How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible
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It's a big book.
Big in its literal as well as figurative sense.
Have you ever sat down to read it only to realize you have NO. IDEA. where to start?
You're certainly not alone.
Several years ago, coming from many years as a wayward saint, I felt compelled to start reading the Bible again. I wasn't excited about it. I just knew I needed to read it.
I wasn't excited about reading it because I had tried many, many, maaannnny times in the past. To be honest, I didn't understand much of it at all.
I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of feeling stupid. And quite frankly, when I read the Bible and didn't understand it, I felt stupid.
This time, when I started reading the Bible again, I used a different Bible. My parents had given it to me several years prior, and I didn't think much about it until I started reading.
For the first time in my life, the Bible made sense.
I started in Genesis and made my way through Revelations in three months.
I couldn't put it down.
It was the most fascinating, overwhelmingly beautiful, and life-changing book I'd ever read.
I'd heard people say the Bible was their favorite book, but deep down I felt like they were just giving a church-y response. (Just keeping it real.)
I finally got it.
The Bible is alive.
It is life-changing.
So what changed? Certainly not the Bible.
That Bible my parents gave me was a different translation and was a study Bible. So not only was it easier to read, it also had background information and life application for many of the verses.
If you're sitting in front of your same Bible, and you don't know where to start:
1. Change your Bible to a New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible
Because you're reading this article, I'm assuming you are struggling to read and study your Bible. I've been there. I actually downloaded this Bible on my kindle. I love that I can carry my Bible with me wherever I go, and I especially like to read in bed.
If you want to try out the New Living Translation before you buy it, you can download a free app for your phone here. Another cool thing about this app is you can get a number of different Bible reading plans.
2. Start in the book of John
While I haven't found a book of the Bible I don't love... I have a special affinity for John. Not only do you get an overview of Christianity as a whole, you see firsthand the love of God.
3. Read as much of John in one sitting as you can
When you're starting to read the Bible again, there is really no wrong way to do it. Reading any of the Word is always better than not reading it.
What I loved about reading the Bible through was seeing how everything connected. If you can, try to read the book of John in one sitting. If you can't, no worries. Read as much as you can. Then, the next day, read a little more.
4. Read it again the next day
Rather than rushing through your reading, go back and read John again. Take the time to read the footnotes and the explanations in the study section.
5. Read it one chapter at a time
After you've read the whole book of John a time or two, read it one chapter at a time. Give yourself some time to savor the words.
There's nothing more transformative than being in Word.
What God has done in my heart and in my life drives me. I want every single person I meet to know that God is alive. His Word is real. And most importantly, He loves you!