Video courtesy of THE BEAT by Allen Parr

Sitting on Jane’s shelf collecting dust was a book that over 3 billion people consider sacred – the Bible. While she had opened it a few times out of curiosity, she’d always felt intimidated and lost when trying to understand its pages.

But recently, she had a change of heart. After going through a difficult period in her marriage, she found herself yearning for the wisdom, comfort, and guidance that so many have found in the Bible’s teachings.

She decided it was finally time to unravel this ancient masterpiece. But she wondered, where should I start? How could she overcome the confusion and skepticism that had always held her back?

I’m happy to say that the journey Jane embarked on not only answered her questions but transformed her life. Her marriage was restored and she is now enjoying her life as a young mother of three.

What changed her life? She decided to start reading the Bible every day, meditating and acting on the instructions she found in scripture.

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

And today, I want to share with you 5 simple steps that helped Jane unlock the Bible for the very first time.

Why Read The Bible?

Bible Verses About The Power

Before jumping into the “how”, it’s important to examine the benefits of reading and understanding the Bible:

  • Deepen your spiritual life: Connecting with God, finding inspiration, receiving comfort and encouragement – a journey through the Bible can profoundly shape your relationship with God. Psalm 119:105  (NIV) states: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
  • Gain moral guidance: The Bible dispels wisdom for living a meaningful life – from cultivating virtues to pursuing justice to embodying love. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT) explains: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
  • Appreciate historical contexts: The Bible recounts the story of pivotal historical events and figures while reflecting the cultures of the past. This shines a light on the origins of many aspects of modern civilization.
  • Overcome life’s challenges: During difficult times, the Bible’s messages of hope, courage, and perseverance take on special resonance and provide a compass for weathering life’s storms.

Step 1: Choose a Translation

Translations Of The Bible

With so many Bible translations available, selecting the right one can be overwhelming. 

Here’s a quick guide:

  • Purpose: Consider whether you want a word-for-word literal translation or one focused on readability. And do you prefer traditional or modern language?
  • Compare: Study samples from different translations like New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), New Living Translation (NLT), and King James Version (KJV) to find the best fit.
  • Readability: Opt for translations meant for clarity and ease if you’re just starting out, like the NLT or The Message (MSG), to help you understand the Bible story.
  • Avail Tools: Use a study Bible or app to quickly compare translations.

Choosing the Bible translation that resonates most can make all the difference in staying motivated.

For me, the New Living Translation (NLT) was a great entry point before transitioning to more literal versions.

Step 2: Start With The Basics

Start With The Basics of The Word Of God

The Book of the Bible is complex and it can be difficult to know where to start. To familiarize yourself with the Bible’s origins and overarching narrative, begin by exploring:

The Old Testament

This covers early history – from the creation story to the rise of ancient Israel – as documented by the early prophets and writers.

It lays the foundation for the New Testament and allows you to appreciate references made by New Testament writers.

The New Testament

Centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ and early church history, this testament is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy made in the Old Testament.

Understanding the New Testament hinges on the context set in the Old. The New Testament also discusses how early Christians applied Biblical teachings.

Once you’ve explored both, feel free to focus on specific books that draw you in rather than getting overwhelmed reading cover to cover.

Step 3: Dive Into The Context

Bible On Forgiveness

To help you understand the significance behind the stories, symbols, and teachings in the Bible, understanding the historical and cultural context is key.

Here are some context areas to research:

Resources like Bible commentaries, maps, and concordances can illuminate these contexts that shaped biblical writings to enhance your interpretation.

Step 4: Use Study Tools

Bible Study Tools

Bible study aids are invaluable to help you learn the Bible and gain nuggets of insight. Here are some top tools:

1. Study Bible

With explanatory notes and background information interspersed throughout the biblical text, Study Bibles are enormously helpful for contextual clarity.

Popular picks include The Life Application Study Bible and The New Oxford Annotated Bible.

2. Commentaries

Written by scholars, commentaries provide verse-by-verse analysis regarding context, meanings of terms, theological implications, and more.

Consulting respected commentaries clears up confusion and enriches your study.

3. Concordance

This special index allows you to look up where specific words or phrases appear across the Bible.

A concordance makes finding and comparing relevant verses much easier. Strong’s Concordance is a top choice.

Step 5: Apply The Teachings

Apply Bible Teachings

Once you’ve uncovered the Bible’s wisdom, the final step is applying it. Here are two simple but powerful ways:

1. Personal Reflection

Contemplate how the Bible’s teachings relate to situations in your own life.

What lessons or reassuring truths can you draw upon? How might biblical principles guide your personal growth?

2. Practical Application

Consider tangible ways to apply the Bible’s moral teachings to your relationships, work, community, etc.

For instance, showing forgivingness towards others, practicing honesty, or giving selflessly to those in need.

Approaching the Bible with an open and discerning heart allows your reading journey to bear fruit through positive impact.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose an accessible translation when starting out reading the Bible.
  • Start by exploring the Old and New Testaments to understand biblical origins.
  • Researching historical/cultural contexts helps with interpretation.
  • Study tools like study Bibles and commentaries provide valuable insights.
  • Apply the Bible’s teachings personally and practically for spiritual growth.

Final Thoughts

I hope Jane’s journey of finally unlocking the Bible after years on the shelf can encourage you to overcome any barriers in your own spiritual life.

While the task may seem daunting, have faith that if you start with these simple steps – choosing a translation, diving into context, using study tools, reflecting, and applying the teachings – the Bible will open itself up to you like never before!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it necessary to read the Bible chronologically from start to finish?

A. No – while reading cover to cover allows you to trace the biblical narrative, it’s not essential. You can focus on books or passages that interest you most.

Over time, you’ll become familiar with the overall storyline.

Q. What’s the best way to make Bible reading a consistent habit?

A. Set aside a specific time slot each day when you can eliminate distractions and focus.

Also, keep your Bible visible to remind you to pick it up. Bible Apps like YouVersion with built-in reading plans reinforce consistency.

Most importantly, approach the Bible with joy and do not see it as a chore.

Q. What should I do when I don’t understand parts of what I’m reading?

A. It’s extremely common to find parts of the Bible confusing or seemingly contradictory at first.

Rather than getting discouraged, consult study resources like commentaries that provide clarity on interpretation.

Also, discuss passages with others to gain new perspectives. Allow your understanding to unfold over time.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *