I realize this seems like a very basic topic, but a large number of believers struggle with doing this very thing. Some struggle due to a lack of time, others simply get frustrated because of a lack of understanding and stop trying, others simply focus on sections of scripture that they’re most comfortable with. Here’s some simple ideas and principles to help you in your journey, but let’s start with why it’s a journey worth making.
I’m not going to cover How-to Choose a Bible Translation or Keys for Hearing God, because I cover those topics elsewhere. What I want to focus on is practical how-to and methods of reading the bible. But to start, here’s why you want to read the Word.
First and foremost, it’s how you come to know God. He reveals Himself in His Word. If you don’t spend time in it or if you get all of it secondhand, you stand to either not know Him at all or to know an inaccurate view of Him. So if you’re serious about your walk, you have to spend time in the Word.
That said, time in the Word doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you have a hectic schedule and can only commit daily to 5 minutes, then commit to 5 minutes a day, but be consistent. It took me three years to make it through the King James Version of the Bible, both because of my schedule and because I found it harder to read. But I was consistent, so I completed it. And by the end, it wasn’t as hard to read anymore because I had grown accustomed to it.
I suggest using multiple translations, speeds, and methods of reading. You learn different things from each. Don’t worry about things you don’t understand, you will learn over time if you are sure to be consistent about time in the Word.
Since I share How-to Choose a Bible Translation in a different post, lets talk about speeds and methods. By speeds I mean how quickly or slowly you read. If I read The Bible in 7 Days (or The Bible in 17 Days) you get something totally different out of it than if you do it slowly over time (like I do with my daily Prophetic Nuggets which meditate on a single verse each day). Both ways are good. My encouragement to you is to not get in a rut and do it the same way all the time. Read fast and read slow – switch it up, but be consistent and read.
Here are some ideas for ways you can read the bible at different speeds:
- A chapter a day
- Meditate on a single verse
- Select a bible reading plan and use their daily recommendation
- Set aside a period of time during a vacation or break to read the whole word in one quick period
Let’s talk about methods, because when I say “read” what I mean by that is any way you ingest the word of God. I have multiple translations around the house, some in study versions and some not, and I spend (or have spent) time with all of them. So a physical bible is an obvious way you can read, but you can also read on your phone, or listen to an audio version. I own the kindle version of multiple translations and let my kindle devices read to me as I’m doing other things – you’d be surprised at how much you retain even if you’re listening as you do tasks. It’s simply another way to “read” the Word.
To recap, here are some different methods you can use to “read” the bible:
- Physical bible
- Bible app on your phone or tablet (e.g Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, YouVersion)
- Website (two of my favorites are Bible Gateway or Blue Letter Bible)
- Audio bible (or audio version in an app)
I know we all tend to have favorite parts in the Word, but it’s important not to get stuck only reading those. If you want to truly know God, know ALL of Him. Resist the urge to cherry pick the parts of the word you like and understand. Read it all and when you hit things you don’t understand, ASK HIM for revelation – this is part of developing a relationship. But keep reading. Don’t give up or get discouraged. Resist the urge to judge Him on things you see Him do in scripture simply because you don’t understand why. Continue seeking to understand. The key there is continuing to seek.
Blessings to you as you soak in His Word!