FIRST-PERSON: Start reading the Bible
The book of 2 Timothy says that "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). While the apostle Paul wrote those words specifically about the Old Testament, they apply to the New Testament as well.
Regardless of where you begin reading, God guarantees that the words on the page are true, sent from Him and powerful to change your life.
Still, different Bible reading plans are better suited for different people. Here are a few methods to consider:
-- Read through the entire Bible in a year using a reading calendar. You can find many plans online for covering every single verse in one year.
-- To read at a slower pace, use a one-year plan but only read half of the assignment each day. This helps some people understand and apply what they read more effectively. And it will take you through the Bible in two years.
-- Start in one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and read a chapter each day. These books tell the story of Jesus' life on earth and are a great place to learn about following Him.
-- Start at the beginning. Begin with Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and read Scripture in the order it is presented. Go at your own pace.
-- Have the Bible emailed to you. Through a website such as Bible Gateway, you can have daily Scripture readings sent directly to your inbox. Without having to carry around a copy of the Bible, you can still read through either the New Testament or the entire Bible in a year.
-- Use a chronological Bible to read Scripture in the order it occurred. Though standard Bibles are roughly chronological, some events happened in a different order than they are ordered in the Bible. For instance, the events in 1 Chronicles happened before the events in 2 Kings even though standard Bibles place 2 Kings first. A chronological Bible helps you understand the timing of Scripture's storyline.
Beyond these, there are many other ways to approach the Bible which you can discover through a quick Internet search. They help you experience the blessings that come from studying the greatest book ever written. May it be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).
David Roach is a writer in Shelbyville, Ky. This column first appeared at the blog of Bible Mesh, a website that teaches the Bible as a unified story pointing to Christ (online at www.biblemesh.com/blog).