Have you ever wanted to read the Bible from cover to cover? Have you tried it before and weren’t successful? Or maybe you’re not sure where, when, or how to start? Here are some tips to help you successfully read the whole Bible this year:
A Study Bible
Do you ever come across passages in the Bible you don’t understand? This can be a barrier to consistent reading as you either stop in your tracks to research the meaning of the text or pass over it. In my experience, reading from a study bible can significantly improve your reading consistency.
Quite often, the study notes provide the insight needed to understand difficult passages while keeping the momentum in your bible. Because there are many study bibles out there, reaching out to your pastor for recommendations can be helpful. The MacArthur Study Bible and The Ryrie Study Bible are a couple good ones to begin your search.
The Bible is a big book arranged in a non-chronological fashion. It can be difficult to grasp the overall story when reading from cover to cover.
To gain an understanding of the overall account, consider picking up “The Story – The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People”. This neat resource arranges selected excerpts of the Bible in chronological order. The texts were chosen to retain the overall flow of the narrative, so that when you read this story, you will get a sense of the “big picture” of the Bible. This can be a great base to build off.
The Bible Project
Are you a visual learner? If so, click here to visit a website that is for you! The Bible Project team has created high quality animated videos on books & themes of the Bible. Their “Read Scripture” series is particularly useful in private reading because it explains the text verse by verse in a visual way. They even have an app for your phone that provides a daily Bible reading plan complete with animated videos, customized reminder notifications, and more. It's really cool!
When I start reading a new book of the Bible, I like to watch the corresponding videos to gain perspective before I dive in. This practice might be helpful for you too.
Bible Reading Plan
Having a plan in place can save you from “bible reading roulette”. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you randomly pick a verse to read then struggle figuring out how it applies to your life. This can result in some funny stories but reading Scripture in context might be a better idea.
There are a million different bible-reading plans you can print off the internet but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Ask around for recommendations or consider trying the bible-reading app mentioned above. You could also read alongside thousands through The Bible Project’s “Read the Bible in One Year” weekly email.
Finally, if you are picking up a bible for the first time, I’d encourage you to keep it simple. This resource will help you develop a daily seven-minute routine with God.
Have you ever heard “shared joy is a double joy and shared sorrow is half a sorrow”? This phrase reminds us life is better in community than in isolation. Consider asking a close friend if they would like to be your “Bible Reading Buddy”. You can each agree on a bible-reading plan and then keep each other accountable to the reading. This can be even more effective and fruitful when you and your buddy make time each week to discuss what you are reading in person or over the phone.
Best of luck!
“Your word is lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Joshua 1:8