The first time I opened a Bible to read it was when I gave my life to Christ in high school, and two of my friends gave me a shiny black Bible to help me grow in my Christian life. I was so excited. That was until I opened the gold-rimmed pages and the words made absolutely NO sense to me. It was like the words were of a different language. I closed the book and placed it on a shelf where it stayed for years. That Bible still holds a special place in my heart and has had a home on my bookshelves over the years, but I never opened it to learn again. My Christian life didn’t grow and fell apart.
I didn’t open a Bible to read for many years; my life choices reflected my lack of faith. A fellow little league mom asked me to participate in a Bible Study, and I accepted. I hadn’t been involved in a study before because I didn’t feel I was smart enough to understand the words. This invitation was at a time when I was seeking God again. I wanted to know more.
When I went to my friend’s house, we sat on her front porch, and she opened her Bible. I didn’t have one. She asked if I had a Bible at home I told her yes but didn’t share that I didn’t understand the words. She shared her Bible as she read the first chapter of John. My ears tingled with the words she read. I understood them. I could get this. Why was it so understandable?
My fear of sounding dumb stopped me from asking her questions about her Bible. I knew I wanted one like hers. It took me a while to purchase one. Again the fear of appearing dumb stopped me from finding out what Bible she owned. Finally, I went online and found Bibles. There were so many different versions of the Bible. Who knew? I scrolled through the Versions and found one that I could read and understand.
Once the bible arrived, I had no clue where to start. A few days, a few weeks went by, and fear kept me from beginning. Then I made a decision. There can’t be a wrong way to read the Bible, can it? So I opened the pages. I began with the New Testament, only because the Old Testament scared me. Too much hail and brimstone teachings from my past created that fear.
My world was rocked once I began to read. I dove into those words eating them like a seven-course meal. I didn’t understand it all, but I was learning about Jesus. Who He is. What He does. And how much He loves me.
How can you begin to read the Bible?
- Pray first: Asking God to lead us where He wants us to read is a beautiful place to start.
- Read a version of the Bible you understand: There are many versions. I don’t believe there is a wrong version to read. Over time you may find you want to read a different version. To find the version you may like Google scripture and click on a website that offers Bible readings of scripture where you can choose different versions. There are many of these also. One that I use often is biblegateway.com. There are others but this one I like.
- Purchase a Bible and Open the Bible: Some people like the digital version of the Bible but I am a paper person. I like to highlight scripture, words, ideas. I love to write in the margins (you will not be struck by lightning when you do this). Yes, you can write in your Bible.
- Start at the beginning of a book: There are no rules on where to start but start at the beginning of a book, i.e., Matthew, Ephesians, Philippians, etc. and work your way through.
- Set a timer and read for that time: Start with 10 minutes. Then work your way up over time. It is important to read, not a set time, but just getting into the words of the Bible.
What keeps you from reading the Bible? Do you have a version of the Bible that is easy for you to read? Where are you going to start?
Make God’s Word a priority in your faith life. It makes a difference today and always.