The Bible can be intimidating when deciding on what to read and how you will do it. There are so many books and so many things to be learned. I have used many techniques to help me maximize my quiet time and I thought I would share them with you all to give you some ideas of how you could read your own Bible. If I’m being real, this is an area I have struggled with for a while, trying to figure out what works best for me, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you don’t know exactly what you’re doing right away! There is a lot of trial and error..
I use a journaling bible that I got from Lifeway Christian Stores in the ESV (english standard version) translation. If you enjoy drawing or calligraphy I would very much recommend a journaling bible because they give you space to draw or write in the margins which is super cool. Even if you’re not big into drawing and what not, getting a bible with margins is beneficial so you can write notes directly in the text that you can refer back to. I have found that ESV has been very easy for me to comprehend and read so it is a personal decision on what translation works best for each person. But a lot of my friends have NIV and they like it a lot!
I will first begin in how I am currently going through scripture (which I just started like a couple weeks ago so its super recent). I am going through 1 Corinthians and taking it a couple chapters at a time. So I would read between 2-3 chapters, depending on how long they were, and just kind of sit and think on it. I would underline or journal out in the margins something that stuck out to me so I could find it later. I also have a study bible that I use as well as my regular bible. A study bible just has commentary in the lower halves of the pages about almost every verse. Suuuuuuper helpful. I will reference this every time I don’t understand a verse or just want to know if my perception of a certain verse is similar to what the study bible says. I also started to write down scripture in my notebook that falls into different topics that I might want to reference in the future. For example, one of my topics is “our renewal” and I would write down verses that talk about the renewal of sinners to Christ; like 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God”. Some other topics I have written down are “belonging to him”, “temptation”, and “truly living for him”.
In the past I have used a method that I got from Ben Stuart, a well-known pastor. He suggested that when reading scripture, you could write out the passage you were reading and while you were writing out the verse, also write out your thoughts and comments after it so it is kind of like you are having a conversation with scripture. I used this technique and even incorporated my study bible into it. After each verse, I read what the study bible had to say and if it was something significant, I would write it after the verse in a another color. So I wrote out the scripture along with commentaries from the study bible in one color and my thoughts in another color. Then I just reread what I wrote and sat and prayed on it. I did this in 1-2 chapter segments when I was going through Psalms.
There are tons of different ways to read scripture so its just the matter of what works best for you! And your methods may change throughout your growth as a Christ-follower and that is ok! I change my mind quite a bit. I would also encourage you to seek out friends or mentors to see how they bible study and get tips from them if you are still not confident in reading the Bible, which is totally fine! Again, I struggled with this for a looooong time, you’re not alone! I hope this helped!! 🙂
Lord, I pray that we will come to your Word with a hunger to discover more of You. I pray against the fears of thinking that the Bible is too much for ordinary people like me to comprehend and receive guidance from. You gave us your Word so that we might know You all the more and know how we should live our life that most glorifies Your name. I pray you give a new found confidence to everyone who feels intimidated by scripture and don’t know how to begin. In Jesus name,