"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Maybe you were just saved last Sunday after stumbling across a livestream church service. Maybe you have been a Christian all your life and have never partook in a "read your Bible through in a year" challenge... or maybe you haven't really read your Bible at all! So, you pick up a copy from your local bookstore or from your bookcase and crack it open; only to find that you are confused and frustrated even before you get to Exodus. You jump on Google and type "How to start reading the Bible" and come across this article. Well, fear not, dear reader! I am here to walk you through the process of reading your Bible with some tips and tricks that you may never have thought of before!
First, I want you to look at the Bible in your hand and determine which translation you have. Original King James (KJV) and New King James Versions (NKJV) sound regal and the way we all assume the Bible should sound; however, they are notoriously difficult to understand and, honestly, can make reading the Bible a tedious and frustrating affair. Today, we are fortunately not bound to only one or two translations of God's Word (aren't we lucky?! Who else doesn't read Ancient Greek or Hebrew?). The New International Version (NIV), English Standard Translation (ESV) , Amplified Bible (AMP), and (my personal favorite) New Living Translation (NLT) are all wonderful examples of translations that are easy to comprehend and enjoyable to read. In fact, many churches have transitioned KJV and NKJV to NIV and ESV in recent years and have had so much success in helping their congregates really connect with the Word. It is never a weakness to change translations and even if you would like to read several different translations, that is okay! Find one (or two or three!) that works for you and never apologize for how you get the Word in (**I have even known adults who have started with Children's Bibles, which is perfectly okay too!**).
Next, and stick with me on this one, do not start at the beginning of the Bible! This might seem counter intuitive, we always start reading books at the beginning and would be silly not to, generally; however, the Bible is a story of a central act, the reason why we needed the central act, and what happened after. It really reads better when you know the one main tenet of the story first. For this reason, I (and many other Christian teachers) would suggest starting in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Specifically, I would start with the Gospel of John. Why, you ask? Because John is a first-hand account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and is probably one of the most profound books in the Bible. How you proceed beyond the Gospels is really up to you! You can certainly go back to the start and work your way back; or go from the Gospels through Revelation and then focus on the Old Testament (the beginning of the Bible); or even read the rest of the Bible in tandem, reading sections of the Old and New Testament in each sitting. The important thing to remember is the Bible is a divinely inspired account from creation to eternity, hinged upon the ministry and sacrifice of Jesus Christ to make all of it possible.
Finally, I want to remind you to work at your own pace. Reading the Bible is not a competition. Just because it takes you longer than a year to read the Bible, or you blasted through it in three months; as long as your intention is to learn and understand the Word of God, you are doing it right. Do not let anyone make you feel as though your time with God is not as valuable to God as someone else's. GOD LOVES YOU! He is so happy that you want to spend time with Him and does not care one bit where you are at when you come to Him. Happy reading and Praise God!
Have you heard about our October Reading Plan? This month, I invite you to join me in a month-long study of the promises of God! Each day, there are short passages to read and meditate on and I will be discussing them live on Instagram each day of the month to help you broaden your understanding of the passages as well as take questions and thoughts from others. Don't forget to follow along on Instagram and join in! Below you will find this month's reading plan to get you started and I hope to see you over on Instagram Live as we make time for God TOGETHER!