Reading the Bible: 5 Tips for Beginners

We all know the importance of scripture and how reading it should be a habit in our lives. Maybe you’ve tried several times and given up because you plain didn’t know where to begin! Even for seasoned bible readers sometimes draw a blank on where to go. Opening the Bible can be overwhelming if we don’t have a plan or know what we’re looking for. Here are 5 different strategies that helped me overcome the intimidation

  1. P R A Y. I can’t stress that enough. Remember that daily Bible reading is great – it’s highly recommended. But don’t lose sight of the fact that the purpose of bible reading is relationship with God. Only through prayer can you truly cultivate and maintain a connection with Him. Reading his Word is an important supplement to the relationship, but we don’t read just for the sake of checking a box off a list (that would actually turn this endeavor into something sinful because we would be essentially trying to “work” for our salvation. I’ll write more on that soon!)
  2. Find a good reading plan: There are seriously thousands, (dare I say millions) of reading plans out there: Here, here, here, here, here, and here – to name a few! They focus on topics like forgiveness or relationships, or on whole portions of the Bible like New Testament, or Psalms. Choose a plan that sounds applicable to your life at the moment.  Most good study Bibles will already have a suggested reading plan in the index. For daily use, I have the One Year Bible by Tyndale [1]. If a mobile app is more your style, download YouVersion. You can highlight passages, make notes, find your friends, and create inspirational images out of verses like the one above.
  3. Pick a book, any book! 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. This means any portion of the Word, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, will be beneficial to your walk with God. I have this annoying natural mindset of “all or nothing” which causes me to feel incomplete or unproductive if I do not read every single word from cover to cover. I have to constantly remind myself that through Jesus, God has already given us every tool we need to grow in Him and be holy. You may feel a push to read one certain book that looks interesting. Go for it! He’s not going to revoke my blessing just because I’m struggling to read through the book of Numbers. Which brings me to…
  4. Don’t worry if you can’t get into it right now. This took me a long time to come to terms with. So I’m elbows-deep into Leviticus and getting more confused by the minute. I’m not used to the context, making it hard to relate and even worse, I’m getting bored. Not everything must make sense to you immediately. The holy spirit is the one who gives you understanding and knowledge, a little at a time, and exactly the right amount for you. If you feel like you’re getting nowhere in one particular part, take a break and focus on another part of the Bible.
  5. Engage with it. Your Bible is not a library book so don’t be afraid to mark it up. Every time I read a passage that resounds in my heart, I underline it in pencil. The really big verses I want to remember get highlighted. You can get all kinds of fancy bible markers but any regular colored pencils or ball point pens will do (just don’t push too hard!) I personally love journaling. When I read something I want to remember, I will copy it out in my journal, line for line. I think about what it says about God, myself, the world, and how I can practically apply what I’m learning.

Daily bible reading should be as normal a habit as breathing air or eating bread, and I’m totally guilty of skipping it all too often. It’s not intended to be used sparingly like cake *nonchalantly wipes icing from mouth* Listen to what God says about the need for consistent study of the scripture:

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8.

I hope this helps! If you’re still unsure how to get started, feel free to drop me a line, or if you know an older Christian in your life, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. That’s what the Body of Christ is all about.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Until next time, Molly



[1] God Sightings One Year Bible – Here’s the exact one I have. They also have more up to date ones in NIV or NLT, and a companion guide to go with it, if you like to have the extra help in deciphering meanings and applications.

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