Reading the Bible is hard. The language is difficult. Some of the books literally are nothing but numbers and names. The Bible is by far, one of the most difficult books read yet in the last 50 years 3.9 Billion copies were sold (I have like five myself). So, how do you actually read it?Like many other things I’ve talked about with Christianity, I believe there is no set way to read the Bible. If anyone tells you differently, they are misleading you. With that being said, these are my personal recommendations on how to read the Bible and how I’ve been approaching it so far.
Why are you reading the Bible? Is it for academic purposes? Is it for understanding of the religion? Is it to create a basic knowledge of Christianity? Whatever your reasoning, it affects everything else in this journey. I am going to explain how I am learning and reading the Bible. Make whatever choice feels good for you.
I am reading the Bible for my personal spiritual growth. I’ve been given verses to learn and those little pocket bibles that churches used to hand out in the 90s but I felt I didn’t understand enough of the Bible to really understand Christianity. I wanted to read the Bible to know what I say I am believing instead of taking everyone’s word for it. I also decided to read it from cover to cover to at grasp the entire story of Christ instead of just His life.
Note: Some people recommend new Christians starting off with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to understand the life of Jesus, the Epistles to read about how to live as Christians (Romans, Ephesians, Philippians) and then Genesis to understand how it all began.
First thing I had to do is pick how I wanted to read the Bible. Did I want a physical Bible or digital? How did I want to read it? What translation was good for me? I chose to read The Bible app by YouVersion (shown above) as my primary reading method. You can download numerous translations/editions, read one of at least 100 bible plans, make highlights, take notes, read other people’s notes, and even make pictures. I chose to read it this way because I also decided to read in the morning and before I go to bed. I get to sit in bed at night and read the Word before I say my prayers and go to sleep (It also has a night mode to not blind you before you drop your phone on your face😉 .)
I also enjoy the flexibility of reading multiple versions. I can easily switch between King James, New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), The Message, etc., with just a quick tap. I started off reading the King James Version and switched to NLT when I didn’t understand the language. Recently, I read only The Message version because it is plain language and I just want to read it through. I take occasional notes, but I will do that upon my second reading.
Note: If you want to know what I am reading now, I am reading the Eat this Book: One Year Bible with Daily Psalm plan
My first reading is for pleasure and basic understanding. I am finishing up the Old Testament. If a section is too hard to make it through, skip past that section (I skipped Numbers the first time I read) and move on to another. If you miss a couple of days, it’s okay, just start back again. The importance is to try. Nobody is judging you and it is a difficult read. It’s just going to be a more joyous occasion when you finish.
My subsequent readings are going to be to learn and digest. I already own a study Bible and will use physical bibles to make notes. Reading for the purpose of learning and reflection is a journal, physical bible, highlighters, and pen type experience for me. It helps me remember and I can go back to revelations, reflections, and other thoughts afterward.
Another good thing when reading the bible is the internet/or a biblical community. Sometimes things don’t make sense or a passage loses you. It’s good to talk to somebody or if you are in your bed, like me, most questions have been asked on Google before. They may not always be right, but they do help with some bumps. The Bible app I mentioned before also has a related section where you can see other people’s public notes about a scripture. It helps a lot. I haven’t started a Bible study yet, but I definitely can see how it helps too. I recommend once you are comfortable.
Overall, reading the Bible is all about making time and taking your time. As long as you are trying, its better than never reading at all. I was surprised how many different types of stories and writings are in the Bible and I haven’t even made it to the New Testament yet. There is action, romance, wisdom, and so much more than I thought when I was a kid. Either way, I am enjoying my path and recommend it to others that never had.
Turn Your Brightness Up (Unless You’re on Night Mode)
Any other reading recommendations? Favorite Chapters? Questions about how to make it through? Want a study buddy? Let me know in the comment section below.