Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I read the Bible?” Or wondered, “Where do I start reading”? Have you ever just opened up and read a random verse from your Bible, hoping that it was for you?
And landed on “And then Judas went and hanged himself”. And thought, “Nope, that’s not it” and then tried again.
And landed on, “Go thou and do likewise”.
Okay, maybe that exact scenario didn’t happen to you, but I think I illustrated well how intimidating it can be to read the Bible sometimes. Especially if you are a new Christian or are just beginning to establish a consistent quiet time.
The Bible is so huge and there are so many books. The message of the Bible is vast and deep, and it’s almost like a middle schooler diving into a medical journal. The enormity of what lies before us is overwhelming to the point that many give up before they start.
What if I told you that you didn’t need to be intimidated or overwhelmed by reading your Bible?
What if you could read your Bible with confidence knowing that yes I can eat this elephant once bite at a time?
That is exactly how we read the Bible.
One bite at a time.
Here are 4 ways you can successfully and confidently read your Bible.
1. Read until three things stand out. That’s it. When three things stand out to you, stop. Why three? Because typically that is all we can handle in one sitting.
Reading the Bible isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I know that in January a lot of bloggers do “Read through Bible in 6 months” challenges, but reading the Bible isn’t a race from Genesis to Revelation. It is a romance. It is building on your relationship with God one date at a time.
And you can’t rush a romance. So why rush reading your Bible?
2. While you read, underline or color code. I prefer underlining in my Bible…and drawing boxes and clouds around words. My Bible is really marked up. And I do that because it helps me digest what I’m reading better. I love grammar, so I will often underline keywords or prepositions that direct me to a big point. I love words like, “therefore” that lead me to ask, “What is that therefore there for? (A question my dad taught me to ask)
You can also color code your entire Bible. Courtney from Women Living Well has a great color coding system she uses with Good Morning Girls.
Using these techniques helps you engage with your Bible. You are no longer just a passive Bible reader, you are engaged and drawn in by the words.
3. Once you’ve read, journal what you’ve learned. James warns of the Christian who looks at himself in the mirror, turns around, walks away and completely forgets what he saw. There is great danger in that for us.
How many times have we read a verse in the Bible that grabbed our heart, but when we went about our day we completely forgot about that verse and it was days or months before we remembered that moment?
Journaling helps that moment go deeper in our heart and stick. You see, if you daily journal about what you’ve read in your Bible, each time you open your journal you’re reminded about what you’ve written previously. You may even be tempted to go back a few pages and read what you wrote. It is a great way to create building blocks with your quiet time!
Here is one of my favorite Bible study tools!
4. Read whole books of the Bible and not random verses each day. I cannot stress enough how convinced I am that cherry-picking verses out of the Bible as a daily Bible reading pattern is a dangerous practice.
I am not against occasionally doing a word study of the Bible (ie. studying what the Bible says about worship), or even as a supplement to your daily Bible reading choosing one verse a day on a specific topic, like with the 30 Day Prayer Challenge.
What I believe is dangerous is when we do what I described in the opening of this article, just opening our Bible and randomly reading. The reason why I believe it is dangerous is because:
- We don’t read the verse within the context of the chapter and book. Heretical doctrines have grown out of this practice, as well-meaning people chose a verse to support a belief without ever understanding that the context of that verse had nothing to do with the doctrine they created.
- We fail to thrive as Christians. Part of spiritual maturity is learning to use the building blocks of scripture. The only way we find them is by daily reading through an entire book of the Bible and allowing the whole message of that book – or even series of books, such as the Pauline epistles, to challenge our weak areas.
Reading through the Bible by reading whole books at a time helps to keep scripture in its proper context. Scripture must be read in proper context, and we will look further into the importance of this in the next post.
When you read your Bible until three things stand out, engage with your Bible by underlining or color coding it, journal what you learned, and read whole books at a time, you will soon find that the Bible isn’t as overwhelming as you once thought.
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- Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.