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.
Consider A Devotional Or Bible Study For Beginners
One great thing about learning how to read the Bible for the first time is that there are SO many great resources available to help you as a beginning Bible reader. You definitely dont have to reinvent the wheel or figure everything out for yourself.
For instance, Bible devotionals typically contain a very short passage of Scripture along with the authors thoughts and ideas on the passage and how it relates to your life, all broken up into short, daily segments. You can find devotionals on pretty much any topic imaginable , and theyre a very accessible for beginners.
Basically, Bible devotionals do all the heavy lifting for you, telling you what the author thinks the passage is about or what you should get out of it. These are perfect for learning how to read the Bible for beginners.
Bible Studies, on the other hand, are the next step up. With a good Bible study, the author will have you read a Bible passage yourself, and then answer questions about the passage so you can uncover what it means or how it applies to you today.
Similar to devotionals, you can find Bible studies on just about any Bible passage or topic.
There are tons of womens Bible studies out there to help you as youre learning how to read the Bible you can find them on just about any topic or for any book of the Bible. Just choose a book or topic that looks good to you, read the Amazon reviews for a good one, or ask a friend or womens ministry leader for a good recommendation.
The Order I Recommend Studying The Books Of The Bible
The Gospel of Mark Mark is said by some scholars to be the original gospel. Meaning it was written before the other three gospel accounts. Its also the shortest gospel, so its a great way to get into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus quickly.
The Gospel of John John gives more details about Jesus life. If we are to live as He lived, then knowing more about how He lived is helpful. The Gospel of John also gives more details leading up to the crucifixion of Christ.
The Gospel of Matthew Matthew gives more history regarding the lineage of Christ. It also gives more details around the events taking place during the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
The Gospel of Luke This Gospel is written by the traveling companion of the apostle Paul. The beauty of this gospel is that it was written so that all may know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for them. Its not just for the Jews. As a woman, I really love this particular gospel account because it gives more details about the women in Jesus life.
Acts The purpose of this book was to record the early churchs history following the resurrection of Christ. It was also written by Luke who wanted to give an orderly account of what took place so that there was no doubt about what occurred as a result of Jesus being the Messiah.
Once you have studied these books in the Bible, youve laid a pretty good foundation upon which you can begin studying the remaining books.
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You Are Part Of The Story
The Bible is an amazing story. It pulls no punches in portraying the good, the bad and the ugly of the human condition, yet before, between, and beyond, is the matchless God and Saviour who is actively working to put it all right. It truly is the greatest story ever told.
And you are part of the story.
Enjoy reading it, digging into it, wrestling with it, reflecting on it, and putting it to use in your own life. It will change you forever!
Avoid Deterrents That Keep You From Reading The Bible As A Family
For anyone who knows me in real life, my big thing is ridding my life of deterrents. Its unbelievable what a small deterrent can derail you from, and Satan is happy to throw plenty of little deterrents in your way to derail your family from daily Bible time.
An example of a deterrent that plagues my life is stuff on top of the washer. Ill think I should start a load of clothes, but if theres clutter on the washer, later seems like a fine time to do it. Deterred. Lets look at some common deterrents that get in the way of Bible reading and declutter the pile, shall we?
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Level Five & Six: The Letters & A Prophetic Book
The next section contains epistles, or letters, written by early church leaders to various congregations or individuals. They struggled with and celebrated the same things we do today.
The final section of the New Testament is also prophecy. Its primarily about Jesus second coming, and how to live in the interval between His two appearances.
Choose A Place In The Bible Where You Would Like To Start
I cant tell you how long I felt like I needed to start at the beginning of the Bible, but I never started because I didnt actually want to read the Old Testament first.
Moral of the story? Start with what youre willing to read.
We ended up starting at the beginning of the book of Matthew, which quickly gets into the sermon on the mount, which we really enjoyed. Youre not married to this decision, so dont over-think it. You can always move around later.
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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.
How To Read The Bible In 5 Easy Steps
Youve probably heard from other Christians that its a good idea to read your Bible. Something like, Reading Gods Word is one of the best ways to know God. I always hear that phrase in a Southern-Billy-Graham-ish kind of accent for some reason. Regardless of the sort of accent youve heard, when someone says reading your Bible is a good thing, theyre right. Its true too. God reveals Himself through His Word in almost matchless ways.
But you probably already know all of this. You know reading your Bible is a good thing. You know its a great way to get to know the LORD. What you want to know is how. How do I read Gods Word? And not the left to right, top to bottom kind of advice, but something practical, like a Bible study or something I can actually use.
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If You’re Wondering How To Start Reading The Bible Here Are My Top Five Places To Start Reading The Bible:
1. The Gospel of John – This is the best place for new believers, especially, to start reading. This book will give you a good understanding of who Jesus is and what His ministry is about. Although the other Gospel accounts do this, the book of John particularly focuses on who Jesus is rather than just what He did.
2. Romans – This is a good place to start if you want a clear understanding of the Gospel. I suggest every Christian read Romans to build confidence in the faith they profess. Since the entire Bible points to the Good News of Jesus Christ, this is certainly a good place to start.
3. Psalms – This is a great place to start if you’re looking for encouragement. The Psalms offer hope, and healing, and help us to better understand that God is with us no matter our circumstances. I often suggest reading Psalms if stress and anxiety keep you up at night because the poetry style of writing is not only relatable but also very comforting.
4. Proverbs – This book is packed with wisdom. It offers biblical knowledge and instruction to help guide us in our day-to-day life. It’s a great place to start if you want practical direction on how to live out this Christian life. The brevity of each verse also makes it an easy and light read.
Use this free PDF for prayer in addition to reading scripture – Praying Through the Psalms: A 30 Day Prayer Guide
Where To Start Reading The Bible
Now lets talk about where you should start reading the Bible.
Heres the good news. There is no particular spot in the Bible that is better. Its all Gods word, and its all equally valuable and precious.
However, there are some portions of Scripture that are more difficult to understand than others. For example, some of the prophetic books, such as Isaiah and Daniel, are more challenging to read.
On the flip side, there are some portions of Scripture that are much simpler.
If youre new to the Bible, I recommend you start with a simpler portion and then move on to more complex sections as you grow in your understanding.
I recommend starting in one of the following places.
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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.
A Beginners Guide To Reading The Bible
If the thought of reading the Bible overwhelms you, youre not alone. Even those who consider themselves to be mature in their faith can struggle, at times, with reading the Bible regularly. Perhaps youre new to reading the Bible and dont know where to start. Or, maybe youve stopped reading the Bible over the last few years and would like to start reading it again. No matter where youre at on your spiritual journey, weve all got to start somewhere. So, here are a few suggestions for you.
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Where In The Bible Should I Start Reading
You definitely dont have to start on page one. The Bible is an anthology and contains many stories of nations, individual biographies, declarations of Gods will, and explanations of how to live accordingly.
Some places are far easier to read and apply to your life than others. Its highly recommended that you start with the Psalms, which is a book of prayers and poems in the Old Testament, and with the Gospels, which are the first four books in the New Testament. You can pick whichever one youd like:
- Matthew reflects the Jewish roots most heavily.
- is the shortest and moves quickly.
- Luke is written by a doctor and includes the most detail.
- John is more philosophical and is often regarded as the easiest for 21st century readers.
By the way, the Old Testament is the history of the Jewish people before Jesus came, and the New Testament contains info and stories about Jesus as well as the first fifty or so years of the lives of his followers after Jesus ascended to heaven.
Where Should I Start Reading The Bible
A lot of new and seasoned Christians have a story about their attempts to read the Bible cover to cover that goes something like this: It was going great as they read through Genesis and Exodus, but somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers, they started to get bogged down in details they didnt quite understand. And by the time they hit Deuteronomy, they were done.
While its true that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness , we need to recognize that the Bible is not like any other book. It isnt necessarily meant to be read from front to back. In fact, the Bible is actually a library.
The Protestant Bible is comprised of 66 books, and many of those books are written in a variety of different genres or types of literature. These genres all need to be read a little differently. Starting at Genesis and trying to read straight through without a strategy can get frustrating if you dont know how these books and their literary genres work together.
There are a few ways to classify the genres of the Bible, but they typically fall into these categories.
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At This Point You Can Choose How To Proceed
You might want to study the rest of the New Testament before going back to the Old Testament. Maybe you want to hang out a bit in the New Testament and then go back to the Old Testament. Its entirely up to you.
Below are the remaining books left to study if you want to be able to track what you have left.
The rest of New Testament
- 1 & 2 Corinthians
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.
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Why Christians Need To Read The Bible
In the 90s, there was a popular acronym for the BIBLE, which stood for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
And thats what the Bible is. Its our roadmap to how were supposed to live life on this earth as a representative of God and his son Jesus Christ.
The Bible has information on:
In short, the Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.
- The nature and character of God.
- The history of our faith.
- Who Jesus is and why he died for our sins.
- How we should interact with God and other people.
- Proper conduct and behavior for Christians.
The Apostel Pauls sums it up perfectly in his letter to Timothy, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. .
Now that weve covered what the Bible is and why its important to read it, lets talk about the best way to read the Bible.
The Bible is our instruction manual for how we should live in the world, filtered through the eyes of Christ.