I Want To Read the Bible. How Do I Start?

girl reading book

“Hey, Preacher, I have a question. Where does it say in the Bible…?” My younger sister, recently shaken by a traumatic experience that left her emotionally and spiritually wounded, asked me this. In his state of hurt, she had expressed ‘I want to read the Bible’ but struggled with where and how to start his journey in seeking answers and hope.

For many, like my sister, approaching the Bible can feel intimidating, perplexing, and overwhelming. Its vastness, consisting of 66 books, letters, and narratives, can seem like a labyrinth. The question then arises, where should one start when they express ‘I want to read the Bible’?


  • Approaching the Bible can be intimidating due to its vast and complex content, but it’s a crucial journey for spiritual and emotional healing.
  • Reading the Bible is essential to understand God’s plan of redemption and Jesus Christ’s role in liberating humanity from sin.
  • For beginners, starting points in the Bible include the Gospels, the Epistles, and Genesis, each offering unique insights into Christian faith.
  • Practical Bible reading strategies involve setting a routine, starting with manageable sections, reflecting on readings, and praying for understanding.
  • The Bible is more than a book; it’s a transformative guide that connects readers with God’s teachings, offering hope and direction in times of need.

Before we delve into where it’s essential to understand the why:

Why Read the Bible

I Want To Read the Bible

1. To know God and his plan of redemption

Starting with Genesis, you are swiftly drawn into the grand narrative of a supreme, compassionate, loving God who reveals Himself. The Bible holds God’s own words, making them authentic, truthful, and reliable (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible also unveils our true nature before a holy God: sinful and flawed, estranged from Him. Yet, it brings glorious news: through faith in Jesus Christ, redemption and reconciliation become attainable.

2. To know Jesus and freedom from sin

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth to atone for the sins that alienated us from Him. Through Jesus’s selfless sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, our sins are pardoned, and our relationship with God is mended.

The Bible’s purpose is to lead us to “believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). By understanding Jesus through the Bible, we are liberated from the shackles of sin and death (John 8:31-32).

How to Read the Bible

1. Start with a Gospel, an epistle, or Genesis

The Gospels

For newcomers, starting with one of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John – is ideal. These books, meaning “good news,” are the perfect introduction to Jesus Christ in His human form. They chronicle His life on earth, His death, burial, and resurrection. But which Gospel to begin with?

Mark is a great choice for a concise read. Its 16 chapters rapidly cover the key events of Jesus’s life. While it’s less detailed than the other Gospels, Mark provides a swift summary of Jesus’s life and mission.

For a deeper dive into Jesus’s life and mission, consider the Gospel of John. Written by John, it unequivocally portrays Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of humanity, and the Author of our salvation.

The Epistles

Alternatively, you might start with an epistle like Ephesians or Colossians. Most of these letters were penned by Paul, an Apostle, to various groups across the Mediterranean. Paul’s epistles are written to guide, caution, and encourage new Christians, offering practical advice on living as a follower of Christ.


If beginning at the very start appeals to you, then Genesis is your book. It narrates the dawn of time and history. In just the first three chapters, you’ll meet God as the Sovereign Creator and learn about the onset of sin, its impact on humanity, our separation from God, and the initiation of redemption. Genesis lays the foundation for the Bible’s incredible narrative.

2. Start with a plan

Choose a time

Select a part of your day for Bible reading. Perhaps early morning, before the rest of your family wakes, in the quiet of your home. Maybe it’s during your lunch break at work or late at night before sleeping. Commit to daily reading to build the habit of consistently engaging with God’s Word.

find a spot

Pick a cozy (but not overly so!) place for your reading: be it your favorite armchair, sofa, desk, or kitchen table. Regularly reading in the same spot will make this area your cherished (and most sacred) reading nook.

Gather Tools

Equip your reading space with everything you might need: a pen, highlighters, your journal, and definitely your coffee. However, remember, all you truly need is an open Bible to start.

3. Start slow

Begin with small sections of the Bible: perhaps a lengthy passage or a single chapter daily. Spend around 10-15 minutes reading. Avoid overwhelming yourself by trying to read an entire book in one go (not just yet, anyway). Relish each word and phrase. Reflect on what you’ve read. Contemplate it. You might even write about it. Journaling can be an excellent way to articulate your thoughts, emotions, prayers, and praises.

Also, remember to seek practical applications in your reading: be it a promise to embrace, a caution to consider, or a directive to follow. Applying these spiritual insights is what helps transition from sinfulness to sanctification, shaping you into the likeness of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28).

4. Start with prayer

Welcome the Holy Spirit, whom you embraced upon accepting Jesus, into your precious moments of Bible reading. As your “helper” (John 14:26), one of his roles is to educate you in “all things” (John 14:26) and to “lead you into all truth” (John 16:13). It’s prudent to rely on his assistance for insight and interpretation of the Scriptures.

Embracing the guidance of the Holy Spirit enhances your understanding and deepens your connection with the Word. He illuminates the text, bringing clarity to complex passages and revealing the deeper meanings behind the scriptures. This divine assistance not only aids in comprehension but also enriches your spiritual journey, making each reading session a transformative experience that nurtures your faith and growth in Christ.

Understanding Different Bible Translations

The Bible has been translated into numerous languages and versions, each offering a unique perspective and level of readability. Understanding the differences can help you choose a translation that aligns with your comprehension and study needs.

Literal Translations (Word-for-Word)

These translations aim to closely follow the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Examples include the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV). They are ideal for in-depth study but can be challenging for daily reading due to complex language.

Dynamic Equivalence Translations (Thought-for-Thought)

These versions, like the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT), prioritize conveying the thoughts and ideas of the original texts in a more contemporary language. They strike a balance between readability and accuracy, suitable for both study and devotional reading.

Paraphrased Translations

Paraphrases like The Message (MSG) rephrase the original texts in modern language and idioms. While highly readable, they may lose some of the nuances of the original texts. These are best used alongside more literal translations for comprehensive understanding.

Study Bibles

These editions, available in various translations, include additional resources such as commentary, historical context, and explanatory notes. They are beneficial for beginners and those seeking deeper understanding.

When choosing a translation, consider your purpose (study, devotion, or general reading) and your familiarity with biblical language. You may also consult with church leaders or experienced Bible scholars for recommendations.

Challenging or controversial passages in the Bible can be perplexing. Here’s how to approach them:

  1. Context is Key: Understand the historical and cultural context in which the passage was written. Consider the author’s intent, the audience, and the societal norms of the time.
  2. Compare Translations: Different translations can offer varied perspectives on a difficult passage. Comparing them can provide a fuller understanding.
  3. Seek Trusted Commentary: Consult commentaries from reputable scholars or theologians. They can offer insights into the linguistic, historical, and theological aspects of the text.
  4. Pray for Understanding: Before and during your study, pray for wisdom and discernment. The Holy Spirit can guide your understanding and interpretation.
  5. Discuss with Others: Engage in discussions with a study group or mentors. Different viewpoints can shed light on complex passages.
  6. Accept the Mystery: Some passages may remain difficult to fully understand. It’s important to accept that not every aspect of the Bible will be completely clear and that faith often involves embracing some level of mystery.

More Than A Good Book

The Bible stands as more than a mere good book; it’s the Book of Life, guiding us toward life in Jesus Christ. It opens the door to understanding God’s majestic glory, our own flawed nature, and the path to redemption and healing.

How will you today delve into the Bible’s depths, discovering God and Jesus, redemption, and renewal for your weary, sin-burdened soul?

As you embark on this journey through the Bible, let each page bring you closer to the heart of God’s teachings. Let the scriptures resonate with your experiences, offering solace, wisdom, and direction. The Bible isn’t just a historical or religious text; it’s a living, breathing guide that speaks directly to the human condition, offering hope and solace in times of need.

Consider sharing your experiences and reflections in the comment section below. Whether it’s an inspiring verse that touched you or a question about the passages you read, your insights can foster a community of learning and spiritual growth. What passages have moved you? What lessons have you gleaned from your reading today?

Your journey through the Bible is not just a personal journey; it’s a shared experience that can inspire and uplift others.


How Do I Start Reading The Bible?

To start reading the Bible, you can begin by selecting a specific book or starting with a Bible reading plan. It’s important to establish a regular habit of reading the Bible and to incorporate prayer into your study. There are also various online resources and study guides available to help beginners navigate the Bible.

Why Should I Read The Bible?

There are several reasons why reading the Bible is beneficial. Firstly, it allows us to know God and understand His plan of redemption for humanity. Secondly, it helps us to know Jesus and find freedom from sin through His sacrifice. The Bible provides guidance, wisdom, and encouragement for our daily lives.

What Are Some Tips For Reading The Bible?

Here are a few tips for reading the Bible: 1. Start with a Gospel, an epistle, or the book of Genesis. 2. Consider using a Bible reading plan to guide your study. 3. Start slow and don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to read a few verses or a chapter at a time. 4. Begin each reading session with prayer to ask for guidance and understanding.

Why Is The Bible More Than Just A Good Book?

The Bible holds tremendous significance and has a transformative impact on people’s lives. It contains the teachings and messages that can bring about positive change, spiritual growth, and a strengthening of faith. Many individuals have experienced the life-changing power of the Bible and testify to its profound influence.

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