When we open up the Bible something supernatural is happening…
…we are hearing the voice of our Creator speak to us.…we are hearing our Heavenly Father speak to us.…we are hearing the Lover of our souls, Jesus Christ, speak to us.…we are hearing our constant guide and ever-present source of strength and help, the Holy Spirit, speak to us.
When we open the Bible. God speaks. He uses letters, and words, and sentences, to communicate life-transforming truth. A truth that brings joy. A truth that brings liberation.
So, reading the Bible matters, and here are my 5 top tips to help you get started.
#1 The Big Read
The Bible is in fact made up of 66 mini books. The first mini book is Genesis and the last one is Revelation. Each book has a different feel and flavor. Often people just read a verse from a book, or small section. Now this is helpful and good (as we will see) but if you really want to get to grips with a book, it is best to read it from start to finish. You could do this all-in-one go, or by reading a few chapters at a time.
I call this technique The Big Read and I love it. There are some great stories in the Bible and if you read a book from beginning to end you really see how God has worked in peoples lives. Start with 1 & 2 Samuel and the story of King David’s life. Or the Exodus and hear how God rescued his people from slavery. If you read big you will not regret it.
#2 The deep read
To understand a mini-book we need to read it from beginning to end. But, often there is a wealth of riches in each chapter and if we constantly hurry over them then we miss the gold. So, choose a Bible book, maybe start with Colossians, and read it deeply. Read a few verses each day and spend time reflecting on them.
You could try answering these questions:
- What does this tell me about God?
- What does this tell me about humanity?
- What strikes me?
Or, you could try these three questions:
- What is going on? Go through verse by verse and make sure you get the logic of what is being said.
- Why has God given us this? Nothing in the Bible is there by random. God has given us his word for a reason. So why does God want us today to know this?
- What is God saying to me? As we read his word God is speaking to us. Was there something you find particularly interesting? Did it confront the way you are living your life? After reading this do you now want to praise God for something?
#3 Use a guide
God has given us the Bible, but God has also given us the Church. The wisdom of Christians from the past and around the world is a gift from God. When I was a young Christian I struggled to read the Bible by myself. I never knew where to start and sometimes I didn’t understand what was being said. Then I started using Search the Scriptures. An incredible book that gave me a Bible passage to read each day, and a few questions to answer. It really helped me engage with God’s Word and when I had finished Search the Scriptures it meant I had read the whole Bible. Whoop whoop!
So, buy yourself a copy of Search the Scriptures, or find yourself another resource that helps you engage with God’s Word.
#4 Take up the challenge
Some people love a challenge and some people hate them. If you’re someone who thrives off competition, then embrace it and take up The Bible in a Year challenge. It is simple. Each day you read a few chapters of the old and new testament, and in a year you’ve read it all! Dreamy!!
#5 Shake it up
I’ve been a Christian for many years now and one thing I know for sure is that I need to shake up my Bible reading to keep it fresh. Sometimes I’ve read whole books in one sitting, sometimes I’ve listened to the Bible being read out, sometimes I’ve printed out passages and made notes all around it, sometimes I meditate on one verse, sometimes I reread the same section day after day. Sometimes I read for 10 minutes, and sometimes for hours. I don’t know why somethings work and others don’t. But I do know that I want to hear God speak and so I shake up how I read the Bible to keep my mind and my heart engaged.