You’ve got your Bible, a quiet corner, comfy chair, an open heart and you’re juuuust about to dive into the Word. Girl, you are ready! You open the pages of that good book and man oh man, where to begin? Your excitement and determination is dampened (just slightly) by a sea of unending little black letters. Sound familiar? No worries, these 5 practical tips will help you learn how to read the Bible and experience God’s living word.
It’s no secret the Bible is an intimidating book. Even the most devout and learned person can become overwhelmed with God’s word at times. Parables, genealogies,
ridiculous unpronounceable names… let’s not even mention the book of Revalation. (GASP!)
The truth is, studying the Bible is HARD. As Christians, sometimes I think we don’t want to admit that. We want to keep our struggles to ourselves and pretend like our time with the Lord is exactly what it’s “supposed” to be. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down, opened my Bible, stared blankly as I flipped through the pages looking for a place to read and then promptly shut it because I didn’t even know where to begin. Anyone else? (Please say I’m NOT the only one!!)
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While studying the Bible is still no easy feat for me, I’ve compiled some of my favorite “tips” and encouragements that helped me push past the overwhelm and really dig into the word and better learn how to read the Bible.
As simple as it sounds, this is SO important! Approach the Word of God will a humble heart, knowing that it is God alone who can open your eyes to wisdom. Pray that he opens your eyes and your heart to understand his word and his will. The Bible tells us all who seek will find and if there is one thing we know with absolute certainty, it’s that God is faithful to his word.
“Then He opened their minds to understand the scripture.”Luke 24:45
HAVE A PLAN
When I say “have a plan,” I don’t mean an actual written plan. (But hey, if you have one of those, that’s great!) Just know what you are going to read before you open the Bible. I think the most intimidating thing to do with the Bible is to open it without a starting point in mind.
If you literally have NO idea where to begin, start in the book of Matthew. The gospel is the heart of the Christian faith and cannot be read too often! Seriously, it can’t! I recently read through the book of Matthew over a period of several days and God used that time to absolutely rejuvenate my soul and my passion for him. God’s word is living and breathing. Isn’t it incredible the way God can open your eyes to things you’ve never seen before, even if you’ve read it a million times?
USE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Oftentimes there are things in the Bible that we may not be able to understand completely without knowing the history or context behind it. Using additional resources can allow you to get that background information you need to better understand the text. Just be sure you use discernment when choosing resources. There are many mainstream “false teachers” who may do your study more harm than good. Always fact check opinions and beliefs with what scripture says.
My favorite resource to use is my CSB study bible. It has historically significant snippets all throughout, as well as encouraging thoughts about the scriptures. It also introduces each book with the author, a summary, historical background from the time, and the main theme of the book. The blurbs found throughout, while not scripture, are thought provokers that help me to understand God’s word further. It’s almost like having the benefit of a Bible teacher right there in your Bible!
I know, I know, you feel like your back in school, right? Well, you took lecture notes for a reason… it works! Taking the time to process your Bible study by actually writing down your thoughts and questions will help you to better understand and retain it. How often do we quickly read through scripture in on a hurried day and then completely forget what we read by the evening? (Oh, is that just me?)
Not only will taking notes help you remember and understand the Bible, it will also serve as a journal of your faith. Record your study notes in a fun journal (A simple one like this!) that you can keep and look back on years later. You may see how God has transformed your heart over the years and even answered prayers you forgot you prayed!
Even if you get discouraged along the way (or right out of the gate), don’t give up! Stay committed and just. keep. going. Keep praying, keep opening the Bible and let the God’s word work for you. The Holy Spirit will work on your heart even when you don’t feel it. (Check out my post on The Perfect Unquiet Time here!)
Here’s a list of some of my favorite things to use when studying God’s word!
- I’m a creative heart so I’m a sucker for a good colored pen. These are my favorite for using in my journal and even for marking in my Bible! I use them lightly in the Bible since the pages are so thin and they work great. Best part? They are CHEAP!
- This prayer journal is on my wish list. (If you can’t tell, I love florals.) I haven’t tried it yet but I plan to add it to my Christmas list. 😉
- I also occasionally use the Well-Watered Women Give Me Jesus Journal. It’s great for the person who loves structured prompts but it also gives you the freedom to study any verse you choose on a given day!
BONUS TIP: Join a community of fellow believing women and hold each other accountable! Make it a point to send a text, a message or call of encouragement every week and let each other know how your study is going. You may even want to start a plan together so you can discuss what you’re learning!
Of course, NONE of these things are needed for you to dive into the Word of God. Grab any Bible you can find, have a plan and ask God to open your heart. God doesn’t need fun colorful pens and cute journals to work in you. Just remember, even if you struggle, God is faithful to his promises and he hears your heart, even when you can’t hear him. Press into him relentlessly, even when its hard. He will reward your faithfulness!
What are your favorite resources that helped you learn how to read the Bible? Let me know in the comments below!