Having trouble knowing how to start reading the Bible?
Perhaps, it’s your first time reading the Bible. Or, you’re a new believer.
But you don’t know where and how to begin the discipline of reading the entire Bible.
If that’s you, we offer 7 simple steps to start reading God’s word.
Why Should You Start Reading The Bible?
Perhaps, you’re a new believer and beginning to start the journey of Bible reading.
Or, perhaps you have not been reading the Bible regularly, and you want to redevelop the spiritual discipline.
Either way, you should understand the reasons why you should commit to the daily reading of the whole Bible.
The Bible was written so that we can grow in our relationship with God.
Paul said to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Furthermore, the Bible is a great resource in making us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
God has given us His word so that we can:
- Know Jesus Christ
- Live Out The Christian Life
- Serve the Christian church
- Do the will of God.
- Grow in Scriptural knowledge
- Be empowered by the Holy Spirit
Starting the discipline of Bible reading can be intimating for most people. You may not know where to start or how to start.
But once you know the reason, you should commit to making Bible reading your daily habit.
The steps toward it are simple. It should not be rocket science!
Step-by-Step Instructions To Start Reading The Bible
Step 1 – Choose Your Bible Translation
There are many good Bible translations to choose from:
- King James Version
- English Standard Version
- New International Version
- New Living Translation
Since there are many Bible translations, it can be hard to know how to choose the most accurate Bible translation.
Personally, I have been using the English Standard Version (ESV) for more than 10 years.
I have read and studied the Bible using that translation.
The reason why I endorse the ESV is that it remains literal to the original language while also being readable for everyone.
Step 2 – Pick A Book Of The Bible
It’s hard to know what is the best order of the Bible to start reading for new believers.
You should begin reading these books:
- The four Gospels, such as John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke.
- The Book of Genesis
- Some of Paul’s letters called epistles: Ephesians, Colossians, etc.
I think it is important for you to understand the Bible story and God’s word fit together in unity.
That’s because the Bible – from the Old Testament to the New Testament – is all about Jesus.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to read every book of the Bible to know the general story of the Bible.
But you eventually should read the entire book.
If you’re seasoned Christians, picking a book of the Bible should not be difficult.
Step 3 – Pick A Suitable Time
Everyone has a different lifestyle.
For me, I usually read the Bible in the mornings (especially on my Twitch channel).
For some people, they may read the Bible in the evenings.
Some only have time to read while riding on the bus.
You have to be able to create a system that works for you.
I think you have to be intentional about it.
Be flexible. Do what works for you.
Step 4 – Pick A Location
Like step 3, you have to choose a location to support your system.
Would reading the Bible app on your phone be helpful? Or, would the emails and social media distract you?
Would reading Scripture on your bed assist you? Or, would it make you slumber, especially at night?
The environment plays an important factor in enforcing your spiritual discipline.
If reading in front of your computer can tempt you to browse the internet, find another location.
Try to identify a location (e.g. living room) and an object (e.g. a chair) where you can say, “This would specifically be the place designated for my quiet time with Jesus.”
You’re developing a system of habits that would serve you in the long term.
I develop a system where I can read the Bible in my home office. It’s the best location where I am least distracted, especially with having children around.
Step 5 – Ask God To Illuminate His Word To You
Do you pray to God before you read the Bible?
Praying to God can be an expression of humility.
It shows that we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit to help us understand His word.
Additionally, keep asking Him to help you understand difficult texts.
This also require meditating upon His precepts.
As we ponder about God’s word, He gives us understanding (2 Timothy 2:7).
Step 6 – Read The Text
It’s that’s simple.
Read it like how you normally read books in school.
But we could get a bit deeper.
Allow me to suggest you not do the following:
- Don’t just read one verse.
- Don’t just read one paragraph.
- Don’t just read one section of the header.
- Don’t just read one chapter.
Read widely so that you can grasp the preceding and proceeding context of the immediate text.
Read deeply so that you can understand how each sentence – with its words and grammar – connects with the context.
Read exegetically. Yes, it’s a fancy word. It simply means drawing out meaning from the text.
It’s the opposite of reading eisegetically, which means reading into the text from our contemporary lense.
Step 7 – Use A Study Bible To Aid Your Bible Reading
Sometimes, you will run into difficult passages that are hard to understand.
Study Bible is like having Bible scholars, theologians, or pastors by your side.
It comes with notes and commentary that help you understand the meaning of the text.
It explains the historical and grammatical context of the passage.
There are many good study Bibles to choose from.
Personally, I return to these study Bibles that I use regularly:
- ESV Study Bible
- MacArthur Study Bible
- CSB Study Bible
5 Key Considerations For Successfully Reading The Bible
Seek To Know God
Reading the Bible is not about obtaining knowledge and facts.
It is also not about keeping up with your routine (or appeasing your guilt if you forgot to do it).
It is not merely knowing about God.
You’re reading the Bible for the purpose of knowing God personally. It is about cultivating a personal relationship with Him.
God has given you His word so that you can know who He is and what He has done for you.
God’s word is profitable for teaching.
But you should have the right attitude when approaching it.
Some approach the Bible with a skeptical mindset. They come with personal biases and preconceived notions. They put on their lenses that support their personal worldview.
The Bible, however, teaches its own worldview that is radically different from this world.
You should be willing to learn the Bible and allow it to teach you.
Psalm 86:11: “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (ESV)
Application And Principles
The Bible teaches us to be a doer of the word, and not just hearers of the word.
So, when we’re reading the Bible, we should seek to apply its teaching into our lives.
Granted, application can be difficult to discern for beginners.
Christians should not be applying everything in the Bible into their own lives.
For example, Christians are not commanded to offer sacrifices in the temple because of the work of Jesus. The principle we can learn from the sacrificial system is that God is holy. So, His people are called to be holy.
So, utilizing study Bibles can help you discover the application. Or, ask your pastor for his thoughts.
Not every book or section of the Bible is written the same style.
Some are narrative or historical. Some are poetic. Some are apocalyptic.
Each literary genre should impact the way we to understand and study the text.
Share What You Have Learned
Talk to your brothers and sisters in Christ about it at church or Bible study group.
Sharing what you have learned from the Bible reading can also strengthen your articulation of the text.
Furthermore, you can also seek guidance or ask questions from them.
Taking it to the Next Level: How To Study The Bible For Beginners?
After you read the Bible, you should consider learning how to study the Bible.
How do scholars, pastors, or mature Christian understand the text?
They take the time to study the Bible.
It does require skills and tools:
- Dictionaries to aid you in the original language: Hebrew and Greek
- Using cross-references
- Reading different translations
- Being trained to ask the good questions about the text
- Using the right method of Bible interpretation
If you want to take the next step in your spiritual growth, you could take a course on Bible interpretation.
Or, talk to your pastor about teaching a class on Biblical Interpretation or Hermeneutics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where To Start Reading The Entire Bible?
You can start reading from the Gospel of John.
What is the easiest Bible to read?
The easier Bible translation to read is the New Living Translation.
Keep in mind, however, that it is not the most literal translation.
Again, I recommend using the English Standard Bible.
My hope for you is that you would start reading the Bible daily or regularly.
Those who read the Bible can know our Lord Jesus Christ personally because He has the Words of eternal life.
Also, by reading the Bible, you begin to know God’s plan and will for your life.