Biblical Encouragement

How to Start Reading the Bible For the First Time

NKJV of the Bible
Image credit: – Yuri A /

I remember when I first began to read the Bible. I felt overwhelmed, confused, and a little scared. I wondered how I would ever start to understand or even memorize the Scripture.

I know I am not alone here. Starting to read the Bible can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. Just the sheer size is incredibly intimidating, but slowly and surely, I persevered. I’m still not there yet, but with a few practical tips and a little guidance, I found that the Bible is incredibly enriching. And nowadays, thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of free apps for anyone to begin their Bible reading and spiritual path.

Here are some steps to help you:

Choose the Right Translation

The Bible has been translated into many languages and versions, each with its own style and readability. For beginners, it’s crucial to pick a translation that is both accurate and easy to understand. Popular choices include the New International Version (NIV), the New Living Translation (NLT), and the English Standard Version (ESV). These versions strike a good balance between readability and faithfulness to the original texts.

Start with the Right Books

Diving straight into Genesis and reading through to Revelation is not always the best approach for beginners. Instead, consider starting with more accessible books. The Gospel of John is a great starting point as it provides a comprehensive overview of Jesus’ life and teachings. The Psalms, with their poetic and relatable expressions of human emotion, and Proverbs, with its practical wisdom, are also excellent choices.

Set Realistic Goals

Approaching the Bible with the expectation to read a set number of chapters or books in a day can be daunting and may lead to burnout. Instead, set realistic goals. Start with a few verses or a chapter a day. This not only makes the process manageable but also allows you to absorb and reflect on the content.

Use a Study Guide or Devotional

A study guide or a devotional can provide structure and context to your reading. Many Bibles come with built-in study notes, or you can find numerous resources online and in bookstores. Devotionals often provide daily readings along with interpretations and reflections that can deepen your understanding.

Reflect and Pray

Reading the Bible is not just an intellectual exercise; it is also a spiritual practice. Take time to reflect on what you read. Ask yourself how the passages apply to your life. Pray for understanding and guidance. This meditative approach can help internalize the lessons and insights from the scriptures.

Join a Bible Study Group

Studying the Bible in community can be incredibly beneficial. Joining a Bible study group allows you to share insights, ask questions, and gain different perspectives. It also provides accountability and support, which can be motivating and encouraging as you navigate through the scriptures.

Take Notes

Jotting down your thoughts, questions, and insights as you read can be very helpful. This practice not only aids memory but also allows you to track your spiritual growth over time. You might find that passages take on new meanings as you revisit your notes.

Be Patient with Yourself

Understanding the Bible is a lifelong journey. Some passages may be confusing or challenging, and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t grasp everything immediately. Give yourself grace and time to grow in your understanding.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are numerous apps and online resources designed to help with Bible study. Apps like YouVersion offer various translations and reading plans, and websites like Bible Gateway provide commentaries and other study tools. These can be invaluable for deepening your study and making the Bible more accessible.

Incorporate What You Learn into Daily Life

The ultimate goal of reading the Bible is to transform your life. Try to apply the lessons and insights you gain to your daily activities and interactions. Whether it’s practicing patience, showing kindness, or seeking justice, let the scriptures guide your actions.

Explore Different Genres within the Bible

The Bible contains various literary genres, including history, poetry, prophecy, and letters. Exploring these different styles can make your reading experience more engaging. Recognizing the genre of a particular book can also aid in understanding its context and message.

Seek Guidance from Experienced Readers

Don’t hesitate to reach out to pastors, mentors, or friends who have been reading the Bible for a longer time. Their experiences and insights can provide valuable guidance and support. They can help clarify confusing passages and offer practical advice on how to approach your study.

Starting to read the Bible for the first time is an exciting journey that can profoundly impact your life. By choosing the right translation, setting realistic goals, using study aids, reflecting, and seeking community, you’ll find that the Bible becomes more than just a book – it becomes a source of wisdom, comfort, and inspiration. Remember to be patient and persistent, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of discovery and growth.

Susan Komo Bio Image
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Susan is a mother of four beautiful babies and a born-again Christian. She took over Hope No Matter What in 2024 and enjoys sharing her knowledge of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Her passion is to bring hope and encouragement to others, and she prays that by sharing her knowledge and personal story, she can inspire others to find enlightenment in God's word.