When it comes to spending personal time hearing from God by reading the Bible, first we crawl, then we walk, and then we run. If you’re completely new to this, you are a crawler. If you’ve done this before and feel somewhat competent but still need some help, you’re a walker. If you’ve been there, done that, and are ready for a challenge, you’re a runner. Put your pride aside and pick the level that you really need.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend you choose a resource that includes insights and/or application questions, not just a stand—alone block of text from the Bible.
YouVersion is a free and excellent digital resource. In addition to an app for your device, it is also available online at bible.com. You’ll need to sign up for a free account to unlock all the resources, but fear not – it’s quick, easy and secure.
There are many versions (translations) of the Bible available. We’d suggest you use the ESV (Thusly, thou wilst need to change it from KJV).
One of the nice things about YouVersion is the plethora of reading plans. There are approximately a million of them, and you can get stuck just trying to choose one. Plus, they’re not all created equal. We’d suggest: The Better Reading Plan.
If you prefer a book made from trees, you could order The One Year Devotional NIV New Testament. The perk here is that you’ll be set up for a whole year, not just a month.
We’d recommend the LifeChange series. There is probably one for every book of the Bible. If you need a suggestion, start with John. These workbooks will guide you through a book of the Bible, offering insights, asking you questions, and providing space for you to record your answers.
Another option is to purchase the ESV Study Bible. It’s an investment, but this would give you a solid translation of the Bible along with helpful notes on each page. There are also reading plans in the back. You can simply purchase the online version for less money. But, if you purchase the print version, you also receive a code for free access to the online version.
Grab a book of the Bible, like John, and start reading through it. Each day, take a section of a chapter and work through the Inductive Bible Study method: Observation – Interpretation – Application. Whether in a notebook or on a computer, write notes as you go.
Observation (What does it say?)
- As you begin the book, start out with the big picture: Author – Audience – Occasion. A good study Bible or commentary will help with this step.
o Audience: Who wrote it?
o Audience: To whom was it written?
o Occasion: Why was it written?
- Questions to ask as you read each day:o People(Who?)
o Summary of events(What?)
o Time—related words/phrases (When?)
o Places (Where?)
o Reasons, Purposes, Motives (Why?)
o Means (How?)
Interpretation (What does it mean?)
- What is the meaning within/behind/inside the words, like reading between the lines.
- What do I learn about God.
- What do I learn about my relationship with God
- What is the context? (Those are not stand—alone verses; they were written in a context.
- When it comes to interpreting correctly, context is king.)
o Within the chapter (look at surrounding verses)
o Within the book (don’t forget the Author, Audience, and Occasion)
o Within the Bible (let the Word of God interpret the Word of God)
Application (What should I do?)
- How does God want me to live?
- What steps of obedience do I need to take?