"The daily habit of spending personal time in God's word is crucial in the life of the Christian."

Even though we know that reading the Bible is crucially important, the problem is that reading the Bible can be overwhelming and sometimes really difficult to understand. To help overcome those barriers, we have created a list of seven tips and encouragements to assist in your personal reading of God's word.

  1. Approach is key. Like many things in life, the perspective and position we take often indicates our outcome. It is no different with our time in God's word. This is why it is of the utmost importance to approach God's word with the right mindset. Our mindset when opening God's word should be one of wonder, curiosity, worship, and humility. We should set all assumptions and biases at the door and ask God to reveal to us where we are wrong and where we need to learn more of His presence, power, truth, and grace.
  2. Don't move too quickly. It is a common mistake to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to reading the Bible. Rather than channeling your excitement to read as much of the Bible as possible, channel it to retain as much of what you read as possible. Spend your energy rereading, studying, questioning, and meditating on one specific area of God's word. You will be surprised at how much you will learn and continue to remember even days after reading.
  3. Search for context. One danger of reading the Bible today is taking its words out of their proper context. Every book within the Bible was written at a specific time to a specific audience for a specific purpose. Additionally, every verse was written within the context of a bigger argument. SO, here are some best practices to helping you read your Bible with its context in mind.
    1. Always ask: "what was God communicating at the time this was written?" AND "How should I respond to that truth today?"
    2. Have 20/20 vision. If you are unsure of the particular meaning of a verse, read the 20 verses before and after it. Once you have done so, ask how that particular verse fits within the surrounding verses. It may also help to read the entire chapter (or sometimes letter) to understand the full argument of the author.
  4. Search for key words/phrases. What is repeated is important. Take note of key words and phrases throughout the sections you examine. These repeated phrases or words will often indicate what the author is emphasizing. You may even want to do a quick word search using the tools at the back of your Bible to see how those themes are involved in the Bible as a whole.
  5. Search for references to other scriptures. Most Bibles have notes on either the side or bottom of the page with references to other passages within the Bible. If your interest is peaked enough, look through those referenced scriptures using the same principles listed here and see how the different passages connect to each other. You may be surprised to learn how much the narrative of the Bible is intertwined with itself.
  6. Don't do it alone. We are not called to live the Christian life in isolation, so why would this aspect of our faith be an exception? Having a community around us can help us on two major fronts when it comes to our time in the Word.
    1. Reading the Bible in community can help us to stay accountable and not get behind in our goals. Try studying through a book of the Bible with a partner that can check in on your progress. The YouVersion Bible App is a great resource to help you do this.
    2. Reading the Bible in community can also help us understand the texts with which we are having trouble. God designed the church to be an environment for us to learn from the Spirit's work in each other's lives. Don't discount the benefit of bringing your questions to a trusted community of faith.
  7. Pray. Last, but certainly not least, pray. Pray before you read, as you read, and after you read. All truth and wisdom comes from God alone, therefore it should always be our priority to ask God to grant us the grace to learn more of His truth through His word every time we open it.
Other helpful resources:
Sermons on Bible Reading: