I was supposed to read the Bible from cover to cover in college while taking the required Old Testament 1 & 2 and New Testament … I have to be honest with you and say it was a daunting task I never quite accomplished.
I’ve spent most of my adult life attending church and participating in Bible Study. Of course I have … I’m a preacher’s wife.
And I have to admit that during those busiest years most of my personal time spent in the Bible happened on the nights when stress and anxiety kept me awake in the middle of the night. During the day … it felt impossible to find time for personal anything.
But a little over a dozen years ago, a series of hard years culminated with a devastating loss and as I cried out to God … He drew me to His Word.
So I grabbed hold and read every verse from Genesis to Revelation in just three months. God used His Word to soothe my soul and heal my heart.
And I fell in love with the Bible.
So, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve read the Bible that
5 Simple Ways to Read the Bible that will Bless You
1. Choose an understandable translation.
One that you will actually read!
Over the past 15 years, I’ve read the New International Version, the Amplified Bible, God’s Word Translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible, The Message, the Chronological Bible, and the New Living Translation.
I believe the two Bibles that have blessed me most are the Chronological Bible and The Life Application Bible – New Living Translation.
I really liked the Chronological Bible as it helped me understand the Old Testament better by putting the words of the prophets into the appropriate times in history.
But I love the LAB – NLT! Last year, I read the text and all the notes. The translation is easier to understand (it’s the one I use most often in posts) and the notes help me think about the ways God wants me to apply all what I’m learning to my life.
2. Pray for the Spirit’s help to understand.
Proverbs 2 says…
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.Proverbs 2:3–6
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
And Jesus’ brother, James wrote…
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.James 1:5
I truly believe that when you and I sincerely ask God to give us the wisdom to understand the truths found in His Word … that is a prayer He is happy to answer positively!
3. Start where you’ll read.
If you’ve never read the Bible before, I don’t recommend you begin in Genesis and read through the Old Testament. I know too many of us have gotten discouraged in Numbers, Leviticus, 1 and 2 Chronicles, and Lamentations.
My favorite book is the Book of John.
The Life Application Notes include the following words in the introduction to John…
Eternal, infinite, unlimited—He was, is and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists.
He is the Word; HE is Jesus, the Messiah.
John loved Jesus and describes himself as the “disciple Jesus loved.” His words are about
After John, I recommend reading Romans, 1,2,3 John, and Proverbs. Then go to Genesis and read. Or if you prefer … there is a very easy to follow Bible Reading Plan at the Back of the LAB – NLT just before the indexes.
4. Look for Jesus in both the Old and New Testatments.
Billy Graham wrote…
The message of Jesus Christ, our Savior, is the story of the Bible … it is the story of salvation, it tis the story of the Gospel, it is the story of life, peace, eternity, and heaven.
Although, I believe there is value in beginning with the books of John and Romans if you have never read the Bible before. I also believe we need to read it all from creation through Revelation’s promise.
There is a powerful quote from Roy Gustafson in this month’s Decision Magazine…
The New Testament is contained in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is explained in the New Testament.
The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.
The Old Testament anticipates the New Testament.
The New Testament authenticates the Old Testament.
In the Old
Testamentthe New Testament lies hidden.
In the New
Testamentthe Old Testament lies open.
The Old Testament predicts a Person.
The New Testament presents that Person.
God promised Jesus in the Garden immediately after sin entered the world.
“I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.”Genesis 3:15
And throughout the pages of the Old Testament prophets, priest, and kings repeated the promise that God would send a Messiah to save us.
5. Ask questions and take notes.
I keep a highlighter, pen, and notebook with my Bible. I write verses and notes that speak to my heart and I write prayers inspired by the words I’ve read.
You can also ask the following questions:
- What does this teach me about God?
- What does it teach me about life?
- What does it teach me about other people?
- Is there a command to obey or an example to follow?
- Is this a promise I can claim?
- How can I apply this to my life?
Friend, I believe…
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
If you were sitting across the table from me right now, I would tell you with tears in eyes how I have fallen in love with the Triune God of the universe through the pages of Scripture. I can’t wait for Him to speak to me each day through His Story.
His promises have transformed my life.
Oh, how He loves you. Read His love letter to you and find out just how much!
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