Reading the Bible always felt so intimidating to me. It’s this huge book full of stories and language I didn’t truly understand. However, it is supposed to be the roadmap for how I get to know God.
So I just stared at it for years.
Occasionally I would open it and read random passages but never really understood how it all connected. I did read devotionals. But let’s be honest. The devotionals didn’t actually involve me learning how to read the Bible. They consisted of a short verse followed by someone explaining to me what I was supposed to do. Not only did I not have to even open my Bible, I didn’t have to speak to God. I let someone else do the work for me because reading the Bible just felt too hard.
And so my Bible just sat on my shelf staring at me.
If I’m honest, I was extremely intimated by the Bible. It is full of the very words of God, but yet it’s HUGE and I had no idea where to start. I was also a little embarrassed to ask for help. I was this Christian woman who was active in church so felt like I should have this basic skill down. But I didn’t.
Shortly after having 3 kids in 3 years and as I was drowning in emotions, diapers, and exhaustion, I decided to finally figure out how to read the Bible for myself. I was over the excuses, embarrassment and intimidation and needed to see for myself if the Bible held the key to knowing and following God. If understanding the Bible would finally give me access to the peace promised in the scriptures.
As I pushed in and really tried to figure out how to read the Bible, I discovered reading and understanding the scriptures was easier than I had thought!
And I bet it will be for you as well. If you’re struggling to open the Bible, here are 6 easy steps to help you jump over that hurdle and see for yourself all God wants to give you through His Word.
6 Steps to Reading Your Bible
Decide what to read.
This is probably the hardest part of reading your Bible but the most necessary. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll find yourself randomly flipping through and overwhelmed. But there are a couple different ways to make a plan.
If you’re wanting to read the whole story of the Bible from beginning to end in order to see how it all connects, The Bible Recap is a great resource for this. This resource gives you the plan but also provides a 5-7 min. podcast that will help explain what you just read! So helpful.
If you would rather go with smaller reading plans that are over specific topics or shorter in duration, Bible.com has several great ones to choose from! It doesn’t necessarily matter which plan you choose. Just have a plan so you aren’t left in limbo every day. You want to be able to just open your Bible and start reading.
Read or Watch an introduction
If you are jumping into reading a book of the Bible, it’s helpful to know a little bit of the background and context of that book. Otherwise you can tend to get confused! So take a few minutes before getting started and watch the introduction videos found on The Bible project (Old Testament books are here and New Testament books are here)
Or simply read a short introduction on Blue letter Bibles.
Reading the Bible is actually a time when you can interact with God. The words you read are the very words of God, so before you open the Bible, pray and ask God to meet you, help you understand, and speak to you through His Word. This will also help your mind remember you are reading to meet with God and not just for another intellectual activity!
This is the fun part! Just follow your plan and start to read your Bible. There may be days when you read for long periods of time and days when you read for 5 minutes. Don’t put any expectation on yourself except that you want to meet with God through his Word and then follow your plan and start reading.
Notice Key Words and Repetition
While reading, train yourself to notice keywords and any phrase that is repeated. The key words are often found in the strong verbs of the passage. These are words that God might use to give you direction or help you understand how to follow Him better. Words or phrases that repeat often reveal the themes or meaning of the passage and help you gain deeper understanding.
Talk to God
Once you have read your passage for the day and noticed the keywords and any repetition, spend time telling God about all you read. Ask Him about anything you don’t understand and let Him know how you’re feeling about what you read. Anything and everything that is going through your mind, simply talk to Him about it!
And that’s it! 6 easy steps to reading your Bible! If you want a handout of the steps, you can grab it here, and then jump in and get started. It might take a few days to get into a rhythm, but the important thing is to start. I promise you’ll find that once you begin reading, your Bible will bring you the joy and peace that only comes from a deep relationship with God.