If you are a brand new believer, chances are you feel a bit overwhelmed right about now. Perhaps you want to be a student of God’s Word, but have no idea where to start. Maybe you feel ill-equipped to know how to grow in your new-found faith.
The good news is that you are not alone! We have all been there, and growing in your Bible knowledge does not have to be difficult or challenging.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:
Pick a user-friendly Bible translation.
Choosing a specific translation of the Bible to read and study can be one of the most confusing places to start. This can be discouraging when it is also the most important first step! Here are some things to keep in mind:
- There are word-for-word translations, also known as direct or literal translations.
These are Bible translations which seek to translate each and every word in the Bible from the original Hebrew or Greek. Examples of these translations would be the King James or New King James Version, English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, or the Amplified Bible, which is a word-for-word but also includes additional amplification and explanation of word meanings.
2. There are thought-for-thought or dynamic equivalent translations.
These translations tend to be a little more like paraphrases in that they take an entire thought and translate that. Examples of these would be the Contemporary English Version and The Message. Some translations are a balance of word-for word-and thought-for-thought, and these would include the New International Version, New Living Translation, and New Revised Standard Version.
3. A good one to consider would be the Christian Standard Bible, or CSB.
This is a translation which does a good job of translating in a way that is faithful to the original text and done in a word-for-word manner, but is also very readable and easy to understand. This is known as an optimal equivalence translation.
Choose a reading plan for where to begin.
I always encourage new believers to begin in a book like John, move on to Romans, and then pick an Old Testament book such as Genesis. Another option that is great is to read through a chronological reading plan so that you can get the big picture of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. This plan is a great option, as it takes you through the Bible chronologically, but does have you reading both Old Testament and New Testament together.
Find a good Bible study or Bible study method.
One simple Bible study method to begin with is known as the SOAP method, in which you take a passage and run through these four steps with it:
S – Scripture (read the passage)
O- Observation (what is it saying? where did it take place? who is being spoken to?)
A- Application (how can you apply it to your daily life?)
P- Prayer (pray over what you have read, asking God to open your eyes to His truth)
Another great Bible study method is the inductive method popularized by Kay Arthur. The ladies over at Risen Motherhood have put together a very helpful free printable that walks you through this method.
Learn how to reflect on what you are reading.
One of the best ways to internalize and remember what you have been reading in the Word is to take notes as you go. I recommend the Give Me Jesus journal for this, which has you jot down the reference of whatever passage you are reading, gives you room to make notes on it, has you write down what you learned about God in that passage, and then asks you how you will apply what you have read to your everyday life.
Take advantage of study tools at your disposal.
We live in an amazing day and age when it comes to all the free Bible study resources available at our fingertips. Here are the ones I recommend the most and return to again and again myself:
OpenBible.Info – I look up cross references on this site all the time to help me better allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.
Blue Letter Bible – This site is my favorite! You can look up the definition of any Greek or Hebrew word and thereby study the Bible in its original languages!
Bible Study Tools – This amazing site provides you with Bible dictionaries, several commentaries, concordances, lexicons, and more!
I hope that this little list of resources and ideas serves to encourage you and take a load off as you realize just how simple growing in your knowledge of the Bible can be! God bless you as you seek to learn more about Him!