Reading the bible is something all believers know they should do and all new believers are told to do. When it comes to reading the bible, very few people actually do read it. When they pick it up and begin to look at it to read it, many thoughts start to enter their mind as to how to read it.
The most common way to read the bible is to think of it like any other book. How does one read a book? He starts at the beginning and reads through until he gets to the end.
One of the great benefits of reading the bible this way is that you can see how God’s plan for mankind unfolds, little by little. It starts with the creation of the world, and ends with the destruction of the world and the creation of a new heaven and earth.
The hardest part in reading the bible this way is when a person gets past Genesis and Exodus. The next two books, Leviticus and Numbers, come up presenting a great challenge for a new believer or one beginning to really read the bible. These books are very long on lists. One lists the genealogy of all the people, while the other lists all of the sacrifices required.
For most people these kinds of lists are very boring and many wonder why God put them in there. Many people stop reading the bible once they get to that point out of boredom. Only once a person has been a believer for a while, does he begin to understand the value in those lists and reasons why God may have put them in His word.
Other people begin reading the bible by reading the New Testament. It is common to hear of a person who has read the New Testament several times, but has never read the Old Testament.
The New Testament is where God’s love, grace and mercy is really shown for what they fully are. Life is offered in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Open talk about heaven and the future is presented. Practical ways on how to live for God is shown in the letters of Paul to the various churches.
While reading the New Testament is great, one must not forget to read or ignore the Old Testament. The Old Testament gives the background as to why Jesus had to come and die on the cross. It shows what His death on the cross means and why it was so important.
Another benefit of reading the Old Testament, is that it shows many people who followed God, but also made mistakes in their lives and, yet, God used them in mighty ways. It shows how many times Israel walked away from God, but as soon as they turned to God, God took them back. One can see the love, mercy and grace of God through many different stories.
You can also see how God had a plan to bring about salvation to all people from the beginning. One can watch as God unfolds His plan of salvation, as the entire Bible is read.
The first important thing about reading the Bible is to actually read it. Get into in and read it and see what God has to say.
As you begin reading the Bible, do not read it just as another novel, full of good stories. Each chapter you read, think about what it is saying and what it can say to you today. What message does God have for you in the passage being read?
The Bible is written in simple, plain everyday language that anyone can understand, if they want to. Some may try to say that you need to be able to study it in the original Greek or Hebrew, but that is not true. When Jesus walked on the earth, He spoke in the language of the people He was with, not some strange foreign language. In the same way, God speaks to you through His word, the Bible, in a language you can understand.
There will be passages that may not always make sense right away. Do not let that stop you from reading. Pray and ask God for wisdom each time you read His word. Trust that He will open your eyes to what He is saying in His word.
As you apply these few principles that I have given here, God’s word will come alive to you. The Bible is alive and active today. No matter how many times you read it, there will be more to learn.
Each time you read a certain passage, God may show you something different in it. You will begin to see new things about God and how He works as you dive into His word.
The best way to read the Bible is to actually get into it and read it. Do not keep putting off reading it. If all you do is read a few verses each day, that is more than nothing and God can do something with it.
Take time each day to read the Bible and learn from it.