how to read the bible

How to Read The Bible for All It’s worth

Last Updated: July 14, 2021

The Bible is a vast library of divine wisdom. But we will teach you how to read the Bible for all its worth here.

The King James version of The Bible has 788,280 words. That is over seven times longer than the average fantasy novel. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by such a large number. But do you know that in six to fifteen minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in a year?

It sounds incredible, but many have already done it. By swapping one mindless activity (i.e., doom scrolling through Twitter) for focused Bible reading, you can learn how to read the Bible. That is undoubtedly time better spent reading God’s Word and applying it in your life.

If you feel intimidated at the thought of Bible reading, don’t be afraid. You already read and practice Biblical teachings in your own life. Scripture has been part of Christian for centuries through prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary. Bible verses form the core of most cultures, such as the United States of America. 

Why is it Important to Read the Bible?

The Bible is the quintessential bestselling book of all time. It is essential for the human experience because the words within its sprawling pages shed meaning to life’s biggest questions. It’s not just for church leaders and consecrated men and women. Reading the Bible is for everyone.

Every Christian needs to read the Bible. This library of holy wisdom enriches human life in many ways.

It helps us understand God

To read the Bible is to learn God’s message to His people. From the Book of Genesis to Revelation, biblical writers wove divine wisdom with the stories and societal norms of their day. In each verse you read, you will realize God’s will.

God speaks to us through the Bible (Isaiah 48:17-18). When we learn how to read the Bible, we start to understand God’s nature. We realize that God is:

  1. All-Powerful (1 Chronicles 29:11)
  2. All-knowing (Proverbs 16:33)
  3. Selfless (John 3:16)
  4. Patient (2 Peter 3:9)
  5. Merciful (Psalms 86.5)
  6. Just (Acts 10:34-35)

It gives us timeless life lessons

Read the Bible, and you will find infinite nuggets of wisdom. Whether you read the Book of Proverbs or browse the Letters of St. Paul, each book in the Bible teaches us many different lessons you can apply in your life. These include teachings on raising a family, being in a relationship, money management, and many more!

So no, learning how to read the Bible is never a waste of time.

It helps us decide on essential things in life

Whenever you feel stuck and afraid to decide what to do in your life, especially during turmoil, reading the Bible is a consolation and a guide (Psalm 119:105). You learn from the rich stories of biblical characters such as David, Job, Samuel, Daniel, Elijah, Peter, and Paul.

We see how they made mistakes and learn from how they decided their path in life. Think about David’s kingship or Paul’s transformation. Learning how to read the Bible is a worthy endeavor because you see what God wants you to do.

Inspires and consoles us in good times and bad

When you are troubled, seek the wisdom of the Bible. You not only feel comforted at the stories of people who experience the same hardships and worries (Genesis 50:21). But also, you get God’s words of inspiration, timeless exhortations, and invitation to trust His Will (Philippians 4:6-7).

God has a plan for us, so we should not worry about life. Just pray and do good to all His creation (Jeremiah 29:11). 

He would not abandon you nor forsake you (Psalm 55:22). Learn how to read the Bible and find Him in all things. Let yourself be guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Give you peace of mind

Trials and worries are storms in your life. You cannot control everything in your life. Do you face any crises or challenges? What are you afraid of? 

Whatever makes you panic, take faith and surrender them all to God. Open your mind, heart, and soul to Him. Imagine Him calming the storms, “Peace. Be still.”

Help you live more mindfully and wisely

When you learn how to read the Bible, you start to get the gift of serendipity—finding happiness where once it was amiss. You realize that there is more to life than fame and fortune (Luke 12:23). You get less obsessed with taking everything and more open to sharing the blessings God graced you.

By reading the Bible intentionally, you become transformed by the Word of God. You start putting God at the center of your life, and His Word will guide you to use your freedom to live a good, fulfilling life.

Why Do Some People Find it Hard to Read the Bible? 

Because the Bible is a library in book form, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at reading it. Most Christians say that every time they read the Bible, they learn more about God and themselves. But many different excuses make it hard for people to read the Bible consistently. 

These include laziness, lack of motivation and discipline, and poor analytical skills. They feel like they don’t have enough time to digest the Word of God with everything that happens in their life every day. They can also feel disconnected from the Bible because the Bible is written in the context of old civilizations. The language of the Bible can make understanding the words very hard. The King James Bible, in particular, is both the most popular and most challenging version of the Bible to read.

But learning how to read the Bible will make your life more fruitful. Just take it slow, and soon it will be a good habit for you.

The Story of the Bible

Learning how to read the Bible can be challenging. Because it is a vast library of books, the different genres, styles, and contexts of this sacred literature can make your head spin.

But take it slow, and soon you will enjoy the different nuances of the 66 books of the Bible. The Bible contains narratives, poetry, and prose discourse. 

43% of the Bible is narratives. These include Genesis, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, Acts, and the Gospels.

Poetry makes up around 33% of the Bible. Some of these books are Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes

The remaining 24% of the Bible is prose discourse. These are books meant to educate, counsel, and guide you to the laws of God and live with justice amid the status quo. These include  Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Jude.

In learning how to read the Bible, always remember to analyze the text based on their historical, cultural context, then dig deep into the lines to find the timeless wisdom. Do not read things at face value.

How Long does it Take to Read the Bible?

According to the Village of Euxton, Lancashire, England, “It takes just 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible through “at pulpit rate,” and aloud! It takes only 52 hours and 20 minutes to read the Old Testament, and just 18 hours and 20 minutes to read the New Testament.”

This estimated data comes from the idea of reading the Bible from cover to cover in one whole sitting. But you can learn how to read the Bible at your own pace. Connect with the Word of God with the intimacy of committing your time to Him. 

How to Start to Read the Bible for Beginners

Do not delay if you really wanted to start with your walk with God. Here are some ways how to start reading the Bible especially for beginners. 

Create a space for God

God is always watching us. He is waiting for us to commune, to connect with Him, and listen to His message (Matthew 11:28-30).

God wants us to create a space for Him. We need to open our hearts, our minds, and our lives for His presence. We need to humble ourselves and return to God, our Creator, and our Home.

In terms of creating a space for God, we need to respect and honor Him. Reserve a place for him in your daily schedule. Set aside time to listen to God.

The first step to start to read the Bible is to welcome God into your life. Only then will you be able to receive the graces of His Word.

Examine yourself

Next, check your relationship with God (Haggai 1:6-7). How do you deal with Him and all His creation? Are you happy with your life? Do you know where you are going? If you can talk to God right now, what do you want Him to give you?

Check your spiritual well-being by evaluating your relationship with God. Note that this does not mean being religious, going to church every day, or keeping a collection of sainted figurines. 

Instead, this self-examination is about your view of God, of your life, and how you relate with others.

Set aside time to read the Bible

Give time to listen to the Word of God. Commit to a schedule that you can give complete focus for meditation and reflection.

Even as little time as five minutes can create a positive direction so you can face the challenges every day. What matters most is that you spend time seeing God in your life.

Get a Bible you can understand

Learning how to read the entire Bible is already hard enough. Make things more straightforward and doable by using the version of the Bible that you can understand. And keep a dictionary on hand to help you comprehend difficult words.

I especially recommend you use the New International Version (NIV) Bible. This is very popular because it is very comfortable to read and easy to understand.

If you are still a beginner, avoid the King James Version (KJV) or New King James Version (NKJV) Bibles. They are very wordy and difficult to understand due to the old English words used.

Let the Holy Spirit lead you

Lastly, pray for guidance in discerning the Word of God. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come and cleanse your heart. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to the right Bible passages that will help you.

3 Ways to Read the Bible Intentionally

Prayer is the way we can personally interact with the Word of God and let it enrich our souls. Here are the ways to read the Bible intentionally through prayer:

Lectio Divina

Meditate on the Word of God. First, close your eyes and be sensitive to God’s presence. Feel His Spirit within you. Then beg God to open your heart to Him, to His healing presence. 

Now open the Bible. Read the Word of God slowly and prayerfully. Relish each word. Let them speak to you, go deep into your heart, and heal your spirit. 

Afterward, imagine that God is in front of you. Talk to Him honestly. Tell him your worries, your fears, your joys, and your pains. Then take some time to listen to His answer.

End your meditation by noting down the messages you learned in this session. 

Contemplative Prayer

Contemplate the Word of God and enter into the scenes of the Bible. Get creative and imagine the Biblical story with your five senses. Prepare yourself to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell what the characters in the Bible experienced at that time.

As you read the Biblical story (i.e., the Gospels), imagine the place the Biblical writer narrates. Visualize everything from their body language, their conversations, their feelings. Allow yourself to join the story by interacting with the characters. Open your heart, mind, and soul to the nuggets of wisdom they will tell you.

End your contemplative prayer by imagining God embraces you. Thank Him for His graces and ask Him to guide you in your life.

Pray using the Psalms

The Book of Psalms is composed of prayers by people who long for God. The situations in the Psalms are diverse, and you can easily find verses that relate to what you experience in your own life. Praying using the Psalms is an easy but fulfilling way to start how to read the Bible.

Read your chosen psalm slowly. Read them with emotion, ready to pay homage to God and His magnificence. Take note of the verses that console you.

Once you find something that inspires you, pause and relish the Word. Let the Word of God heal you. Afterward, listen to God’s message by closing your eyes and opening your heart to Him.

How to Read the Bible Every Day in a Year 

Now that you know the different ways of intentional Bible reading, I’ll proceed to share with you ten tips on how to read the Bible consistently in one year. Consistent Bible reading will help you make it a lifelong habit. Practice all of these tips, and soon the Bible will be your lifelong friend.

Affirm your commitment through prayer

Start committing to reading the Bible by surrendering yourself to God. Pray to Him, beg for His grace, and ask Him to open your heart to His promptings.

Keep your Bible by your bedside table

Put the Bible near your bed, preferably inside a Bible cover, so you can reach for it whenever you need God’s Word to guide you.

You can use biblical verses in your evening and morning prayers. Here you need to set a physical reminder of your commitment to learning how to read the Bible.

Listen to inspirational music

To keep yourself in the mood and open to God’s presence, listen to the music inspired by the Bible. Gospel songs, worship songs, and solemn hymns will help set the vibe for a prayerful session.

Set aside a specific time for Bible reading

Make a consistent schedule to listen, reflect and meditate upon the Word of God. By staying committed to that time of Bible reading, you are on the path to making it a worthwhile habit.

Choose a Bible reading plan 

You don’t have to read the Bible from cover to cover. There are several Bible reading plans – just do your research to find the right one for you.

Here are some of the most popular Bible reading plans:

  • Cover to Cover. Read the Bible from the start of Genesis to the last word in Revelation.
  • Chronological. Here, you do some research to read the books of the Bible, according to how these events happened in history.
  • Historical. Here, the “historical” refers to the timeline of the writing of the books. Again, this needs quite a bit of research. 
  • Daily Mass Readings. This Bible reading plan is the easiest since you can use the selections from the liturgy of the mass. This plan involves reflecting upon a passage from both the Old Testament and New Testament.

Find a place 

To make sure that you can learn how to read the Bible intentionally, choose a reading place where you can concentrate on the Word of God. Break free from distractions and focus on the messages from the Scriptures.

Journal your reflections of biblical verses daily

Reflect upon the lessons of the Bible. Make your Bible journal a diary to God. Write Him all your cares and your realizations of His Word.

Find an accountability partner

To make sure that you will push through with your commitment, find a reading partner. This could be your friend, family member, or church colleague.

If you want to learn how to read the Bible in one year, you need to keep yourself accountable. Engage with another person in your pursuit of eternal wisdom. Doing it this way will bear more fruit than you think.

Use missals and religious resources 

Understand the Bible deeper by digging deep into the contexts of the Biblical writers. Learn about the different metaphors and meanings of biblical life through history books, theology books, and catechetical books.

To keep yourself engaged in your Bible reading plan, missals and religious calendar guides help show you the Bible verses used in the mass, such as those in the 1st Reading, 2nd Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel.

Take things slow but consistent

My final tip in this guide on learning how to read the Bible is to take this slow but consistent. Read at your own pace. Relish the Word of God. 

Do not worry about word counts. Focus on loving your time with God. Read the Bible at a consistent time until it becomes a habit.

In Summary

The Bible is one of the best books you can ever commit to reading for one year. After all, it’s not just one book, but a library of wisdom passed down through the ages. It is written by men with the inspiration of God.

Learning how to read the Bible might seem daunting. But if you take it slow but consistent and give God space in your life, your life will be richer, more meaningful, and more peaceful.

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