This topic is adapted from the Jefferson Bethke YouTube channel.
If you are a Christian, then you know reading the Bible is important, but it is hard. Here are a few tips to help you read the Bible.
The Bible Is a Library of Books, Not One Book
The Bible isn’t one book, but it is a collection of books. In fact, it’s a collection of sixty-six books, written by about forty different authors over a span of a couple thousand years. And the books of the Bible aren’t all written in the same style: some books are poetry, some of them tell the history of God’s people, some are books of wisdom, some are biographies, and some of them are ancient letters. You may not realize this, but when you read the Bible, you are actually reading other people’s mail.
Appreciate the diversity of the Bible. Understand that the Bible was written over many different periods of history, in many different cultures, through many different people. Yet all of the Bible points people to Jesus Christ.
Get a Journal, Get a Pen, and Make Some Time
In order to start reading the Bible, you have to make time to read the Bible. Start small. Take five minutes or ten minutes to read the Bible. You don’t have to set aside a couple of hours. Find a quiet place where you can focus on God and what he is teaching you.
Be sure to have a journal. We remember a lot more when we write stuff down. Journal your thoughts, prayers, and questions. When you keep a journal, you can go back and read your entries from the past, and see how you have grown in your relationship with God.
Everyone’s busy, but whatever you prioritize in your life you will make time for. Make time for the Bible.
Remember the Bible Is a Window, Not a Wall
The Bible is not the end goal. The point of reading the Bible isn’t to just fill your head with a lot of information. The point of the Bible is to get in touch with a person, Jesus.
John 5:39 (NIV) You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.
Jesus is saying that reading the Bible isn’t about just memorizing verses or becoming a really religious person. The point of the Bible is to get to know Jesus. It’s about getting close to Jesus and worshiping him.
The Bible is a window, not a wall. Think about a wall. You just stare at a wall. There is nothing to see past the wall. But a window you stare through. When you are driving you don’t focus on the windshield, you look through it. You look and see what is on the other side of it.
The same is true with the Bible. We look through the Bible looking to see Jesus and to develop a relationship with him. When you read the Bible, you can connect to God.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What makes reading the Bible hard?
- Why is it helpful to understand that the Bible is a collection of different books, letters, and poems? Do you read a letter or a text the same way you read song lyrics? Why or why not?
- How can using a journal help your Bible reading?
- Read John 5:39. How were the people Jesus is talking to in this verse reading their Bibles in the wrong way?
- “Whatever you prioritize in your life, you will make time for.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.