Ladies, reading scripture is a fundamental part of being a Christian. It’s God’s Word after all, right?
But when we open our Holy Book and flip through its pages, it can seem daunting to read it all the way through. Where do we start?
Well, first I urge you not to get overwhelmed. There is a way that can be inspiring and fun. Here are my thoughts on reading scripture.
The best place to start is with the New Testament. The reason is that the Old Testament is really long and I think that it’s important to get to the Gospels as soon as possible. Paul’s letters are also important to instill in your heart as soon as you can. So, read the New Testament all the way through, then go back to the Old Testament and read every book in order. At the end of the Old Testament, let it take you back into the New Testament again, and read all the way through.
There is no time frame when reading scripture in this way. We all read differently, and some of us may need to reread certain chapters to get a better understanding of them. Just don’t procrastinate or read in spurts that are too tiny. Make the chapters count and remember to stay constant and consistent.
After you have read the Bible in this way, you can go back and read it as you wish, referring to verses, or reading specific books as you feel the need.
Here are some things to remember when reading scripture:
- Pray first. Some books in the Bible are easier to read than others, but we’re not just reading a story literally. In some instances, we’re understanding a deeper meaning, a moral premise or an allegorical message. So pray that God opens your mind and heart. Pray that the teaching gets through to you and that you can begin to use it in your life and teach it to others.
- Take your time. You don’t want to rush through scripture, so don’t make it a race to the finish. It won’t mean as much if you don’t get anything out of it when you’re done because you were only focusing on finishing.
- Read every day. You want to keep it fresh in your mind. But more importantly, you need God’s Word to nourish you daily. So, schedule some time in each day, maybe when you wake up or right before bed, to read scripture.
- Refer to footnotes. Many Bibles have footnotes that refer you to other areas in scripture that relate to what you’re reading. When you pay attention to the footnotes, at least the first time you read scripture, you can see how the Bible comes together as a whole and not simply a bunch of separate books.
- Remember when and why Biblical books were written. When you put scripture in context by understanding when and why certain books were written, you get a better idea of the significance of the writing in relation to the time it was written and how it affects you today. But remember, all scripture relates to us today, regardless of when it was written. Many nonbelievers like to argue that scripture is 2,000 years old and has nothing to do with today. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Isaiah 40:8, for instance, reads, “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.”
- There are no contradictions. In some instances, scripture will say one thing and then it will say what seems to be something else later on. Don’t be fooled in assuming this is a contradiction. God never changes His mind and His Word is consistent.
- Remember that the Old Testament and New Testament are related. I mentioned this is my post “Why All Christians Should Read the Whole Bible at Least Once in Their Lives,” about reading the whole Bible. The Old Testament often foreshadows the New. It’s fundamental that we read both the Old and New Testaments and understand why they relate to each other and to our lives today.
- Never instill your own interpretations in scripture. It’s so easy to do. But we can’t read scripture and twist it so it fits around our own personal lives. We must fit into a scriptural world, not the other way around. One thing that’s frustrating to me is when people argue that the world is changing and so Christians need to get with the times. Well, when it comes to Christian teaching, the Bible is clear, and until God inspires a revised Bible, I’m going to assume He wants us to continue on in the lessons that He gave us in scripture.
Ladies, do you have any tips for reading scripture?