You and your friends decide to go shopping one day.
To your luck, your friends decide to hibernate in the store you most despise. I mean just the smell of this store will make you sick, let alone stepping inside of it.
As they frantically gallop around this store like chickens with their heads cut off, you patiently wait outside questioning your relationships.
Suddenly, from the corner of your eye you spot something so glamourous within the store that you completely forget your resentment towards it.
Shamefully, you walk inside, purchase this glamourous item and pretend like nothing happened.
To your surprise, you find yourself consistently coming back to this store over and over again just to purchase this *glamorous item*.
In a strange way, there were many points in my life where I would read the Bible in this exact attitude. I would choose the parts that I like to hear and ignore verses that were a little hard to swallow.
Most times I would just get bored of reading certain scriptures, so I would just skim through popular passages like John 3:16, Philippian’s 4:13, Jeremiah 29:11, pat myself on the back then go to sleep.
Sometimes when I didn’t know what to read I would close my eyes and open my Bible to a random page until I found something that caught my attention. Although I was reading the Bible it was clear I needed some guidance and structure.
You might be a mature or new born Christian trying to begin/ revamp your Bible reading. You might not be a Christian but you’ve considered reading the Bible to know for yourself what this Christian thing is all about.
Whatever side of the coin you’re on, the next time you pick up a Bible consider the following tips:
1. Ask God for Help
When you are reading literature of any kind, the greatest source of wisdom comes from the author. You can do as many studies as you want to, but the author always knows the true message behind what he/ she writes. Having said that, the bible is the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), ask him to provide you with the wisdom to fully understand it. Whether you’re a Christian or not, you wouldn’t want anyone deceiving you with false biblical info. The only person who is 100% trustworthy is God as it is the word of God & not the word of man.
2. Recommended Starting Points
Just to be clear these are recommended points not mandatory. In other words God is not going to smite you because you begin reading the Bible from the book of Psalms rather than Genesis. Having said that consider the following
Gospel of John
Author: Apostle John
This is the 4th & final book of the “Canonical Gospels” (widely known as the Four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).
Similar to the other 3 gospels, the Book of John reveals to us the ministry of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ there is no Christianity, so it’s pretty important to know about him (well really important actually). Apostle John is also the author of Revelation (last book of the Bible), henceforth you would start & end the New Testament on a consistent writing style (assuming it is read chronologically)
Gospel of Luke
Author: Apostle Luke
Similar to John this book also reveals the ministry of Jesus Christ. However, Apostle Luke was also the author of the book of Acts (the first book proceeding the 4 Gospels). If you consider starting from this Book I suggest jumping from Luke to Acts, then reading along through the New Testament.
Author: Apostle Paul
This might be bias since the Book of Romans is my favourite book in the Bible – but here’s why I recommend it as a starting point. In this book Apostle Paul explains in great detail the significance behind the death & resurrection Christ in regards to mankind. The 4 Gospels tells you what Jesus did, the book of Romans explains why he did it and why you should submit your life to him.
Regardless of what you choose (any of the above or something else completely), just stick to it and try reading it in chronological order
3.0 Context & Setting
Always consider who the author is speaking to along with the overall setting of the scripture.
For example, Matthew 7:1 says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” however 1 Corinthians 5:12 says “What business is it of mine to judge outside the church? Are you to judge those inside?”
As you can see, both scriptures may easily be misquoted assuming no context or setting was provided.
4.0 Study the Word
Simply put, it is absolutely OK for you to nerd out. As Christians this a very important point as David the Psalmist wrote:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”
(I promise this wasn’t taken out of context lol look it up here)
Highlight key passages, study, memorize, meditate and act on them.
Furthermore, for the unbeliever, there is also great value in studying the word of God as mentioned earlier not to be deceived by any false opinion. Studying the word through an unbiased point of view will always be beneficial.
If you are still be stumped about this whole Bible reading thing, consider the following reading plans on my Bible Studies page
Soli Deo Gloria