Did you make a New Year’s resolution to start reading the Bible more regularly?
It’s mid-January and now is about the time many of us start to lose steam.
I want to encourage you to hang in there! Even if you missed a few days.
Many times, all that’s needed (besides commitment), are a fresh look and some practical tools. Well, you’re in luck! Below is an article that I hope helps you stay the course with your Bible reading goals. But first, let’s discuss the elephant in the room.
Why is it so hard to read the Bible?
I mean, most of us really want to —yet we don’t keep a consistent reading plan. And when we do open it, we’re sort of lost. Allowing the pages of the big book to fall open randomly, we search for a morsel of something useful, reducing God’s Word to something like a fortune from a Chinese cookie.
Or perhaps we may know some familiar scriptures extracted from memory in times of need that we sprinkle like fairy dust in hopes of a changed situation. Psalms and Proverbs are great for that. But deep inside, we yearn. Surely it’s supposed to be different than this.
Wherever you are at in your journey with the Lord, a fresh look at what the scriptures truly are can help.
If we’re going to get anything out of Bible study, we must throw away our misconceptions and preconceived notions. Be open to learning what the Bible is really about. Are you ready?
What the Bible is NOT
A rule book
Mythical fairy tales
Complex book of cryptic prophesies
Two separate stories: the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus and the church in the New Testament
What the Bible IS
A story about God, life, and His people
We must approach the Bible as a story—a true story in which we are a part of, and hasn’t ended yet. However, if we attempt to read the Bible as a typical story, we may likely become confused and frustrated.
“The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece of the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.” Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible
Something to remember before reading the Bible is to ask God to help. He wants for us to draw close and gain understanding.
Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box
Here’s a convenient PDF of The Tool Box. Just click and print! Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box.
A Good place to begin is by getting familiar with the Bible. Here’s how:
Once we embrace that fact that the Bible is God’s story, it helps to get our bearings. What I mean is the “setting” —WHERE the many stories from the Bible take place. Before diving into reading, it may help to take a look a map to see just where these events take place.
Another helpful tool is a timeline. You know, like back in school when studying ancient history and the prehistoric eras? I’ve included some websites I find highly useful below.
Maps And Timelines
From Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?oe=UTF8&msa=0&ie=UTF8&mid=1uR5a0eI379UMHAtfhCjiJcJIlYQ
Overview of the Bible Reading Plan
2.Chronological Reading Plan
I know many people who have read through the Bible in one year. Perhaps you’ve started this program. My husband and I have done this together. It was great to finally read the entire Bible. But you know what? There were still things that confused me. Once major hurdle for me was that if one sets out to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it is not in order. I finally found a one year plan that put the Bible in order of events how they occurred.
Although the Bible is not in chronological order, this plan is an outline of how to read that way.
3. Bible Studies.
Nothing takes the place of reading the Bible on its own. However, you may find a study useful to help bring more understanding.Here are a few studies I recommend for beginners or even the seasoned Christian.
Seamless: Understanding the Bible as one Complete Story by Angie Smith
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby
4.Online Resources and Commentaries
I recommend reading through passages and meditating on what the Holy Spirit reveals before anything else. Once you’ve done this, looking to those who have dedicated their education to theology is quite helpful. There are many great resources out there, especially with the convenience of the internet. Below are a few of my favorite.
(@BibleGateway & @BibleGatewayApp) is your rich social and personal connection to freely read, research, and reference Scripture on your desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone . . . anywhere; in more than 200 versions and more than 70 languages! Its simple yet advanced searching capabilities allow you to quickly find and compare particular passages in multiple Bible translations based on the keywords, phrases, topics, or Scripture references you have in mind. You’ll be inspired and encouraged – whether reading with your eyes or your ears (audio Bibles) – as you rely on Bible Gateway for all your Bible reading needs.
Blue Letter Bible
Our mission is to facilitate in-depth study of God’s Word through an on-line interactive reference library continuously updated from the teachings and commentaries of selected pastors and teacher who hold to the conservative, historical Christian faith.
Search, read, and study the Bible in many languages.
5. Bible Study Apps
Here’s a link to The Top Ten Apps