If reading the Bible is something you’re new to doing, or haven’t really done in a long time, it can be quite daunting to suddenly jump back in.
Where do you start? How do you study? When is the best time to read it? How do you understand everything that is going on? There are a lot of questions and factors to consider.
As scary and even overwhelming as it may be to read the Bible, here at Daily Kairos we want to encourage, empower, and equip you with all the tools and resources you need to start reading the Bible in an approachable way.
The end of reading, learning, and studying is the gaining, growing, and grasping of the nature and character of God. The means of which can really only be obtained through the reading of Scripture.
And so, we’ve compiled an introductory list of 5 Tips to Start Reading The Bible. We hope this list will fill your heart with hope and your hands with tangible tools to start diving into God’s Word!
1. Pick a Bible translation that you like
A quick Google search of Bible translations will show you how very many versions and translations of the Bible there are. However, not just any translation may be the right one for you.
We recommend starting with the English Standard Version (ESV), Christian Standard Bible (CSB), New King James Version (NKJV) or the the New Living Translation (NLT). These versions, while translated closely to word-for-word versions, also allow for easy english understanding of passages and ancient language texts.
2. Have paper and pen, or preferably a journal, to accompany your reading
We’re not just saying this because we always have our Kairos Journal with us when studying the Bible. You totally don't need a Kairos Journal to follow this step (but it's a plus!).
We just know how important it is to have a space to write out your thoughts, questions, prayers or anything else that may come up while you’re reading your Bible.
However, we did design our Kairos Journal with exactly this in mind: helping people dive deeper into their daily relationship with God. So we certainly encourage you to use one as you develop the practice of reading your Bible!
3. Pick a book of the Bible you’d like to read first
We recommend starting with the Gospels, and/or the Psalms, but this choice is completely up to you!
The Gospels are a wonderful place to start because you read about the birth, life, miracles, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Gospels contain the crux of our Christian faith, and studying them is truly life-changing and life-giving.
The Psalms are a wonderful addition, like reading a Psalm a day to accompany your Gospel reading, to deepen your faith and your prayer life.
Whatever book you choose to start reading, start from the beginning and read it all the way through to the end. It can be tempting to just read certain chapters and then move on to another book, or to hop around to different books based on a topic you want to study, but we recommend sticking to one book and reading/studying it out all the way through. We believe you’ll gain so much more depth in this way, instead of just skimming the top of certain passages and parts of the bible.
4. Use the CIA method for study
The CIA method stands for Comprehension, Interpretation, Application. If it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, we promise it’s not!
When you read your text for the day, simply ask yourself, “What is this saying?” That’s the comprehension. You’re just understanding what is going on.
Next you’ll ask yourself, “What does this mean?” It can be the meaning for the intended audience and for you. That’s the Interpretation.
Last, ask yourself, “How does this change me?” If you held to what you’ve just read, how should it change your life? That’s application.
Voila! You’ve just studied scripture.
Finally and most importantly, pray over your reading time. You can pray at the beginning or at the end, or both! But it is imperative that you pray.
Pastor and theologian Timothy Keller wrote in his book Prayer:
“Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change...Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.” (pg 18)
We hope these 5 tips will help you as you start to read the Bible again or maybe even for the first time.
We hope you’ll grow to experience the beauty of consistent relationship with the Father. If you'd like a tool to help you grow deeper as you read the Bible, you can learn more about our Kairos Journals here!
And always remember the words of James in chapter 4 verse 8: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”