you lay down to sleep, read a short section of a New Testament book, like John. You can think about what youve read while you fall asleep.
- If you want to read more at a time, the Old Testament is full of fascinating stories. Start with Genesis, go on to Exodus, but then skip to Deuteronomy. The books in between are pretty dry and tend to derail even the most avid fans of the Bible. You can come back to those when youve read the juicier stuff. Leviticus and Numbers are somewhat summarized in Deuteronomy anyway. After that, its pretty smooth sailing, with some crazy stories in Joshua and Judges.
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Get A Bible You Enjoy Reading
Bible reading isnt very fun when you dont understand what youre reading. Its incredibly helpful to have a Bible that can help you understand whats happening .
If youre looking for a helpful resource, the NIV Student Bible will provide a lot of insight. Built specifically for students of the Bible, it gives you just the right amount of help without overwhelming your time in the Word. And it has its own three-track reading program!
Another great resource is The Books of the Bible. Broken into four-volumes and by many of the genres mentioned earlier, this Bible is free from chapter and verse numbers that provides a seamless reading experience. When done with a partner or group, this approach to reading the Bible can be very enlightening and meaningful.
How To Read The Bible For Beginners
There are so many things that God wants to tell us through His Word. Unfortunately, our Bibles are closed. Although this article is titled how to read the Bible for beginners, this article is for all believers.
Most believers struggle with reading the Bible. Here are some things that I do which have helped to strengthen my personal devotional life.
- The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. Dwight L. Moody
- Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face. Ronald Reagan
- A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. Theodore Roosevelt
- The purpose of the Bible is simply to proclaim Gods plan to save His children. It asserts that man is lost and needs to be saved. And it communicates the message that Jesus is the God in the flesh sent to save His children.
- The more you read the Bible the more youll love the author.
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How To Read And Understand The Bible
Reading the Bible on your own is a great start to growing in your walk with Christ.
However, if you want to understand the Bible, you have to learn how to study the Bible.
Attending your local churches weekly bible study is a great place to start.
Bible studies are less formal than Sunday service. Usually, you can ask the Pastor or group leader questions and gain insight from other members of the congregation.
There are also ways to study the Bible on your own, but thats a topic for another day.
I hope answered all of your questions about the Bible and how to read it.
Dont forget to download a copy of my Bible Reading Plan for Beginners!
As always, remember to keep Jesus in the center of everything you do.
Your Sister in Christ,
Read The Bible In Context
The first step to understanding the Bible is to read it in light of its surrounding context. If youre stuck on the meaning of a single verse, read the entire paragraph that surrounds it. Then, read the entire chapter that its in. Even better than that, read the entire book of the Bible to give you its bigger context.
Before we look at how to read the Bible in its context: If this is your first time reading the Bible, I recommend that you start with the book of Mark. Heres an article that I wrote on why I recommend the Gospel of Mark , especially if you might only read one book int the Bible.
If youre planning on reading more than one book of the Bible, here are the 15 books that I would recommend . These will give you the main storyline and major themes of the Bible. The list below is from that article.
Those 15 books will give you a good context for the entire Bible.
Wherever youre reading in the Bible, here is how you can think about what its context is:
The Context of the Bible
- Old and New Testaments
|Isaiah to Malachi|
The books of the Law are historical content and stories mixed in with Gods Law for the nation of Israel. The historical part starts at the beginning of the world and is fairly straightforward.
The instructions for the people of Israel, like the book of Leviticus, can be a bit too much detail for those who are just starting out in the Bible. Feel free to skip those parts for now and come back to them later.
Bible Verses About Reading The Bible
Reading the Bible each day shouldnt be a chore we dread doing. Nor should it be something we do just to mark it off of our To Do List. The Bible is Gods Word. It is alive and active. The Bible is inerrant and it is completely sufficient for all aspects of life in godliness.
The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God. James Merritt
Nobody ever outgrows Scripture the book widens and deepens with our years. Charles Spurgeon
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. Theodore Roosevelt
Reading the Bible is not where your engagement with the Bible ends. Its where it begins.
The very practice of reading will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise. Billy Graham
God speaks to those who take time to listen, and He listens to those who take time to pray.
How To Read The Bible: Pray Before You Begin
Pause before you open your Bible and ask God to speak to you. Remember, the Bible is Gods Word it is Gods love letter written to His people, which includes you.
Ask God to help you understand His Word. Ask God use His Word to teach you, to direct you and even to re-direct you, when necessary. Ask Him to use His Word to help you know Him and love Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find Me, if you seek Me with all your heart. God loves to reveal himself to those who seek Him.
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Listen To An Audio Bible
For a lot of the churchs history, people listened to Gods Word instead of reading it. Sometimes it can be helpful to purchase an audio Bible, then take a walk and listen to the Bible instead of reading it. If you find that youre struggling through your daily reading, consider supplementing it with an audio Bible.
With the NIV 50th Anniversary app , you can read or listen to the full Bible textand its free!
The Living Flame Of Gods Word
As you seek to understand the Bible better, ask God to teach you and have a teachable spirit. God wants to communicate with you. The Bible is meant to be studied and understood by normal, ordinary people.
Gods Word is an open door and an invitation to know the mind and heart of God. Keep bringing your heart and mind before the living flame of Gods Word!
They said to each other, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?
|If you found this article to be helpful, here are others that I think youll enjoy:21 Valuable benefits of Studying the Bible. The Bible promises these blessings for those who read and study it. I hope youll find encouragement and motivation to dig deeper into Gods Word.In the Bible Explained for Beginners, I share a simple diagram that gives a helpful overview of the Bible.If you want to read more about how to read the Bible in its context, heres an article I think will be helpful: How the Bible is Arranged: The Main Structure and Its Meaning.|
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Dont Be Afraid To Ask Questions
The only way youll understand Gods Word is if you ask questions.
You probably wouldnt be reading this if you are a theology expert so I am going to assume you arent really sure about the Bible.
Its complicated, weird and difficult to understand. It seems archaic and irrelevant. Its intimidating.
Dont fear not knowing and understanding. Its the best place to start.
Youve got to ask questions. If you really want to understand the Bible you do what you do in class and ask questions.
Then look for answers.
Gods Word has a lot to offer and it requires you to dig in and dig deep.
Promise me youll ask questions!
Best Bible Reading Plan Apps
Do you prefer to read digitally, on your phone or tablet? Personally, I prefer to hold a physical copy of the Bible in my hands as I read, but I know everyone is different. In that case, some Bible apps I recommend searching for in your app store are:
Bible by YouVersion Read, listen, study with friends, and more. One of the most popular Bible apps, with thousands of reading plans available.
She Reads Truth Women in the Word of God everyday. This beautifully designed app is geared to women and offers both free and paid Bible reading plans.
Bible.is Listen to beautifully dramatized Scripture at home, in the car, or at work.
First 5 By Proverbs 31 Ministries, this app helps transform your time with God. They offer short teachings and one-chapter-a-day readings.
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Easy Bible Reading Plans For Beginners
JaimeBible StudyFebruary 10, 2021
Do you want to start being consistent with your Bible reading, but feel a little lost with how to begin? If youre trying to find a good place to start reading the Bible for beginners, having a plan to follow can be so helpful.
Today, were going to take a closer look at simple Bible reading plans for beginners that will help you stay motivated and encouraged, such as plans for new believers, one year plans, seasonal plans, a plan for kids, chronological plan, slow reading plan, and a plan that combines both Old and New Testament passages each day.
Thinking back to when I first sat down to begin reading the entire Bible through from cover to cover, I remember being so incredibly thirsty for more of Gods Word. I had just finished my masters degree in Church Ministry & Leadership, and was eager to be done studying for coursework. Instead of textbooks, I could focus more on the Book. I felt impressed by the Lord that it was solely His time to teach me now, in ways that formal schooling never could.
You see, you dont need any special degrees or training to open up the Bible and begin reading it for yourself. Gods Word is valuable to each of us! 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness We also read in John 7:37, If anyone thirst, let him come unto me and drink.
Linger Over The Truth
We not only read and study, but meditate. God does not mean for our engaging of his word to end at the more cerebral, intellectual level of discerning meaning in the text through informed, patient, attentive reading and study. Rather, he means for his words to go down deep into the soil of our souls not just freshly inform our minds but profoundly change our hearts.
God means for his words to go down deep into the soil of our souls.
Opening up ourselves to the laser of Gods word means seeing the Scriptures as his words to us, not simply to ancient audiences in other times and places. He means for us to read his words as captured and preserved for Christians , for us to get beyond the study of what God said in the past to others and bring it home to ourselves as Gods living and active word . Not only has he spoken, but he is speaking to us.
Reading Gods Book well leads to meditation, filling our minds with his truths, rolling them around on our tongue, savoring what he says, and not ceasing before coming to personal reflection.
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