STRUGGLING TO READ THE BIBLE? LEARN HOW TO READ THE BIBLE EFFECTIVELY AND APPLY EFFECTIVE BIBLE STUDY METHODS TO GET MORE FROM THE WORD OF GOD.
It was an odd sight to behold, but there she was. A woman with twelve stars on her head and clothed with the sun and moon under her feet. Her attire was rather peculiar for a woman that was evidently so advanced in pregnancy. It was obvious that she was in labor as she cried out in much pain and agony.
As if things couldn’t get any stranger, standing close by was a red dragon with seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns on his head. He stood there as if just waiting to devour her child the minute the baby was born. As if he didn’t look intimidating enough, his tail swept away one third of the stars in the sky and they came falling to the ground.
While this may sound like the perfect beginning scenes for an animated movie, it is actually taken from the Bible. You can read the full story in Revelation 12.
On the surface the Bible seems rather dull and boring but there are many themes which runs throughout. You can learn about a rich guy who had it all yet proclaimed it all to be vanity. Read love stories as well as marvel at all the scandalous relationships. However deep within the pages of the bible, you will learn of a loving God, how he wants you to live your life and the reward he has for you if you remain faithful to him.
The only way to discover these truths, is just to pick up the Bible and start reading it for yourself. Maybe you are at a point where:
You stare at the Bible on your table gathering dust and ponder, what is the best way to study the Bible?
I know I should participate in daily Bible reading, but Bible reading is just so boring. Most days its literally my sleeping pill.
You want to unlock the gems of the Bible for yourself instead of always turning to Google or relying on sermons.
Your youth pastors and spiritual friends make it seems all so easy. All you long for is to achieve spiritual growth, but lately it seems almost unattainable.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry. I have been right where you are. Bible Reading can actually be exciting and not dull! Through this guide I hope to take you on an adventure to help you unearth the word of God in new and exciting ways.
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Why and How Should I Read the Bible
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” – John 5:39-40 Spiritual maturity comes through time spent with God. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. By spending time in scripture reading, we come to know of him, what he expects of us as well as what is to come. If we want to fall in love with Christ, we should turn to the scriptures as the scriptures reveal the true character of Christ.
How To Study The Bible Effectively For Beginners
There are a variety of different methods to consider when struggling to read the Bible, here are a few ways to consider:
Bible Reading Plan Chronological
You don’t have to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, although I would encourage you to read it chronologically at least once. A chronological Bible reading plan provides a good flow of events of the Bible from its beginning to its end.
Think of the most beautiful place, that you have ever seen, that for me is the Canadian Rockies. I am sure the Garden of Eden was likely 10o times more beautiful. In a chronological Bible reading plan, you start in Genesis where you get to read about living life in paradise and how paradise was eventually lost. The plan later concludes in Revelation with how paradise will once again be restored.
If you download the YouVersion Bible app from your app store or play store, they have a number of Bible reading plans which you can join. Through the app you can also easily keep track of your progress saving you the hassle of a printable Bible reading plan for beginners.
Topical Studies Bible Reading Plan
A topical study allows you to go really in-depth on a particular topic over the course of around a 6-8-week period. It allows you sufficient time to discuss the topic but not too long of a time span that you become wearied by the topic. Once the 6-8 weeks has ended you will likely feel a sense of accomplishment. Topical study topics could include topics such as: Prophecy or The life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.
Here are some topical Bible studies you can consider starting with:
Read Single Books Bible Reading Plan
If you are looking for a beginner Bible reading plan, I would suggest starting here. Start with short books of the Bible or books that mimic a story format if you are looking for a beginners guide to reading the Bible.
Books Of The Bible To Read When Struggling
Short books in the Bible include: Jonah, Nahum, Haggai, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Titus, Obadiah, Jude, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John.
Story Themed books include: Esther, Ruth, Job, Jonah, Hosea, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Which Bible Translation Is Best For Me?
As you contemplate making Bible reading more of a priority? You may be asking which Bible translation is best for me? I find the language used in the King James Version a bit dated, hard to relate and not the easiest Bible version to understand.
Let’s look at an example together, Proverbs 31:10-20. Don’t worry this won’t be a Proverbs31 woman post. I have included both the King James Version as well as The New Living Translation for your reference. While they are both saying similar things, the latter version reads a lot clearer.
King James Version
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”
New Living Translation
“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
What I would suggest, is to use a Bible app such as the YouVersion Bible app and compare translations. Once you have settled on a translation that you love, you can then purchase a Bible in that translation instead of doing it the other way around.
Personally, I like the English Standard Version or the New Living Translation. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Review the different Bible translations on your Bible app and stick with the translation which you can better relate.
Choosing A Study Bible
Before we choose a Study Bible, it is essential that we first explore What is A Study Bible? A Study Bible helps provides more clarity on the passage that you are reading. Ever read a text but you are unsure as to its meaning? This is where a study Bible can help and offer its interpretation for moments when you are unsure. A Study Bible helps by providing context, maps or photos and also includes study notes.
As you consider which Study Bible to purchase, you need to consider what translation is used. Is it a paraphrase, a literal translation or a thought for thought translation.
A Literal Translation is a word for word translation of the Greek and Hebrew text.The King James Version would be an example of a literal translation. Paraphrased translations use modern language and idioms to try and capture the essence of the text. The Living Bible would be an example of a Paraphrased translation. In a thought for thought translation, translators take a look at the whole sentence then attempt to translate it as a unit. The New Living Translation Bible would be an example of a thought for thought translation.
Best Bible For College Students
Looking for a Bible that speaks to your needs as a College student? There are several different translations and Bibles on the market, it can often be a difficult task to decide on just one. Here are some options to consider when struggling to read the Bible:
CSB She Reads Truth
The mission behind the She Reads Truth Bible is to get women in the word of God daily. With five different color designs available, it includes, maps, charts, timelines and a Bible reading plan for every book of the Bible. The She Reads Truth Bible comes jam packed with almost 200 devotionals as well as artful verse designs to aid in scripture memorization. Participate in a virtual tour of the CSB She Reads Truth Bible.
N.I.V College Devotional Bible
The N.I.V College Devotional Bible includes stories that helps college students connect scripture with the struggles, questions and decisions they face daily as college students. The Bible includes 222 devotions, reading plans as well as a quick start guide to help you get the most out of Bible reading.
Archaeology Study Bible
If as a college student or young adult you are fascinated by Archaeology, then you will love the Archaeology Study Bible. This is a English Standard Version Bible that provides both historical and cultural context that brings scripture to life. You will find, 400 full-color photographs and 200 maps and diagrams, all aimed at helping readers grasp the culture and backgrounds of the biblical story they are trying to grasp.
Created with Bible Journalers in mind, the Illustrating Bible by DaySpring has thicker pages to minimize bleed through and margins twice the size of regular journaling Bibles. It is spiral bound, lies flat and square sized making it perfect for social media sharing.
ESV Journaling Bible
This is a Single column journaling Bible. Designed with extra wide margins allowing you to capture your notes, prayers,or personal reflections in the Bible. It also comes in a variety of snazzy customizable covers.
Bible Study Methods For Beginners
When struggling to read the Bible, using a Bible Study method helps you to get way more from scripture than just mindlessly reading. The following is a roundup of various Bible Study Methods to help you breakdown and understand scripture. Give each a try and stick to the one you like.
Apple Bible Study Method
Here is how to use and apply the APPLE Bible Study method:
A- Attributes of God. Write down the attributes of God found in the passage. Attributes could be traits like holy, merciful, forgiving etc.
P-Promises. Again looking through the passage make note of any promises God has made to his children. A promise could be something as simple as promising to return for his children and take us home to live with him.
P -Principles for life – What life principles can you decipher from the passage that is applicable for us today?
L- Lessons Learned or sin to avoid – Think about what lessons you can takeaway or sins that you should avoid falling into the trap of doing as well.
E-Example to Follow – Whats one takeaway from this passage that you can apply to your life immediately?
REST Bible Study Method
REST Bible Study Method – Developed by Kaylene Yoder, this method is all about helping women to lay down the devotionals and delve into the real world of God.
Here is how to use and apply the REST Bible study method:
R-Read – Spend some time reading a small passage of scripture.
E-Engage- Engage with scripture by writing it out
S-Savor – Spend some time asking your self questions that can help you determine the message that God has for you from what you read.
T-Take Charge – Claim any promises and write down any messages that God is placing on your heart.
PRAISE Bible Study Method
PRAISE Bible Study Method– Developed with the idea of not just reading the bible with a casual heart but looking at the verses and chapters to get the true story of what God wants us to learn and understand.
Here is how to use and apply the PRAISE Bible study method:
P-Pray – Pray and ask God for guidance that he will help you to understand the passage you plan on reading as well as that you will takeaway the message he intended for you.
R-Read – Regardless of the book of the Bible you choose to read, read it from start to finish instead of jumping around. this allows you to get the full context. You can also read up about the author of the book.
A-Assess – Spend some time to think about what you just read. Questions to consider: What is God trying to say to me, How does it makes me feel, how is this applicable to my life.
I- Investigate – Look up words you are not very familiar with as well as investigate the culture or practices during that time period.
S-Submit – Submit to the word of God, asking him to transform you.
E-Express – Apply what you have learned to your life. Live out what you learn.
SOAP Bible Study Method
SOAP Bible Study Method – This method is about reading and then applying it to your everyday life.
Here is how to use and apply the SOAP Bible study method:
S-Scripture – Write out the scripture
O- Observation – What stands out to you?
A-Application – How can I apply what I have read to my personal life?
P-Prayer – Pray God’s words words back to him.
Best Bible Study Tools Online
How to understand the Bible better? When you have trouble reading the Bible, the following are some Bible reading resources for when you have questions about the Bible, wish to memorize scripture or daily Bible reading plans.
You Version Bible App – This is the Bible study for beginners app I use on my phone. It gives you access to various versions of the Bible as well as the audio versions for some of the translations. I especially like to listen to the audio version during my commute to and from work. The app also has devotionals and daily inspirational bible art that you can incorporate into your daily devotional time which helps with daily Bible study for beginners.
Scripture Typer – I recently discovered this one and hope to incorporate it a bit more in my routine. This is a great app for helping you to memorize your favorite Bible verses. It utilizes 3 cognitive areas (touch, visual and auditory) to help you learn verses.
Got Questions – As you study the bible, you will likely come across hard to understand Bible verses that you don’t understand. You might even be questioning how can I understand the Bible better? The Got Questions bible app can help. You can browse questions by topic as well as ask questions and have them answered by the community. You can also look to Bible commentary books to help you understand the Bible specifically with those hard to understand Bible verse or a dictionary to better understand what is being said.
Creative Bible Study For Adults
One common complaint I hear among young adults is that they know they should be reading the Bible but they find it a boring read. There are a variety of different methods you can use to make your Bible study time more engaging. This is the reason why I am compiling a totally free course comprising of Creative Bible Study Methods to help you fall in love with Bible Study. Join the waiting list to get notified once its released.
Where To Find Free Bible Studies For Young Adults
While you can purchase Bible Studies online, here are some simple Bible Study guides for beginners. As I come across additional free Bible Studies, I will add them to the list, so please do check back regularly.
Bible Study Notebook Template
One last arsenal that you want to add to your Bible study supplies is a notebook or should you choose you can create a Bible Study Binder. Use your Bible study notebook to keep track of sermons notes as well as your art journals, verses you wish to memorize , or takeaways you had during your personal Bible Study time. This allows you to easily keep track of your readings as well as notes during your personal study time.
The above printable Love the Word Bible Study Binder Includes:
- 4 different covers to choose from
- Spines in each of the cover patterns for 1, 1 ½, 2, and 3 inch binders
- Tabs (both customized and blank)
- Monthly divider sheets (January – December)
- The Alone with God Quiet Time Journal
- Bible Color Coding System with instructions and Bookmark
- PROSPER Bible Study Method (workbook, templates, + 5 video tutorials)
- Sermon Notes sheets
- Prayer and Praise sheets
- Gratitude sheets
- Journaling Pages
- 12 Monthly Write the Word Challenges (topics include Spiritual Friendship, Money Matters, Cultivating Joy, The Power of Prayer, and more) Learn more about the Love The Word Bible Study Binder.
How To Read the Bible Effectively
“By beholding you become changed”. You become an expert on a topic by studying and spending a lot of time on the subject area. It is the same with the bible, by plugging into the source we develop a deeper personal relationship with the Lord. My hope is that you have found some helpful tips to use when struggling to read the Bible effectively.
For additional resources on how to read our Bible daily, be sure to also read: Should you read the Bible in 90 days? What you need to know, Is the Bible fake or can we trust the Bible and How to create and awesome Bible Reading plan in 3 easy steps.