I have a saying that applies to many things in life and faith. It goes like this,
'It's better to start small than not at all.'
This is so true when it comes to reading the bible. I remember one of the first times I tried reading The Book. I started right at the beginning and was bored stiff in about 15 minutes (sorry I said that Lord). Every time I ever tried to start reading, it was at or near the beginning of the Bible.
For me, that was a horrible place to start. The chapters just became a jumbled combination of meaningless words and I just couldn't relate, especially to some of the stories, laws, lists and rules. It made me walk away every time and I wouldn't be surprised if that hasn't happened to some of you.
Well, if you look back at my previous post titled "I Can't Read the Bible", you'll see that the first book I ever read was Philippians, which is in the New Testament (NT). Now what I am about to say is coming from someone that really struggled with reading the bible and who finally found a way to make it a part of his life.
Try starting in the NT. That statement comes with a disclaimer. I am in no way telling you not to read the Old Testament (OT), because it is all God's word and I have to tell you that I have started to venture more into the OT and it's getting better. I loved the book of Job and Genesis and Exodus were much easier to follow.
Get a version that's easy to read, or has more modern wording. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is what I started in and is what I read most at home. I really like it. Others which are easier to read include the Good News Bible (GNB), which is my phone's bible app, (you have to get a bible app., they're awesome), the New International Version (NIV), the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Message, which has the most up to date language I've read, is way different from "your parents bible" and is my bedside bible of choice, just to change things up. These versions are much more palatable, I believe, especially for someone new to The Book, or someone like me that struggled to get through one chapter. Getting back to my point of starting small.
Read some of Paul's letters, many of which are only a few chapters and maybe just a chapter or two at first. Don't be surprised if after a few ventures into Paul's letters, you start reading more than a chapter or two. His words are so inspiring, encouraging, heartwarming and at times, challenging. On a quick sidebar, if you want challenging, read the book of James, which is another short book that I have read countless times.
Any way, getting back to Paul's words. They truly spoke to me in a way that I've never experienced. I was enjoying his letters so much, I actually took my bible to my mechanics garage one day and read Romans (which by the way, might be my fave book) while my car was being repaired. I also planned ahead of time to read Hebrews on my flight to Florida a few weeks ago. If I was told some day I'd be doing stuff like that, I would have laughed right in your face, but I believe that's what the word of God does to us. It changes us in a way we never expected, in a way we never saw coming and in a way that can turn things upside down, in an amazingly good way.
I started journaling during and after I read certain books and still do so now, or I just write directly in my bible. Many times before I read, I ask God for His guidance and that He might reveal to me whatever it is that He wants me to see. Just be careful with that prayer. It has been a real eye opener at times and extremely challenging as well, but it has also brought me to some of the most peaceful and joyful times of my life.
God's word changed me in a way I have a hard time describing or even putting into words and it most definitely changed the way I live my life, though I still have my own personal struggles.
I ask that you give this a try. And if you need some support, talk with someone you know who regularly reads the bible, or your minister, or you can write back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you and all correspondence will be kept in confidence. You can also comment on this post or any others right here on this site. I am praying right now for any of you that are going to try this and will be placing you on my personal prayer list.
I hope that His word will truly reach out and grab you, touch your heart, pull you in and never let you go!!
Question of the Day: Where will you start?