Let’s face it, the Bible can be intimidating.
It’s long, it’s old, it has 66 different books covering multiple literary genres, and it has lots of hard to pronounce names like “Mephibosheth”.
However, the Bible is the primary way that God has given us to learn about who he is, what he’s done, and what he hopes for in us. His voice speaks to us through the voice of the Bible. In Mark 12 when Jesus was questioned by some religious leaders, he replied: “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” We will simply always be in error if we don’t jump in and actually read the Bible and look for the voice, presence, and power of God in the text.
Here are a few tips on how to start:
1- Start Small
If you have never read the Bible, don’t start out by trying to read it for an hour everyday. You’ll fail and you’ll feel like a failure and likely give up on the whole thing. Start with one or two chapters a day and then pray for a few minutes. You can build up to more later once you have a habit built.
2- Be consistent
Aim for consistency of interacting with God through the Bible everyday, even if it’s for a short amount of time. The key is that it begins to become part of how you live your life. If you miss a few days (or months) don’t beat yourself up. Just get back into it!
3- Give it time
Some days you’ll probably have a very meaningful time reading the Bible, other days you won’t. That’s usually how it works. Resist the temptation to expect that everyday will be amazing. The larger goal is that over time the Bible will start nourishing your spirit and feeding your soul. It’s a bit like eating food. Sometimes you’ll love what you’re eating, and other times you won’t but the larger purpose of eating is not for taste but for nourishment and energy and life.
4- Start in the New Testament
Normally when you read a book, you start at the beginning. However, if you’re just beginning to read the Bible this is likely not the best approach. The first two-thirds of the Bible is called the Old Testament, and the last third is the New Testament. The Old Testament is much longer, older, and harder to understand than the New Testament. I’ve talked to many people that have read the first book, Genesis, over and over again because they always start at the beginning of the Bible and then give up after Genesis or Exodus and stop reading because they get bored and confused. Then after a year or two they pick up the Bible and start at Genesis again. A better approach for beginner’s is to start with one of the stories of Jesus like Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. It will be much easier to understand and you’ll be learning directly about Jesus.
5- Have a plan
There are lots of great plans out there. The YouVersion Bible App (https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/) has tons of great options and can be installed on your phone or tablet for free. The plan that I’m currently reading on the Bible App, along with a large group from our church is called The Bible In One Year (https://www.bibleinoneyear.org).
Here are a few great plans for beginner’s:
What’s Next (26 Days)
The Bible Project | Gospels (90 days)
By: Jonathan Rue
Lead Pastor, Desert Vineyard Church