Reading your Bible is important. So important, that it’s something that you may need to practice. If you’re wondering where to start, we’ve got that covered for you. And, if you’re ready to dig deeper into your Bible, but you aren’t sure where to start, you can keep these steps in your pocket.
Before you dig into God’s Word praying is essential. One of the best promises to cling to in scripture is that God is with us. That means He’s with us as we read our Bibles too! Apart from His Spirit, reading the Bible may be hard. That’s why we should pray. If you need a prayer prompt, here are a couple:
“Lord, I pray that you will quiet the distractions within my heart. Help me to be focused on your Word. Show me yourself in the text. Enable me to live out this text. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
“Lord, I pray that you would help me be focused on you as I read today. Help me to understand your Word and live it out. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Beyond reading the scripture itself, background and contextual clues are important. Sometimes your Bible will have additional information on the author of the text and when it was written. You may also consult a Bible commentary or a study Bible for this information. You may also research questions like:
- Who is the intended audience? (Think Paul’s letters to the Ephesians)
- What themes are you seeing through words that are being repeated?
- Where did this take place?
This is also a good place to write down any questions you may have. You may not understand everything in scripture right away. Sometimes, you will have to wrestle with the hard and confusing parts, and that’s okay.
Now that you have an understanding of what the text says, you want to take what you have learned and try to discover the meaning of the passage. What was the author trying to communicate? What message was God trying to get through the author?
Reading isn’t the end of the study, you’ll want to take some time to apply it. Here are two great questions to ask yourself to understand what is being said in scripture
- What do I learn about God?
- How should I live in response to this?
We must keep in mind that the Bible is a book about God. That is why we have to ask first, “What do I learn about God?” When you do this, you are getting a greater understanding of God’s character which is vital to our walk. Then, we want to ask about us.
“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25
Did you catch that? The Word of God is like a mirror. It exposes the sin within our lives and shows us how we should be more like Christ. If you read a passage about being slow to speak and slow to anger, you can walk away knowing that: God is slow to anger, and He is merciful. Then you can reflect on whether you have been or not.
Events from the previous week may come to mind from when you were not patient and said the first thing that came to mind. Or when you exploded because your child kept asking you the same question over and over again. This will lead you to repent of your sin and ask the Lord to enable you to be slow to speak and slow to anger.
As you continually read and study the Bible, it will become easier to do. Does that mean you will no longer struggle with the hard parts of scripture? No. Remember that you are a lifelong learner. When you study the Bible, you can have joy knowing God is with you!