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Bible Study For Beginners: Getting Started Reading The Bible

When it comes to bible study for beginners, few things are more important to our spiritual life. If you’re new to reading the Bible, we've put together a great resource to help you get started right.

If you’re new to reading the Bible, it can be a bit intimidating.

It’s a really big book, thousands of pages long. It was written many years ago and contains words and concepts that can feel foreign.

But here’s the thing: few things are more important to our spiritual life than studying the Bible.

The Bible is God’s word, and if we want to know God, we absolutely must read the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 puts it this way:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Every word of the Bible comes from the living God and is designed to:

  • Teach us who God is so that we love him
  • Equip us to do good works that please and honor God
  • Reprove us when we sin against God
  • Correct us when we wander from God’s good path

There simply is no substitute for regular Bible study.

Consider this a guide to Bible study for beginners.

We’re going to give you simple tips that will help you understand the Bible more clearly and read the Bible on a consistent basis.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Everyone Can Understand The Bible

As we talk about Bible study for beginners, let’s start with some encouragement:

God really wants us to know Him.

God is not hiding or keeping Himself from us. He wants us to know what He’s like and wants to have a personal relationship with us.

He desires that we would obey Him and follow Him for our entire lives. Because God wants us to know Him, He has made the Bible clear so that everyone can understand it. Are there certain parts that are challenging to understand? Of course. But shouldn’t we expect that? We’re dealing with God, after all. If we were able to understand everything, we wouldn’t be dealing with God!

In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, God tells the Israelites:

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

God’s word is simple and clear enough that even children can understand it.

Psalm 119:130 says,

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” The Bible is so clear that even those who are “simple” gain an understanding of God through it.

This truth should deeply motivate us to study the Bible. As we read God’s word, we can be absolutely confident that He will speak to us and show us Himself. We can be sure that God will guide us in His ways and draw us closer to Him.

With this in mind, let’s talk about specific tips related to Bible study for beginners.

Tips For Reading The Bible

Use the following tips to help you in your Bible study. None of these tips are hard and fast rules. Try them and find out which ones work best for you.

Start Small and Be Consistent

When it comes to reading the Bible, it’s better to start small and be consistent than to try to read too much and burn out.

In some ways, Bible study is like exercise. If you want to get in shape, you need to exercise consistently. You stand a much better chance of getting shape if you exercise three times per week for 10 minutes than if you exercise once per month for an hour.

By reading a smaller amount of Scripture, you can spend more time thinking about it and meditating on what it means.

Start small with studying the Bible. Find an amount that you can read consistently and try to stick with it as much as possible. The more consistent you are with reading the Bible, the more you’ll grow in godliness.

Find The Right Time

It’s also very helpful to find a regular time during the day when you can consistently study the Bible. For many people, morning works best, before the distractions and pressures of the day start.

Speaking of his own life, Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

When I wake up in the morning, I greet the Lord, but I don’t try to have my quiet time immediately. I try to get my motor running for a little bit. Now, my motor gets running faster and faster the longer I stay up, and I have to get the cobwebs out of my mind just a little bit. It doesn’t mean that I’m not hungry to meet the Lord. It is that I am hungry to meet the Lord, and I want to meet the Lord at the right time. I find a time that is the optimum time for me.

When is the optimum time for you? Maybe it’s the first thing in the morning or maybe it’s over your lunch break. Maybe it’s at night after your kids go to bed. Try to find a consistent time in your day when you can meet with God and read His word.

Pray As You Read

When it comes to reading the Bible, prayer is absolutely essential. Why is prayer so important? Because we can’t truly understand the Bible unless God helps us. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes so that we can truly see God and know Him.

In Psalm 119:33-34, the Psalmist prays:

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

While you read the Bible, ask God to teach you his ways and give you understanding. Ask Him to help you observe His words with your whole heart. You can be absolutely sure He will answer this prayer.

Use A Study Bible

A study Bible contains both the text of the Bible and notes from pastors and scholars that help further explain what the text means. These notes can be especially helpful in passages that are a bit more difficult to understand.

Study Bibles also usually contain maps related to Biblical geography, as well as pictures of various items found in Scripture. All of these things together can help you gain more understanding of God’s word.

Ask The Right Questions

The Bible isn’t just information to be consumed, like any other book. Rather, the Bible is meant to transform us. When we read the Bible, it should change the way we think and live.

James 1:22-24 puts it this way:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

How can we be sure that we’re doers of the word and not just hearers? Asking the right questions helps.

Adrian Rogers recommended asking the three following questions when reading Scripture:

  • What did it mean then? In other words, how did the original audience understand these verses?
  • How does it apply now? How do the principles from these verses apply today?
  • How does it apply to me personally? How will these verses change my life?

Take Notes

As you read the Bible, take notes. When you read, you can and should expect God to speak personally to you. He’ll bring things to mind as you move through His word, encouraging you, challenging you, and convicting you.

Pastor Rogers said, “If you expect God to give you something, write it down. You’ll be amazed how many wonderful thoughts God will give you. God loves you. God will speak to you.”

Taking notes ensures that you don’t forget the things that God brings to mind.

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A Lifelong Practice

It’s true that studying God’s word takes work. It requires effort to consistently read God’s word and seek to understand it. But it’s incredibly valuable work.

When we read the Bible, God revives our souls, gives us His wisdom, fills our hearts with rejoicing, and enlightens our eyes so we see Him more clearly.

Psalm 19:7-8 says:

The law of the Lord is perfect, [converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes

So open up your Bible and start reading. You won’t regret it!

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