how to read the bible

(25 Posts)
Itscurtainsforyou Wed 03-Aug-16 00:47:26

I'm what might be described as a woolly liberal Christian, but over the last few days have had a strong urge to read the bible hmm

So I'm going to give it a go, but would really appreciate it if anyone has recommendations on study guides, daily readings etc - I don't really want to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end as I think some Old Testament books would completely finish me off...

All suggestions welcomed smile

Madhairday Wed 03-Aug-16 09:16:36

Yes I wouldn't start with Genesis and plough through! Its great that you're feeling this urge to read the Bible.

A good place to start is the gospels, I often read a bit of Gospel plus a psalm each day. There are reading guides out there which set this out for eg the one year bible (on tablet so can't link atm) which give say a psalm, OT and NT reading for the day and that's one way to do it but can still be a little dry. I've found reading through the NT while reading a psalm or smaller chunk of OT to be a good pattern. I'm sure some other folk will have some good recommendations.

smile

niminypiminy Wed 03-Aug-16 09:23:01

I think you're right not to just start at the beginning (although at some point it's a great idea to do a whole read through of the Bible).

I would start by reading one of the gospels - either Mark or Luke. Try and read it slowly, just a few verses at a time. Read slowly and let any questions and thoughts occur to you. You might find it helpful to invest in a journaling Bible which has lots of space for you to write thoughts, questions, prayers, ideas and so on. Don't rush, take it slowly. Try to get into a little and often pattern.

There are loads of reading plans and notes out there, but the one I have found most useful is Reflections for Daily Prayer which you can get as a book or - what I use - an app. It links to two Bible passages each day plus one of the psalms, and has a short reflection.

For more ideas about starting to pray and read the Bible Re:Jesus is a really good resource.

Good luck - come back and let us know how you get on! We have had some wonderful Bible study threads here on MN - who knows, you could start another one!

Tom Wright has written a 'For Everyone' series so you could try 'Luke for Everyone' and see if that resonates for you.

semideponent Wed 03-Aug-16 10:30:06

I loved Paula Gooder's book, 'Heaven'. She's written some others as well about e.g. the Pentateuch, Hosea to Micah that you could read alongside the text itself.

mathsmum314 Wed 03-Aug-16 19:28:16

Don't read all of the Bible fully through without someone interpreting for you, you might get the wrong impression and think its a bit 'Barbaric'.

PaintedDrivesAndPolishedGrass Wed 03-Aug-16 19:38:35

You should really read it all the way through instead of cherry picking. It reads as barbaric because it is! I'm not a christian but have read it ( more than once).

karalime Wed 03-Aug-16 19:54:44

When I first started trying to be a Christian I was given a Gideon NT bible and I followed daily guide inside the cover.

It took me nearly 2 years but I finished it, and I am now an athiest. 10/10 would recommend.

Itscurtainsforyou Wed 03-Aug-16 20:28:43

Thanks all - have had a look and have a few ideas where to start. I do want to read it all but possibly not in order (chapters like kings and Leviticus would have me grinding to a halt quickly - I need to mix it up a bit smile)

I like one of the recommendations that gives NT, OT and a psalm each day - that seems manageable.

niminypiminy Wed 03-Aug-16 20:30:46

I love the Old Testament! I love even the really horrible bits, even the stories of violence and murder. That doesn't mean I actually love reading about violence and murder - much less, IMO, than people who love to watch very violent horror films).

But violence is part of human life, and all human life really is there in the Old Testament. It's an epic (in all senses of the word) tale of humans' relationship with God; mixed up with profound poetry, wisdom, dreams and visions, songs of despair and rejoicing... As I say, I really love it. All of it.

niminypiminy Wed 03-Aug-16 20:31:01

I love the Old Testament! I love even the really horrible bits, even the stories of violence and murder. That doesn't mean I actually love reading about violence and murder - much less, IMO, than people who love to watch very violent horror films).

But violence is part of human life, and all human life really is there in the Old Testament. It's an epic (in all senses of the word) tale of humans' relationship with God; mixed up with profound poetry, wisdom, dreams and visions, songs of despair and rejoicing... As I say, I really love it. All of it.

niminypiminy Wed 03-Aug-16 20:31:39

I love the Old Testament! I love even the really horrible bits, even the stories of violence and murder. That doesn't mean I actually love reading about violence and murder - much less, IMO, than people who love to watch very violent horror films).

But violence is part of human life, and all human life really is there in the Old Testament. It's an epic (in all senses of the word) tale of humans' relationship with God; mixed up with profound poetry, wisdom, dreams and visions, songs of despair and rejoicing... As I say, I really love it. All of it.

niminypiminy Wed 03-Aug-16 20:32:32

Oops sorry for triple post - wifi is playing up!

Woodburningstove Wed 03-Aug-16 23:19:35

I have found this book. www.eden.co.uk/jesus-calling/?site_id=162348&matchtype=e&creative=74487478824&network=g&adposition=1t2&keyword=jesus%20calling&device=m&gclid=CLWHzqajps4CFcOfGwodZfsDzg
A great help. It has some notes and then some biblical references to look up if you choose. It's supposed to be daily but I don't do it every day.

Atenco Thu 04-Aug-16 03:11:56

I agree niminypiminy

As an adult some of the bits I hated as a child come back to me as descriptive of our reality.

For example when it says "the sins of the fathers will visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation", I feel that it is describes how traumas and suchlike come down through the generations.

Madhairday Thu 04-Aug-16 09:18:40

I agree too niminy, it really does show humanity at its very starkest, doesn't it. I love that it's a developing understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God and with each other and how to live well in community. And how to truly mess stuff up as well, and how God is so full of grace and mercy through the darkest of times. I love it all even though some parts are painful (or tedious) to read because it makes up this whole where life is displayed in so much fullness - then Jesus comes along and makes sense of it all smile

From what you say, OP, I think The Bible in One Year would suit you very well. You get 3 extracts from the Bible a day, a short one, usually from Psalms, a longer one from the New Testament and quite a long one from the Old Testament. All are on a theme and there's a brief commentary. You'll find it on the Holy Trinity Brompton (htb) website. If you follow the links, you get it as a daily email. I've been reading it for about 3 years now, the first year I read the first and sometimes the second extract, plus the commentary, the second year I also read some of the OT extracts and this year I'm filling in the gaps.

mrspotatolegs Mon 08-Aug-16 05:19:31

I tried the Bible in One Year app but Nicky Gumbel's commentary irritated me. Now I read every day but what takes my fancy. I'm working through the NT, not quite in order, but mostly (e.g. Acts after Luke because it's like Luke book 2, then John). And I read Psalms often, Proverbs a bit and other bits of OT as and when they come up - e.g. Following up a thought from a sermon, or because of a quote on Twitter, or because someone recommended something. I think I'll finish the NT by Christmas, though the OT will take a lot longer. I might try something more thorough once I've read all the bits I don't need to be told to read iyswim!

mrspotatolegs Mon 08-Aug-16 05:20:16

And I would join in a bible study thread here if you want to start one. smile

cockneydad Sat 13-Aug-16 10:25:26

I don't identify as a Christian, I teach Buddhist meditation, am into modern non-dual teachings and also have a lot of respect for Unitarianism - I'm a bit of an ecletic. I keep having the urge to pick up a bible and read some, even dreamt of it a couple of times. Have no idea why, or where to start! Most of my religious/spiritual reading has been Buddhist/Taoist.

GinandJag Sat 27-Aug-16 14:57:47

There is a really good bible study guide produced by Alpha, called the Bible in 30 days (owtte). It takes you through 30 key passages, starting with The Parable of the Sower, and explains them in detail. The passages are all in the book, so you don't need to juggle your bible alongside.

The idea of the book is to give you skills for your own bible reading, so after 30 days you should feel fairly confident. A key thing, though, is to do bible study alongside other Christians.

IAmNotTheMessiah Mon 29-Aug-16 10:36:59

Here you go!

BoxofSnails Tue 30-Aug-16 01:38:24

cockneydad God has long used dreams to speak to people - no reason to think it's not still happening today.
The first time I read thru the whole Bible I did cover to cover which takes it in historical order so you get the bits of kings/chronicles alongside the psalms that were written then and the stories at the same time in Samuel etc. I wasn't 'churched' as a child so didn't really know the Sunday school Bible stories very well , so it was really useful to get an overarching view of things chronologically as they happened. There were short commentary notes too.

Now I use a mixture of Tom Wright's 'for everyone' studies and have just started a new set of study notes from 10ofthose - undated studies on a range of Bible books. The OT and NT have to take turns in our house!

powershowerforanhour Tue 30-Aug-16 01:44:01

I'd just read the NT, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The rest of the OT gives me the rage.

Jaytee38 Fri 16-Sep-16 13:38:48

Im not a new Christian but have struggled to find a daily reading book that suits me. I literally have loads if them in my house. I've just ordered this one and i hope it's a real help in developing my Christian growth

www.scriptureunion.org.uk/162224.id#.V9vm7xnTXqB

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