When I first became a Christian, I had no idea what I was doing. I grew up in the church but never paid attention to how people actually lived. Because of this, I didn’t know the tenants of Christianity or its practices.
Aside from going to church on Sundays and folding my hands when I prayed, I could not tell you anything else about the Christian lifestyle. When I admitted this to my new mentor, he smiled and said he could help.
As we talked, I learned that it was oddly a poor practice of the church (Christianity as a whole) to share how to live the different disciplines. My mentor said he would commit to helping me step into these new disciplines and learn each one.
For this, I was incredibly thankful. To this day, the things he taught me have helped me live out my faith. Even more so, I have learned to grow from the things he has taught me.
This growth has been huge for me. And because of this, I want to share with you today the essential guide for laying the groundwork for reading your Bible and stepping into this spiritual discipline.
Why We Read the Bible
One of my favorite Bible verses has helped me to understand the importance of reading the Bible. In the New Testament, the Book of Romans tells us this:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 NIV
While these two verses are packed full of important information on Christian living. Here is what you should focus on, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Renewing Our Minds
The word renewing is interesting because there are a few definitions to it that bring life to this verse.
First, to renew is to re-establish something. Which I would argue means we are to re-establish our connection with God on a daily basis. One way to do this is through reading the Bible.
Second, to renew is to replace something that is broken or worn out. So often the world today can wear us down or even break our spirits. Yet, when we dig into the Bible we can find encouragement and inspiration.
Third, to renew is to give fresh life or strength. This is essential to live out the Christian faith. So much of the Kingdom of God is restoration and strength. Yet, many Christians don’t walk this out.
So, we read the Bible to re-establish our connection with God, replace the worn out places in the our minds, and to give fresh life and strength to ourselves. All of these can happen when we read the Bible.
How to Read the Bible
I want to be completely open with you. There are a lot of ways to read the Bible. However, I think there are three simple ways to think about reading the Bible. And some very simple steps you can take to start out.
This is the goal of what I want to share with you today: To help you know where you are so you can read the Bible with ease and renew your mind.
This isn’t an all exhaustive text on reading the Bible. In fact, this is to help lay a groundwork to help you feel comfortable with reading the Bible and making it an every day part of your life.
No.1 – Simply Reading the Bible
If you have never read the Bible before, this is the best place to start. Simply start reading the Bible. Read one chapter a day. Start in Genesis and work your way through the book.
Now, there are a few things you should do with this, but reading through the Bible is a great place to start. It’s like taking a shower at the swimming pool. It isn’t going to extensively into washing you off, but it is ringing over you.
Something you can do to add to your Bible reading is to have a pen and paper to write down any questions you have from your first read through. That way, you can look into it later. Also, underline anything you find interesting.
No.2 – Read the Bible with References
A great next level to your Bible reading is to get a study Bible and read the reference material within your study Bible. This will give you more contents, background, and some lessons on what it can mean for your life.
At this point, you may want to have a journal where you can write down the things you are learning along with your questions. This will help you grow in the renewing of your mind as well as the knowledge that comes with your faith.
When it comes to choosing a study Bible, you can try out any of these Study Bibles which I recommend from my own personal use:
No.3 – Read the Bible with Additional Materials
Once you have read the Bible without any reference materials and with the ones in the Study Bible, then it might be time for you to use additional materials.
These could be Bible studies that go more in-depth on topics within different books of the Bible. Or you could use a Bible Concordance that gives a lot of background material on different stories and books of the Bible.
One thing I would want to warn you of is how easily this kind of Bible reading can become more about the knowledge and less about the connection with God. So, if you want to dig in deeper, don’t forget to leave space to listen to the Holy Spirit and ask God what you can learn from the Bible itself.
Start Reading the Bible Today
Where are you at with reading the Bible? Have you read it all the way through before? Or have you don’t that and been studying the Bible for years? Decide where you have been and start into the next step.
If you are just starting out, there are apps for your phone that you can read the Bible. But, I always find that having a physical Bible has helped me really focus on the things I am reading.
Set a time, and place, and commit to reading your Bible every day in that area and at that time. Work your way through the Bible one chapter at a time. If you have more time, read more. But don’t force yourself to do more than you can.
Every minute, even if it is only ten minutes, can help you connect with God. As you develop this discipline, you will start to want to do it more and more.
J.R. Heimbigner is a #1 Bestselling Author on Amazon who loves helping people grow in their faith and help writers become authors. You can connect with him on Medium, his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Substack!
This post first appeared here.