“Where do I start?” is probably the most common question asked by people starting out reading the Bible.
I remember my first attempts when I was a young man. I started at the beginning, but didn’t get too far, losing interest by the time I got to Leviticus, a book full of ancient laws.
Later, when I began developing a personal relationship with Jesus, I discovered that I was better able to understand what I was reading. Paul tells us, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”1 Once you personally know the “author,” the book becomes a lot more interesting.
I enjoy reading through the book of Psalms quite frequently. These are often actual prayers and can help us to verbalize our own requests. A psalm may start out in anguish and despair, but it usually ends in praise and thanksgiving. There are 150 psalms, and if you read five a day, you’ll get through the book in a month. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, which makes reading one per day for a month convenient.
The Gospels are always a joy to read and are easy to get through. I go through them a few times a year and find they’re the best for helping me to stay close to Jesus and keep my life in check.
Another tip is to ask God to help you understand what He wants you to learn from your reading. I often claim the verse “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”2 When I come to a passage I don’t understand, I research it further or put it on the shelf of faith and leave it for another time.
You never go wrong reading the Bible. It is food for your soul and will give you strength for life’s battles.
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Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by seeing a tall beacon light or some mountain peak coming into view, so Scripture may guide those adrift on the sea of life back into the harbor of the divine will.―Gregory of Nyssa (335–394)