Reading God's Word is a primary avenue in which we can learn more about God. But there are so many ways to study the Bible that it can often become overwhelming. Ask five friends what their Bible intake looks like, and you may get five different answers. The beauty of God's Word is that we will never plumb the depths of it. The more you read the Bible, the more you realize there is much to learn from it. There is great value to studying God's Word in a variety of ways using resources like Bible reading plans, topical studies, and book-specific Bible studies–but where should we start?
Read wide: Why you should use a Bible reading plan
Whether you've been reading the Bible for years or this is your first time, utilizing a Bible reading plan is a great way to get into God's Word. Here at The Daily Grace Co., we see so much value in reading through the Bible that we've provided a reading plan and a podcast, A Year in the Bible, to accompany it.
Below are three benefits we experience when we read through the entire Bible.
- Using a reading plan breeds familiarity and consistency.
A Bible reading plan can build a consistent rhythm of spending time in God's Word. It also provides the opportunity to read sections of Scripture that we might otherwise avoid. (Leviticus, anyone?) As you read the Bible year after year, you will become more familiar with those harder sections.
- Using a reading plan points us to God's story of redemption.
As you read through the Bible, you may see connections to passages you've previously read. Reading larger sections of Scripture will root you in the context of the book you are reading, and it will help you to see the greater context of the Bible as a whole. Reading from Genesis to Revelation draws us into God's story of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here are some suggestions to make the most out of your Bible reading plan:
- Listen to an audio version of the Bible as you read. It will help you stay on track, especially when you get to difficult passages or if your mind tends to wander.
- Process what you are learning. Grab a few friends and discuss what you are reading. Take time to write it down using a journal or a resource like The Story of Redemptionstudy, which follows our reading plan.
- Don't be discouraged when you fall behind. Build in catch-up days if you need to, or ignore dates assigned to the readings. A reading plan is just a tool to help you so adapt it to serve you best as you read His Word.
- Read deep: Why you should study books of the Bible
As you work your way through a reading plan, you may find yourself wanting to stop and learn more in a particular section of the Bible. While a reading plan helps us to read Scripture widely at a fairly quick pace, studying a book in-depth affords the opportunity to slow down and sit in a particular book or genre. Here are a few benefits of doing an in-depth study:
Studying refines Bible study skills. By camping out in one particular area of Scripture, there is time to engage our curiosity and go on deep dives into particular topics or doctrines. We are able to utilize a variety of study skills, like repetitive reading, identifying key words, looking up cross-references, and more. There is time to engage your curiosity and go on deep dives into particular topics or doctrines. A resource likeSearch the Wordis great for developing and practicing these types of Bible study skills.
Studying builds biblical literacy. When we take the time to go deep in a book or passage, we will see things we may have missed otherwise. We will be able to build upon and expand our biblical knowledge as we dig into certain books or genres of Scripture. Over time, you'll look back to see how much the Lord has taught you as a result of a deep intentional study in His Word.
Below are some practical tips as you study a book or passage of the Bible:
- Identify the context. Keep in mind the original audience, the author's purpose in writing the book, and the setting in which it was written.
- Trace the biblical themes. Look for repeated words and concepts that support the author's purpose.
- Look for Christ. See how the text points you to the gospel and His finished work on the cross.
The discipline of reading God's Word is a worthy lifelong endeavor. It does not always come easily or naturally. No matter where you start, whether you do a reading plan or a Bible study, being in God's Word will bear fruit in your life. It may not feel like it at times, but we can trust that God's Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). It has the power to change us whether we spend five minutes in the Word or we spend five hours. Reading the Word of God will always reap a reward in our lives.