It may seem overwhelming. Sixty-six books all in one and full of so much rich language. Where do you start and why?
Growing up I never read the Bible. In fact I didn’t know anyone actually did. It seemed ancient. Full of old and confusing stories, and I hadn’t the slightest clue how to read it or why it even mattered. If I’m honest I didn’t really understand what it was and so I didn’t see its place in my life, but as I grew in relationship with the Lord, I began to see the Bible differently.
The Bible is a compilation of 66 books, which share the unified story of God and His plan to restore all people to Himself. It is an instruction manual, a narrative, and a love letter from the Lord. It is a personal guide for our everyday lives, “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for teaching in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is useful for you and me right now, not just on Sundays, not just for people 2000 years ago. Right now in your modern day life in the extraordinary and mundane moments. We are meant to read it and we are meant to write it on our hearts and here’s why: God wants to guide you, He wants to protect you, and He wants you to know Him.
God speaks in a lot of ways, but one of the biggest is through His written Word. It’s everything He’s already said and done!! So if you’re wondering what God thinks about something, go read about it – it’s there! He shares all about what He’s done for you, and what that means for your life. He shares about the kind of life He desires for you to live. He’s spoken. Our job is to open His book and listen.
The Lord is also clear that there is a real enemy out for us, and his goal is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Without the Word of God, we are without the truth and vulnerable to believe the lies the enemy speaks to us every day. God gives us His Word to protect us so that when faith becomes hard, we have something to stand on, a weapon to defend ourselves with (Ephesians 6:17).
God wants a relationship with you and that includes you knowing Him! He wants you to know His story, who He was, is, and will continue to be! He wants you to know who your Creator is – a loving Father who has provided for all your shortcomings, a warrior who fights for you, a friend who never leaves your side. Through powerful imagery, poetic language, and captivating stories, God reveals Himself and there is so much goodness to discover.
Reading the Bible can seem daunting so here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful:
There are so many translations out there, some easier to understand than others. I personally read the ESV and love to explore the NIV as well.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John together are called the Synoptic Gospels and tell the story of Jesus’ time here on earth. Because of their narrative style, they can be easier to read and are full of fascinating stories that tell of the heart of Christianity.
Two is better than one! Find someone who is interested in reading with you or look into joining a Bible study. Having someone to discuss your questions and share your perspectives with can be super helpful, and a lot of fun too (even more so when you do it over coffee)!!
There is immeasurable power in Scripture and it’s waiting for you right on your shelf. Dive into the Word and you’ll find valuable wisdom, deep encouragement, and a God who’s orchestrated all of history to show you His unfailing love for you.