Okay! A couple of people have asked me what they should read in their Bible, where to start. I’d like to share where I was only a few years ago when I asked a very wise mature pastor this same question, it may help you feel better about the feelings in your own heart.
I was overwhelmed at the size of my Bible and maybe it has to do with the way my dear Father wired me but I wanted to read the whole thing in like a month and totally comprehend everything immediately and be able to easily convey it all to someone and quote verses. Again like I said, in like a month. Yeah, right. Patience, young grasshopper.
So I had to have a talk with myself and hear a great sermon and came to the conclusion that you cannot approach this like some other things in life like a hurdle that must be leapt over, JUST DO IT, get er dun, whatever, this is different. This is not a race, it is a relationship. Our Bible is a precious living breathing manuscript that out of God’s love wisdom and perfection He chose to hand down to us. We cannot be competitive about this. We must take our time, take a deep breath and know that this is going to take a lifetime. You have a lifetime to read and reread and study it all, I promise.
So, every day be reading some of His poetry. Don’t you love dessert? I have a sweet tooth, as long as I have something sweet to look forward to I will eat my brussel sprouts. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Isaiah, Song of Solomon, these are the hot fudge cake reward for the tougher reading you will need to do to increase your knowledge.
Alongside the “dessert” reading you must begin with the gospels. Read Mark, one verse at a time, even just a verse a day. LISTEN, if you only read a verse a day you are one verse closer to finishing and one verse closer to God. So read at least a verse. Ok? I know you can do it! Once you complete Mark, read it again. It will go faster this time. You do this for multiple reasons, to get to know the writer, to hear the tone of the book and to see things you didn’t see the first time. You will be amazed. THEN read it a third time before you move onto Matthew. Notice how the story is similar but not exactly the same. Isn’t that awesome! Jesus chose these men and they wrote the books but the men themselves were all different (like different parts of the body, hmmmmmmm), they had different personalities and different perspectives and this makes Jesus’ story so beautiful to see it in 4 different lights. Then read Luke, then John. Please read each book 3 times before you move on to the next one.
Keep a notebook, journal, something and a pen or pencil beside you cause God is going to reveal things to you and you will want to jot them down. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3. I don’t know about you but when God decides to tell me something great I would like to have a little paper and pen to write it down cause my memory ain’t so sharp.
This journal “lives” alongside my bed along with my Bible on an ottoman and a couple of pens. I also write in my Bible and have sticky post it notes to mark pages. I use the Bible gateway website on my phone at times if I am looking something up and can only remember a phrase or even just a word of a verse and want to locate it. www.biblegateway.com This site is super cool cause you can click a button and see additional interpretations side by side. Another pen lives in my Bible always.
Bible shopping: Okay, I have a Life Application Bible cause it has all this explanation stuff at the bottom of the page to further understand what the meaning may be. It is the New International Version. I also have several King James Bibles and on a trip to Lifeway I discovered the Message Bible. It is gorgeous and small and shiny iridescent purple. It is my favorite Bible cause it is pretty, easy to carry and easy to understand. BUT I do not use this one exclusively because the language is so current I fear we may have lost some of the meaning of the verses. I recommend using more than one Bible but if you can only afford one just read that one.
Back to the order. . . once you finish Matthew, Mark, Luke and John go to Acts and Romans. Then read Ephesians, Exodus, I II Samuel, I II Kings, Nehemiah, Esther, I II Chronicles, Ezra, Genesis, Leviticus, Daniel, Colossians, Titus, Hosea, Revelations. I keep a post it note in the front of my Bible and keep up with what I have read so far. Indeed this is a journey. Once you finish the gospels and Acts, Romans, continue to read a “dessert” book alongside it but at that point you might just ask God what he wants you to read next and follow His lead. OR I was going through something, like most recently I read Hosea cause I was personally kind of feeling like Hosea’s wife and wanted some inspiration. There is no CORRECT way to do this but this works for me. Just try to complete a book at a time so that you have a plan of sorts and aren’t just jumping from page to page with no goal in sight. Eventually you will have read and reread several books.
Feel free to copy and paste this list, print it out, hand write it in the front of your Bible or journal, whatever works for you to influence you that you have a plan and START!!!
*Mark (3 times) *Psalms
*Matthew (3 times) *Proverbs
*Luke (3 times) *Ecclesiastes
*John (3 times) *Ruth
*Acts *Song of Solomon
*I II Samuel
*I II Kings
*I II Chronicles
Try not to listen to the enemy, here are some things he may tell you: you don’t have time to even start. You are too tired. You are not smart enough to understand. You never complete anything. You will never finish so why start? If any of these thoughts pop into your mind just say JESUS outloud, put on some Christian music, dance around the room, whatever works but don’t listen to him. And don’t get discouraged if you fall out of the habit for a few days. They say it takes 21-28 days to create a habit. So in as little as a month you can establish the most healthy habit EVER! YOU can unleash the power to change our world for generations to come. Daily Bible reading will change you and will change your life. Just get started, today!
******Update********* It is 11-20-13 and I look back at the post and am amazed, simply amazed at how much His word has taught me since I wrote this post. I have now completed 43 books of the Bible and have 23 to go. Some I have read more than once, some of the 23 I have already read but not marked off from this journey with Him. I hope this post encourages you to start. God bless you.