I used to run a Christian lunch time club at a local school. One week after we looked at the bible story, I can remember one girl putting up her hand enthusiastically.
“Alice,” she said “I’ve got a bible at home.”
“Wow, that’s great,” I said, “But you need to make sure you re…”
“Alice!” said another child, putting up his hand, “I have two bibles!”
“Fantastic! But you really need…”
“I have three bibles!”
“I have ten bibles!”
“Well I have fifty-seven hundred bibles in my house.”
Eventually I managed to calm them down, and tell them it really didn’t matter how many bibles they had, what really mattered is that they read it.
Lots of people have bibles in their homes that rarely, or never, get looked at. This is often because they don’t have a clue where to start, or how to go about reading it. Because of this, I thought it might be useful to share a few ideas for reading the bible, both for people who have never touched it before, and for people who read the bible everyday, but are interested in trying something new.
When it comes to reading the bible I would encourage you to be creative, it shouldn’t be boring. Maybe try out one of these ideas, if it doesn’t you try another idea; if you love, stick with it. After all, we are all different! I have also found that just because something works really well for me at one point in my life, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will in the future. Be creative, have a go, mix the ideas to suit you, and please don’t be afraid to share your thoughts, and share your own favourite ways for getting into the bible.
Devotionals and Bible Reading Notes
These little books can be great for helping you to get into the bible. They usually include a bible verse then some thoughts by the author, relating it to the modern-day, they will often end with a prayer, questions, or ideas for things you can do to put the message into action.
They don’t take too long to read, you can take them with you, you can even download some onto your phone using the You Version app. They relate the bible to today, making it relevant to what you are going through.
It is easy to focus more on what the author has written rather than what it says in the bible. They are great for a quick dip into the bible, but sometimes you may want something deeper.
Bible Reading Plans
There are lots of different resources you can use for reading through the entire bible in one year. I have done this once before and found it really beneficial. It gave me a great overview of the bible, and it meant that I didn’t just continually return to my favourite passages.
It does take a lot of commitment to do this, you will need to read approximately 3 chapters a day, a 15 minute commitment, but one that’s so worth it! If you do want to read the bible in one year I would recommend cheating a little and starting a few weeks early. For example if you wanted to start in January actually start in mid December, that way if you. Is an odd day, you don’t have loads of catching up to do.
You can get bibles which are already laid out in a way which makes it easy to read the bible in one year. Like this one, alternatively you could search for plans online.
Sometimes you may not want to do a study like this, instead it may be more appropriate to read the bible more slowly, really dwelling on what you read. There are 2 methods I have used to do this.
Lectio divinia means divine reading, the is a classic way of reading the bible. It is more “bible basking than bible study”. It is made up of 4 steps read, think, pray and live.
Read the passage slowly, read it again, really meditate on it, cover yourself in the words.
Think about it, don’t think about what you knew about it before or what someone else has told you, but think about how it is speaking to you today. You are in a conversation with God, what does he have to say? It might not be what he said to you yesterday, or what he said to your friend, but what does he want to say to you today.
Pray, talk to God about what you have read, have a conversation with him, tell him how you feel, does it make you happy? Sad? Confused? Tell him, and listen to what he has to say. Write it down if you need to, sing to him if you need to, just sit quietly if you need to.
Live it out, don’t just let it remain inside, let what you have read impact everything that you do.
It might take some practice, but this is a really great way to connect with God and his word.
If you are interested in having a go at this I would seriously recommend you get your hands on a copy of The Message: Solo
Inductive Bible Study
This is another different way of studying the bible, it involves highlighting different words in different colours or marking them with little pictures and making lists of thing you learn from the passage. This all helps you to see themes running through, not only the passage you are reading, but through the whole bible. This is a great way of making reading the interactive and visual.
The only problem I faced with doing this was spending too long deciding whether to use biros, felt tips, or colouring pencil, then choosing which colour to use and making up little symbols. But once you have overcome this, it really is a helpful of seeing new things in passages you may have read many times before.
Here are some resources to help with this:
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how you read the bible, just that you do. Try these methods mix them up, or try something else, it really doesn’t matter. If you have any other ideas for reading the bible, please share, and join the discussion.
One final tip: I have found it helpful to light a candle when I am reading the bible, this seems to calm, and keep me focused on what I am doing.