How to Read the Bible and What Matters the Most – 30 Bible Basics

Shyju Mathew

"Experience the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit."

February 4, 2012

This entry is part 14 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics

This post is a part of the “Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics” series and hence has been reposted from Feb 10, 2010. To see all the authors and titles in the series, and to suggest a topic, please go hereSubscribe today to receive the ebook on this series. 

I DO NOT like to read especially if it extends more than a few paragraphs. In fact, even after much coercing, I am still not a voracious reader. Over a period of time, I have learned that it is beneficial for us – whether we agree or disagree with the content in the books that we read. Reading has many advantages. Yet, at times, I seem to struggle with the idea of actually having to go through an entire book. For awhile now, I began to enjoy reading books on the subject matter that are of interest.

When it comes to the Bible, it is very clear that if I choose not to read the Bible, then I choose not to know who my creator is and what I am created for. Now that would be an epic failure! I have realized that there are plenty of young (and old) people who struggle with reading the Bible.

Here are some ways to help you re-energize your walk with God in taking in His Eternal word.

Depend Completely on the Holy Spirit

It was Mom who first taught me to read the Bible. As some of you know, my preaching ministry began when I was 7 years old. I approached my mom to ask her what I should preach about. She taught me the importance of going to God and asking Him about it instead of man.

She also taught me that every sentence is inspired by the Holy Spirit for a purpose. There is hidden revelation in every verse for our edification, motivation and direction. Now, there is nothing wrong in looking for more understanding with Bible encyclopaedias, commentaries, etc., but the more we depend on the Holy Spirit to reveal what He has written, the more we will become captivated by the Word of God. It is only then that the Word will become alive to us in our day to day life.

So if your question is: How do I begin? I would respond that the same way that you would ask me, ask the Holy Spirit. He will provide the inspiration in your heart as you depend on Him with each of those verses.

Where Do I Begin?

If you are a new believer who is trying to understand the Bible, I would say that the best place to start is with your Saviour and Lord Jesus. Although it is true that Jesus can be seen in almost all of the Books of the Bible in hidden revelations, we can best start with the gospel according to John, the fourth book in the New Testament. And then proceed to the other gospels starting from Matthew, then to Mark and Luke. Next would be Acts, which is the Book about the disciples of Jesus. You can take your study further to the Books after Acts; to learn how the Church must prepare for the second coming of Jesus.

Is there a commandment that I need to obey? Is there a valuable principal here that I can learn? Is this verse speaking into my life right now? How can I apply it in my everyday life? Is there a prayer I can say?

Write the answers to these questions in your notebook and you will soon build up a treasure house of scriptural knowledge. It is important to pray as you read the Bible. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer; just something along the lines of: “Dear God, show me what this means and help me to obey.”

Read Cover to Cover

There are many ‘Bible Reading Plans’ available to complete your Bible study in a year. This is one of them: Reading Plans.

Apart from that, I would suggest that you do more than just reading based on given direction. Another option is to read your Bible through email – Signup here –  but there is nothing like having your own Bible that you carry with you to study at every possible hour. And oh, I love underlining, circling, making squares around words; it just makes it so personal!

Going Deeper

I have developed a pattern of reading one chapter from the 5 Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy); one chapter from the prophetic Books (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, etc.); one chapter or two from the Book of Psalms; one chapter from Proverbs; and one chapter from the Gospels, Epistles, etc.

So, in short, each day I get a comprehensive view of the Bible and not just one portion of it. Mind you, that this does not happen every day, nor do I stick to each chapter strictly. Sometimes I end up reading more than just one chapter according to how I feel in my spirit. I do this basically because different Books in the Bible teach you different things. Take for an example – mainly in Psalms – you learn more about God. In Proverbs, you learn more about people and many wise things. In the gospels, you discover more about Jesus, etc. So to have a wider perspective of the Word in a day really helps us to go deeper in the Lord.

How Often?

Although it is good discipline to have a set timetable for your Bible study, I would suggest that you take it beyond your timetable. Carry your Bible to work or even school. I’ve always said this: it is not about how many chapters you cover in a day; it is about how many chapters have gone into your heart. That means sometimes I’ve been stuck with a few verses for days! Read it over and over and enjoy new revelations from the Holy Spirit. Literally soaking in the Word of God.

Caution in Using Resources

At this point, we must be careful that we do not overdo reading commentaries or articles. Let’s face it, as much as there are really good ones, they are all still man’s understanding of the Word of God. So, what better place to be than on your knees with the Holy Spirit who inspired the Word of God through these Bible authors!

There are resources that can be of great help to you as you study the Word. Ask your leader about theologically-sound resources that will be best for your level of understanding as there are many confusing commentaries out there as well.

There are many great online resources; one of which I use often is Biblos. There are thousands of others too, but again, I insist that you stick with the Bible and on your knees in prayer first; that is the greatest place to be.


Perspective Matters

How you approach the Bible is important. Those who see the Bible as a helpful tool will have a tendency to view verses that are more enlightening when going through a relevant situation. For me, I enjoy more prayer and intimacy so I end up seeing everything through that inspiration. I understand that it is not very easy, but try to keep a neutral heart for the Holy Spirit to throw light on anything He wants. There are all kinds of revelations that the Holy Spirit can fill you with from each of those verses. Now don’t get me wrong, it is great to have the Holy Spirit speak into our circumstances. Yet, keep your heart open to any new revelations that the Holy Spirit may reveal concerning your future than just your past or present.

Passion Matters

Like I said earlier, it is not about how many chapters you complete, but about whether your heart is in it. I have known of some who rush through their Bible before they go to the college or before they hit the bed as if it is a custom or ritual. It seems like they feel more accountable to their parents or pastors more than God. Put your heart into reading the Word. There will be times that as you read the Word, a verse captures your attention. One verse may have a stronger pull or stand out of The Book. Stay on that verse. Ask the Holy Spirit for more revelation on it. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from it the more you remain focused on it with the Holy Spirit.

Persistence Matters

The problem with people like me who are not great, voracious readers makes it difficult for reading to become a regular pattern. But the fact about the importance of knowing more about God and what God wants to know about us on a daily basis should help us focus on it every day. Like I said before, carry your Bible everywhere so that you can read it bit by bit at every opportunity so that it becomes a part of your life.

Prayer Matters

Finally, I’d like to conclude with this – PRAYER MATTERS. Bible reading alone will not get you anywhere. You need to spend time seeking God based on the Word that you have meditated on. It is prayer that empowers you to live the Word of God in its fullness. Bible reading without prayer is like having food without water.

I hope this helps you to live a balanced Christian Life. Don’t forget to FB & Twitter share it with your friends and family, and help them with the same.

Question: What other tips can you add to this? What’s your motivation to concentrate on the Word of God? Reply below.


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