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So you want to start reading the Bible…

This time of year I always get a few people who ask me about starting to read the Bible, where to begin, how to do it, and what they should do if they don’t actually believe it anyway. If this describes you, you are in luck! Today I hope to provide a simple framework for reading the Scriptures as well as giving you a simple reading plan to get you started.

Before we begin, do you own a Bible? If yes, is it easy to read? If not, you have a few options. For the best in readability and accuracy, I highly suggest the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). If money is tight, you don’t have to go and buy a new copy. You can download the YouVersion Bible App on any smart device and begin reading it for free today. Even our Revolve Church NJ app (iOS and Android) has a built in Bible for you to use. Check it out!

First things first, grab a notebook. Everything works better if you write it down. Trust me. Write down answers to these two questions: (1) What is stressing you out today? (2) What are you thankful for?

Get in the habit of doing that every day. When you’re ready, tell God what you wrote down (Psst: he already saw it, anyway). Simply tell God (out loud, in your head, on paper, it doesn’t matter) what is stressing you out and ask for help and then thank him for whatever it is that you are thankful for. Prayer doesn’t need to be verbose. Keep it simple.

Second, read your selected scripture for the day (at the bottom of this article, I suggest a place to begin). Don’t read too much at once. Keep it to a paragraph or a story. The goal isn’t just to read, but to get something out of your reading. If you have time, rewrite the section of scripture in your notebook word for word. This helps you to remember what you read.

Third, write a few sentence summary of what happened. Don’t write a paragraph about what it means, just retell what happened as if someone next to you said, “Tell me what you read.” The process of repackaging things into your own words, like telling someone the plot of a movie, helps you to embrace what you read.

Fourth, answer a few basic questions in your notebook.

Question #1: If this is true, what does it teach about God? Notice, I said “if this is true.” Some of you might say, “I don’t think that it is true.” My response is, “Okay, but pretend that it is, what would it teach?” The Bible is meant to be read as if it were true, so start there. If this were true, what would it teach you about God? What does it teach about his character, what he loves, what he hates, what he does, what he expects?

Question #2: If this is true, what does it teach about mankind? In other words, what does it teach about the tendencies of humanity? What does it teach about us at our best or our worst? What does it teach about what we do, don’t do, should do, etc?

Question #3: How will you apply this in your life today? The Bible isn’t about gathering up knowledge in your brain. It is about action. If you read today about loving your neighbor, what can you simply and tangibly do TODAY to love your neighbor? Keep it easy, keep it simple, keep it sensible. Just do something. That could be thinking differently, speaking differently, or physically doing something.

Question #4: With whom will you share today’s lesson? The Bible is also meant to be shared. Don’t feel like you need to explain all the intricacies of the universe, just share what you read with someone. Remember that little summary you wrote down? Start there.

Tomorrow, look back at what you wrote down. Did you do what you said you were going to do? Write it down and explain how it went. Did you tell someone about the lesson? How did it go? Is what was stressing you out still there or did it go away? Write it down. Each day go through these things and you will be amazed at how God is teaching you, growing you, changing you, and working in your life. I guarantee it!

As you go through these questions and reading, there is a crucial thing to remember: stick with the Scriptures. Don’t write down what you think Pastor Bill says about that passage or what your landlord said about that time she saw Jesus in her grilled cheese (Grilled Cheesus). What does the Bible say?

If you pick a reading plan from YouVersion or another Bible reading resource, read the scriptures and go through these questions before you jump straight to the devotional content. If you read the devotional content and then just glimpse at the scriptures you are never actually learning to read the Bible. It is like digesting someone else's chewed up food.

If you want to get started, go to www.revolvechurchnj.com/discover and don't forget to let me know via email so that I can be praying for you and keep you encouraged.

Scripture Passages

  1. Genesis 1:1-27
  2. Genesis 2:4-24
  3. Genesis 3:1-13
  4. Genesis 3:14-24
  5. Genesis 12:1-8; 15:1-6; 17:1-7
  6. Exodus 20:1-21
  7. Leviticus 4:1-35 & Hebrews 10:4
  8. Isaiah 53:1-12
  9. Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20
  10. Matthew 3:1-17; John 1:29-34
  11. Matthew 4:1-11
  12. John 3:1-21
  13. John 4:1-26; 39-42
  14. Luke 5:17-26
  15. Mark 4:35-41
  16. Mark 5:1-20
  17. John 11:1-44
  18. Matthew 26:26-30
  19. John 18:1-19; 16
  20. Luke 23:32-56
  21. Luke 24:1-35
  22. John 3:1-21