Reading the Bible can be a challenge for a lot of Christians. The Bible is a big book and can be overwhelming. It is made up of sixty-six smaller books between the Old and New Testaments. Churches frequently push their members to read the Bible with good reason, but for many reasons it is hard for people sometimes to read the Bible. Another problem that arises is that sometimes we are overwhelmed by the numbers and styles of Bibles out there. If one goes to a Christian bookstore or even Wal-Mart they can find dozens of Bible types, styles, prints, and shapes. It can be overwhelming. Let’s try to cut the problem down to size.
The main thing with Bible reading is to read the Bible. That sounds trite, but it is true. Often times one doesn’t know how to start reading the Bible. There are programs for reading the Bible. There is the “One Year Bible” in a few different versions to help people read the whole Bible in a year. These are great tools that can be very helpful. For the new Christian it is a good idea to read the New Testament first, starting with the book of John, followed by the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Psalms are easy to read in the Old Testament as are Genesis and Exodus for the new Christian. Most of the plans for reading the Bible in a year asks a person to read three chapters of the Old Testament and two chapters of the New.
The one year plans are great for some people. It helps them get into the Bible, but this mode has limits. Sometimes when one has to read so many chapters it becomes a matter of just trying to speed read instead of reading at a moderate pace that allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Five speed read chapters may not have the same spiritual impact that one carefully read chapter does. Another problem with the chapter quota system is that chapter and verse divisions do not always follow the flow of the passage and can be arbitrary at times. One may miss the whole thought of the passage because they cut off at verse one of the first chapter. One can also develop a sense of pride in knowing that they have read the whole Bible twenty times, fifty times, or more from such a plan.
My own life experience has been to stress quality over quantity. Every morning and every evening I try to read at least one chapter, but even a couple verses means you are reading God’s word and listening to Him. If the Lord leads and the reading takes longer than a chapter, then so be it. Let the Holy Spirit lead and learn from Him.
The next concern is the type of Bible. Dr. Woodrow Kroll at Back to the Bible made the statement about what the best Bible was that the best Bible was the “read one.” Certainly there is opinion about different translations and their accuracy such as between the New American Standard or New King James Version as opposed to the New International Version. There are different opinions about “word for word” translations versus “dynamic equivalence,” or “paraphrase” Bibles. Some people were raised on the King James Version Bible and this is the Bible they like. There are different kinds of Bible styles such as for women, men, kids. There are study Bibles, parallel Bibles, and rainbow colored Bibles. The main point is that any of these Bibles will help you better understand God and grow spiritually. The main thing is to just read the Bible.
Go ahead, read it.