Read The Bible With Other People
Reading the Bible in community is one of the quickest ways to get out of a reading rut. It’s a practice that God’s people have always done to remind themselves of who they are and what they’ve been called to. This remains true today. As we come together to read and discuss a passage, our pre-existing stories about God, ourselves, and the world are challenged. We’re forced to see the text in new ways and grapple with it, pushing us deeper into the biblical narrative, which in turn shapes us as God’s people.
Reading alongside others also guards us from distractions and deception. If we only read the Bible by ourselves it’s pretty easy for God’s voice to start to sound like our own. Being part of a bigger dialogue about the Bible protects us from self-deception and keeps us focused on what we’re reading. It also offers rich, redemptive fellowship, something we all crave. If you want to know more about this practice, check out the “Public Reading of Scripture” video.
How to Start:
One way to read the Bible in community is to sign up for the Read Scripture series or download the app and ask someone to go through it with you. It’s pretty straightforward. Read assigned portions from Scripture every day, meet with another person, people, or small group regularly to discuss what you’ve been reading, and then respond to God’s Word together. It can be as formal or informal as you want.
Make Bible Reading A Habit
It might be tough at first. You might doze off, but you have to strengthen your muscles because your devotional muscles are weak now. However, the more you devote yourself to Christ and His Word the easier it gets. Reading Scripture and prayer will become more enjoyable.
Satan knows how to distract you and he is going to try to distract you. It might be with TV, a phone call, a hobby, friends, Instagram, etc.
You are going to have to put your foot down and say, No! I want something better than this. I want Christ. You have to make a habit of turning down other things for Him. Once again, it might be rocky at first. However, dont get discouraged. Keep on going! Sometimes you have to separate from your groups so you can spend uninterrupted alone time with Christ.
Joshua 1:8-9 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Have accountability partners
Im starting to be more accountable with my Christian friends. I have a group of men who keep me accountable in my personal Bible study. Every day I check in with a text and allow them to know what God has been telling me through His Word the night before. This keeps me accountable and it allows us to motivate each other.
Consolidate What You Have Already Learned
Assuming that you have listened well to some parts of the Bible, consider these personal questions. What chunk of Scripture has made the most difference in your life? What verse or passage have you turned to most frequently? What makes these exact words frequently and immediately relevant? Your answer will likely embody four foundational truths about how to read the Bible for wise application.
First, this passage becomes your own because you listen. You remember what God says. He is saying this to you. You need these words. This promise, revelation, or command must be true. You must act on this call to faith and love. When you forget, you drift, stray, and flounder. When you remember and put it to work, bright truth rearranges your life. The foundation of application is always attentive listening to what God says.
Second, the passage and your life become fused. It is not simply a passage in the Bible. A specific word from God connects to some pointed struggle inside you and around you. These inner and outer troubles express your experience of the dual evil that plagues every human heart: sin and confusion from within trouble and beguilement from without . But something God says invades your darkness with his light. He meets your actual need with his actual mercies. Your life and Gods words meet. Application depends on honesty about where you need help. Your kind of trouble is everywhere in the Bible.
What troubles are you facing? Who is with you?
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How To Start Bible Study: What To Expect From Bible Reading
I heard this great anecdote from a video a few months ago. We often come to the Bible hoping or even expecting to get that amazing, awe-inspiring feeling of connection with God. But that moment is like going out to your favorite restaurant on your birthday its exciting, memorable, and you look forward to it all year. By comparison, most of the time, our everyday meals are simple, unmemorable, or even boring. Our everyday meals may not stand out, but our bodies notice if we skipped them.
By the same vein, we may not have an incredible moment of connection with God every time that we open our Bibles. But we still benefit from the everyday moments of Bible study that may feel less memorable. Every time you open your Bible, youre opening yourself up to a deeper connection with God. Youre nourishing your mind and soul. Youre strengthening your faith, even if it doesnt feel like it. Just because you dont feel much, dont give up.
Another Method Of Book Study Is Called The Synthetic Method
For example, the Book of Exodus tells the history of the children of Israel from the death of Joseph in Egypt until the erecting of the tabernacle in the wilderness in the time of Moses. This covers approximately 400 years.
The principles of Bible book study, whether inductive or synthetic, are very similar. Such study will require more time than the previous methods mentioned, but it will be amply rewarding.
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God Wants Us To Go To Heaven
Despite heaven not being our default destination that does not mean God doesnt want us there. He actually is hoping for us to come to Him! God would not have sent Jesus down to free us from our sins otherwise. In John 6:38, Jesus says For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. There are six other times in just John 6 where Jesus stresses that His purpose is to do the Will of God. God wants us to apologize for our sins and accept Jesus as our savior so that one day we can come home to Him.
There is a way for us on earth to get into heaven. We have to work on being a good Christian that regularly confesses our sins, and recognize that Jesus is our only way to salvation. If we do this we can take comfort in knowing that God is cheering us on and cant wait to have us home again.
Megan Bailey is the Social Media Specialist and Content Producer for Beliefnet. She attended James Madison University where she received a degree in psychology.
Look For Where God Is Still Pursuing You
God pulled a sneaky move on me to address my problem with reading Scripture: He gave me three kids.
My wife and I wanted our children to know the story of God, so we started reading The Jesus Storybook Bible. It connects the dots of Scripture: who Jesus is, what Hes done and what that means for every person, by telling a beautiful series of stories.
Since becoming a father, Ive read dozens of Gods stories over and over, watching them soak into my children and into me.
Dont stop caring about the fact that you find reading the Bible hard.
God loves you when you turn the next page of His book, and He loves you when you dont.
Where do I go from here?
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Bible Study By Chapters
In the Bible there are 1,189 chapters in the Old and New Testaments. In a little over three years, a person could make an intensive study of the whole Bible, taking a chapter a day. It is usually a good practice to start your Bible study in the New Testament.
Time needed: 20 minutes.
Study the Bible by Chapters
Seek to find its main subject or subjects.
If you are reading the Gospel of John, for example, you might give each chapter titles like this: ch. 1 Jesus Christ, the Word of God ch. 2 The Wedding at Cana ch. 3 The New Birth ch. 4 The Woman at the Well ch. 5 The Healing of the Man at the Pool of Bethesda ch. 6 The Feeding of the 5,000
Including its main thoughts. For example, for John 1, you might make an outline like this:Jesus Christ, the Word of God:a. Jesus Christ was the eternal Word of God, 19b. Jesus Christ came into the world, 1018c. John witnesses that Christ is to come, 1928d. John says that Jesus is the Lamb of God, 2937e. Jesus Christ calls His first disciples, 3851
Soap Bible Study Method And Other Acronyms
There are so many of these amazing acronyms to help you with your Bible study. The one Ive seen most often is SOAP , but there are dozens of others that you can try. I dont personally use one of these methods right now, so Im not the right person to guide you through them, but this guide is a thorough walk-through of 11 of these methods.
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Note Big Theological Concepts
I also note big ideas that stand out to me theologically.
For example, many Jewish people walked around Samaria because of their disdain for Samaritans, so when the Bible says that Jesus had to walk through Samaria, it doesnt mean geographically maybe its because he knew he had to meet the Samaritan woman to give her this new beginning.
So what that teaches me is that God will out of His way, into the darkest places, to meet people and offer them rebirth.
Find The Bible Translation That Is Right For You
There are many different translations that you can use. On Biblereasons.com you may have noticed that we use the ESV, NKJV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, NASB, NIV, NLT, KJV, and more. All of them are fine to use. However, watch out for translations that are intended for other religions such as the New World Translation, which is the Jehovahs Witness Bible. My favorite translation is the NASB. Find one that fits you perfectly.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
Find the chapter that you want to read.
You have two options. You can start from Genesis and read to Revelation. Or you can pray that the Lord leads you to a chapter to read.
Instead of reading single verses, read the entire chapter so that you can know what the verse means in context.
Psalm 119:103-105 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
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How To Go Deep Into Bible Study Without Getting Lost
Bible professors, local church pastors, and faithful church members all share a common desire to better understand Scripture. We want depth in our Bible studies and prefer sermon series that walk through the Bible verse-by-verse. We believe Gods Word is full of truth, and dont want to miss out on any of it. We also know that understanding Scripture can be tricky, since it comes to us not as a list of bullet-point statements downloaded from heaven, but as a complex story of Gods interaction with his chosen people.
Naturally, we who treasure Gods Word and seek to live by its light are eager to dive into the pages of this difficult story, seeking wisdom and truth. This is good, but as we slow down and press into the text, our best intentions do not protect us from some all-too-common interpretive fallacies. In fact, in trying to go deeper, we can stray off course and miss what the text is trying to say.
Whether reading the Bible in your first language or in the original Greek and Hebrew, here are three key ideas that can keep you on the exegetical straight and narrow.
Start With Gods Promises And Truth
The best place to start is with Gods many promises and with the Truth. These dont change because you got busy or distracted.
What did change if you are dealing with shame and condemnation is you are likely entertaining some lies and false beliefs. Thats why the first things first: lets replace the lies and unbelief with Truth and promises.
I think having a list of verses that point to truths and promises that resonate with you is a smart idea. I would read through those verses in a few translations or write them out in my favorite translation.
Here are some verses to start your list.
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Try Refocusing On Who The Bible Is About
If you want to grow in trusting God, my pastor recently said, you need to grow in your knowledge of God. When I read the Bible, I sometimes look for reflections of myself more than I look for God.
Its truethere will never be another book that more adequately communicates the purpose and struggle of being me or being you. But I am not the central character of Gods story. He is center stage.
The ultimate purpose of Scripture is to reveal God to us. The Bible is His story first, and that story provides the context for understanding my own.
The end goal of our faith is not heightened self-awareness but a relationship with Him.
Im slowly learning not to treat the Bible like the self-improvement books that crowd bookstore shelves.
How To Study The Bible
-by Joyce Meyer
- Font Size
For more than 40 years now I have been studying the Bible, and it has drastically changed my life. Its been the key to radical transformation in my perspectives and attitudes, and God has healed and restored my spirit, soul and body through the power of His Word.
Even now, Im still continually amazed by all of the benefits we have access to in Gods Word!
How Will Studying the Bible Help Me?
The Bible is no ordinary book. The words within its pages are like medicine to your soul. It has the power to change your life because there is life in the Word!
Jesus says in John 8:31-32 , If you abide in My word you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth…and the truth will set you free….
These verses have brought me to a simple conclusion: If we dont study Gods Word consistently and apply this truth to our lives, we will lack the power we need to mature in Christ and glorify God in this world.
So no matter where you are in your walk with God, I want to encourage you to start spending time in His Word today and be determined to stick with it! Youll find that every time you study the Bible and pay attention to what youre reading, youre learning something.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says, My son, be attentive to my wordsfor they are life to those who find them The word attend means to pay attention to, give some time to something. To attend to the Word of God is a lot more than just reading its meditating on it.
What do I Study?
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Bible Reading Plan For Beginners
If you are ready to commit and dive into the whole Bible then you need a Bible reading plan. Then you dont have to think of where to start reading the Bible, you read it all!
When reading the Bible all the way through there are two main ways to do it.
One way is just from cover to cover. This is often the easiest place to start.
*Sometimes Bible reading plans include the books in a different order to break up some of the longer story sections and make it easier to read!
You can also follow a chronological order of reading. The way the Bible is currently published is not necessarily the order the books were written in.
When looking at context we realize a few books actually repeat stories of others.
This kind of Bible reading plan is often as a way to go deeper after reading it through at least once cover to cover.
Its good to mix things up and read the Bible both ways!
This year Ive read the entire Bible all the way through for the first time. It taught me so much about the bigger picture of the Bible and how Gods plan was happening throughout.
I even took on a challenge that is only for those who are really ready for a big commitment I read it through in 60 days. Check it out here!
If you are looking for a Bible Reading Plan for the entire Bible here it is! This one will go back and forth on the Old Testament and New Testament everyday!