Kickstart your Bible reading in 2015
Overwhelmed by how big the Bible is? These 3 tips will help you find a place to start.
God does not tell us that we need to read the Bible everyday. What he does say is much more fascinating. In Psalm 1 and Joshua 1 God says that we ought to "meditate on the scriptures day and night".
This actually makes getting into our Bibles even more important. It’s not just something we read, it's something we think about. Constantly.
In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said that we can’t live by bread alone but by every word of God.
It’s like a light unto our path, a two-edged sword, a fire, and a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.
I want to be clear that your relationship with God doesn’t rise or fall on your reading habits. Instead, when we realise that God speaks to us through his Word, we should want to read it more!
Having trouble reading the Bible?
I don’t know about you but for me I go through pretty long dry patches where I don’t get to read my Bible all that much.
Most of the time it’s simply because I don’t know where to start. I mean, the book is huge! It’s not always an easy read - no matter what translation you use. Sometimes, I kinda feel lost just opening it.
As I have thought about this over the years, I’ve come up with some practical tips. I think these ideas are more helpful than just blindly pointing to a verse and hoping you “get something out of it”.
1. On your Mark, get set, go!
The book of Mark is my favorite book. If you don’t know where to start reading, start there. In fact, it’s a great place to restart - even if you restart a thousand times.
It contains the stories of Jesus' life and tells them very quickly. No long genealogies and no drawn out narratives. In fact, one of the words you’re going to see a lot in the book of Mark is “immediately”. It's a fast-paced book but with plenty of depth.
It's the sort of book where you can start at any chapter and read a section. You’ll get a story from the life of Jesus and you’ll be refreshed by the reminder of his greatness.
2. Short and Sweet
Yes, the Bible is a huge book. But it’s actually not just a book. It’s a collection of 66 books and writings. Some of those writings are massive! (You ever heard of Isaiah? I’ve been trying to study through that book for years!) But some of these writings are very short.
Since the lengthy portions of scripture can be overwhelming, why not just tackle something short? Like the book of Jude – it’s only one chapter. Or some of the epistles like Galatians, Ephesians Philippians and Colossians. You can read through any of these in half an hour.
Check out the Old Testament too. The minor prophets are all very short. So are the books Daniel, Ecclesiastes, Ruth and Esther. It may give you a sense of completion to read through an entire book. This may motivate you to keep going rather than give up.
3. Google Drill
Sometimes I like to take a topic that’s been on my mind and read what God says about it.
I use a few websites like http://www.bibletopics.com, www.bible-topics.com and Carm.org. I also search for keywords on esvstudybible.org.
Just decide what you’re interested in learning about, search and read. Lately I’ve looked through topics like money, family and marriage. This is a great way to hear the voice of God and increase your knowledge of theology.
The truth is, we have no excuse. We get to hang out and talk with God! It’s something we can’t miss out on.
Don’t worry about how long you read or how much you read - just start reading and seek to hear from God. Hope these tips help you do that.