Practical Tips for Bible Reading
This past Sunday I just completed my third read through of the Bible. I type this not to brag but to share tips on how I accomplished this because it has made such a huge impact on my life. Having been a Christian all of my life, I had actually never read through the Bible until my mid 20’s. Up until that point, I relied too heavily on other writers and speakers to tell me what I should think about God and His word. That can start to put a person in dangerous territory.
I think it’s important to read the Bible in its entirety because every verse in it is meant to be understood as part of a greater narrative. Understanding the bigger picture makes more complicated verses easier to understand. I get that it’s hard to apply that when it’s your first read through, but things that I found boring/inapplicable/confusing during the first read through meant so much more during my third read through. The Bible has so many symbols, parallels, and patterns. It’s beautiful and invigorating when you start recognizing them during your Bible studies.
Now, to the practical portion of this post:
I’m going to start with something controversial, but hear me out. I read the majority of the Bible on my phone (heresy, I know lol). I have the YouVersion Bible app and it has numerous plans to dig into. I normally choose one of their Bible in a Year plans. I laugh when I say “year” because that has never happened. It normally takes two years for me to complete a read through and with my pregnancy last year and being too nauseous to read anything, my last read through took three years. Getting up before the sun is not something I saw as a long lasting tradition (at least in this phase of my life). So having my Bible on my phone allows me to open The Word during any downtime in my day. I normally read on my lunch break or while Judah is taking a nap. Reading the Bible in this format has given me more chances to be in it.
I’m not perfect at completing the plan every day, but the great thing about the YouVersion app is you can just hit the “catch up” button and it will move your place to the current date. There should be no shame about missing a Bible reading or not finishing all of the prescribed chapters during the day. The important thing is to be as consistent as possible. And although most of my days’ readings took about 3-4 chapters (15-20 minutes), sometimes I slowed down and only focused on one chapter. The reason I am reading The Bible is to understand it better, so it does me no good if I just race through the readings without truly processing them. If I’m having trouble with a chapter, I’ll either look up complicated verses online or if I have the liberty of being at home, I’ll open up my Bible commentary. Quality Bible reading is going to be more beneficial than quantity Bible reading.
There are several plans out there. Before I ever committed to reading the entire Bible, I actually went through all of the New Testament first to practice the discipline of being in my Bible on a (mostly) daily basis. I had failed many times before when I tried to start my Bible readings in the Old Testament because I just found it harder to relate to in the beginning of my Bible study journey. The first time I read through the entire Bible I chose a plan that did a chapter from the Old Testament, a chapter from the New Testament, and a Psalm. I wouldn’t recommend that method, it feels too scattered -at least for me. This past time I chose the plan that had me read the Bible in chronological order (different from publication order). I enjoyed that one the most. It was informative to read corresponding chapters from differing books at the same time since the plan listed the chapters in the order that they actually happened in history.
If you are a Christian, being in The Word on a consistent basis is so important! (And side note, if you aren’t a Christian, I’d encourage you to read it too and have a wise Christian friend who will safely help you work through its contents when you have questions). We are constantly bombarded by the way the world thinks and world views are even popping up into different theologies that are not Biblical. The only way to combat that is to be familiar with the direct Word of God. Choosing to commit to a regular Bible study time may not be the easiest but it will be one of the most rewarding things you could ever pursue in life. Praying for the humility to grasp the wisdom in His Word will totally change the way you live- far beyond your comprehension! The Bible has made me a completely new and better person. I owe any of the good that may be in me to God and His Word!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”