Before I start teaching how to read the Bible for beginners, I think it’s important to address how you read the Bible now. 

What approach do you currently have to the Bible? For example, do you mainly pick out certain scriptures?

Are you only looking for what you need encouragement on?

Have you found yourself picking any scripture and making it fit to what you need it to?

This is not only for someone starting to read the Bible for the first time but also for those who feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed with the Bible. You are beginning to learn how to read the Bible in greater detail. 

How to read the Bible for beginners will include how to study the Bible, how to study the Bible verse by verse, and Jen Wilkins’s 5 Bible study tips.

Where to Start Reading the Bible for Beginners

The New Testament is a great place to start reading the Bible. The first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry and are often referred to as the gospels.

Genesis is another great place to start. 

No matter what, you can’t go wrong reading your Bible. However, reading things in their context and flow will help you better understand what you are reading. 

How to Study the Bible

The Google definition of exegesis is an explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture. When using the studying style exegesis, you allow the scripture, the Holy Spirit, to define the meaning for you. Not the other way around.

To begin learning how to read the Bible as a beginner, remember that before you begin a book, chapter, or passage of scripture, be sure to check in with these five questions.

  • Who wrote it? 
  • When was it written? 
  • Whom was it written for? 
  • What style was it written in? 
  • Why was it written?

Experiences are good but learning about God first helps us see those experiences differently. Knowledge of who God is and His word build confidence to share your faith.

Let’s be sure not to chase our feelings for experiences more than we lean into learning about the Father.

Learning more about the Father can come into play when you use comprehension, interpretation, and application.

Repetition builds comprehension.

As you learn how to read the Bible as a beginner, these questions will become more natural the more you ask them and write down the answers. Don’t be afraid to search for the answer. 

How to Study the Bible Verse by Verse

  1. Was there a repetition of words? Is God trying to get our attention on something in particular?
  1. Did you read several points in a row? List them out. Are they revealing God’s character or nature that we need to be paying attention to?
  1. What words don’t you understand? Google search and make a note of them in your Bible or maybe a specific journal you have.
  1. Does it have transition words? Be sure to connect the concluding thought to the beginning argument.
  1. Is anything confusing or hard to read? Be sure to circle it, underline it, or put a big question mark next to it so that you know to go back and do further research to understand.
  1. Are there any cross-references? Most Bibles will have footnotes with cross-references. Where else in the Bible does this phrase or point appear?

No matter what, you can't go wrong reading your Bible. However, reading things in their context and flow will help you better understand what you are reading.

Jen Wilkin’s 5 Bible Study Tips

As you learn how to read the Bible as a beginner, these five steps will help you understand the Bible in greater detail. They will challenge you to think about what’s happening in their time and to not depend on your feelings to tell you what you want to hear. 

Study the Bible with purpose.

Be intentional about your quiet time and understand the context of what you are reading.

Study the Bible with perspective. 

Learn about the times you are reading. Who was the writer writing to? What’s the big picture of what you are reading?

Study the Bible with patience.

Discovering God, His character, and nature is going to take time. When you come to places you don’t know, feel hard, or leave you throwing your hands up in defeat, remember to be kind to yourself in this new season of learning.

Study the Bible with process. 

Using process when you study scripture is about comprehension, interpretation, and application.

Study the Bible with prayer. 

Ask the Father to show you what you are reading, helping it come more alive to you. Continue to pray before, through, and after your time with Him.

These are a few ways to start now for reading the Bible if you are a beginner. Write down these bullet points in your Bible, so you have them on hand. 

Also, join me in my Spiritual Growth Framework coaching program for further study of the Bible, your identity, forgiveness, trust, boundaries, and so much more. 

jessica hottle

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