10 Tips to help you read the Bible
… they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day…” Acts 17:11 NIV
If you want to get to know God better, you have to know who He is, simple. The most straightforward way to do this is to read the Bible. More than a history book or ‘guide to life’, the Bible is God’s Word, which He has given to us so that we can clearly hear His voice today.
By reading the Bible every day, we can grow in our knowledge and experience of God and our understanding of who we are too. However, it’s not alw ays easy to read the Bible, sometimes there’s no space, no time and you don’t know where to begin. So here are our ten top tips to help you read the Bible and engage with God through His Word.
10 Tips for effective Bible reading
1.Get a version of the Bible you can understand easily –
“Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.” 1 Cor 14:10-11 NIV
Today, the Bible is available in many different versions and translations, for example, the New International Version (NIV) is used for the scripture references in this blog. Whether you are a new believer or have followed Jesus for many years, finding a Bible one (or more than one) in a language and style you can easily absorb and get to grips with is one barrier out of the way. You may prefer a digital copy over a printed one – or even both. You can freely read online versions at www.biblegateway.com or browse many printed ones to buy at www.eden.co.uk
2. Find a space where you can focus –
“… Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
A bench in a park, under a tree on a hill, on the beach, in your favourite chair, hidden under your duvet or even locked in the bathroom for five minutes to get away from the kids – finding a quiet and undisturbed (ideally!) place to give all your attention to reading will help you take on board what’s on the page.
3.Find a time that works for you –
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up … and … prayed." Mark 1:35 NIV
Set aside a regular time of day to read the Bible. Make it a priority part of your daily routine – however long you are able to devote to it. If you can, make more than one slot in your diary available each day - and keep the ‘conversation’ with God ongoing. Write it in your planner – and set yourself a reminder, or alarm, if you can.
4. Pray for God's help –
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV
Thankfully, we don’t have to do this alone. God knows we need His help, which is why He sent His Holy Spirit to help us. All we have to do is ask – so, before you read, pray. Ask God to protect the time from distractions and disturbances, and to reveal to you something from what you’re about to read.
5. Give something up to do it –
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV
Finding space in a busy life is a real challenge, but with great challenge comes great reward. Sacrifice is a central theme of the Christian faith and part of God’s character. Jesus gave His life so that we can spend eternity with Him. Giving up part of our day to spend time getting to know Him and building an intentional relationship with Him seems like the least we can do…
6. Use Bible notes to help you –
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27 NIV
However long you may have followed Jesus for and however well you may know Him, He has given people different experiences and insights into who He is. Plus, there are many parts of the Bible that need their context explaining, so it’s useful if someone else has done that for you. It also helps to have a plan to work to and follow each day. That’s why we produce Fresh from The Word [linkto: https://www.ibraglobal.org/fresh-from-the-word/2021-bible-study-notes/] – daily Bible reading notes to guide your reading and exploration of God’s Word. You can find out more here
7. Read with a friend –
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour.” Eccl 4:9-12 NIV
It’s often easier to keep going if you have someone cheering you on! Or even checking up on you… Reading together, even if you’re not actually reading at the same time but are catching up each day or so to see how you’re getting on is a great way to enjoy reading the Bible. It’s uplifting to be encouraged and to encourage someone else too! Check out our special offer to read Fresh from The Word 2021 with a friend
8. Don’t read more than you can take in –
“With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.” Mark 4:34 NIV
Some days you’ll get deep into studying what the Bible says, other days it’s just as important to simply read it. Whether it’s one phrase, one verse or an entire chapter, only read as much as you can before your mind starts drifting. Quality time with God is most important.
9. Respond to what you’ve read –
“… you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:6 NIV
Hearing what God has to say usually has an impact on us. Act on it! If you’re reading something and it’s spurring you on to do something, then respond! God wants us to be more and more like Him, and reading the Bible inspires us. Opening up the Bible is like opening up a conversation with God and once you get started, hopefully you won’t want to stop – by responding to what He’s saying to you will want you coming back for more, every day.
10. Share what you've learned with others –
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…” Col 3:16 NIV
If you like what you are reading, are challenged by it, or even don’t like it (!) – discuss it with others. Ask questions to help you understand what you’re reading, share what you’ve learned, and you’ll likely want to keep turning the pages day after day to increase your knowledge and understanding of who God is, and who He is to you.
We’ve turned these ‘10 Tips to help you read the Bible’ into a handy little resource to help you each day. - Print them off, fold them in half and use them as a bookmark, stick them on your fridge – keep them somewhere as a reminder to read God’s Word every day and let Him speak to you.
Know anyone who might need help reading the Bible? Send them a link to this blog.
Want to go deeper into the Bible? Keep going! It’s often just as hard to keep going at something as it was to start it. If you need some ideas to help you persevere, and keep going with your daily Bible reading then read our blog ‘5 ways to ensure you stick to your Bible reading plan’
Fresh from The Word 2021 – Bible reading notes
If you want to go deeper with God and have a new insight each day, with a reading plan to follow – try our Bible notes, Fresh from the Word 2021 and become part of an international community of readers, all experience God’s Word together.
Kickstart your Bible reading in 2021!
If you’re looking for something new in January 2021, then sign up to our New Year’s Bible Reading Devotional – ‘Moving forward, moving together’! Purposed to help you get closer to God and others, we’ll send you inspiring Bible readings, prayers and thoughts about God to contemplate on – straight to your inbox!
Join us on this exciting journey from with an email each day from 4 – 31 January – Sign up here today!