I have been thinking of writing a how-to series on studying the Bible. This literary tome comes across a little intimidating, even for those who grew up hearing stories of David and Goliath in Sunday School.
My experience has taught me to release the fear and simply open the book, trusting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct my reading and understanding. My education included a study of biblical history, literature, continuity, and languages (well, not the actual languages, but I do know that the scriptures were originally penned in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek).
Yet I must confess a little secret: the book continues to intimidate me. Just as with jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool, I have to pause and mentally gather myself each time I open it. All too often, this leads to a lack of reading. And those who don’t read it do not experience its transformative power.
The first step of this hypothetical how-to series for unlocking the Bible should keep it basic and simple, don’t you agree? I think I’ve got it right here.
How To Study the Bible, Step 1: Just Do It.
Seriously, just sit down, open it, and read.
- Need a place to start? Try reading a Psalm a day. Or a few verses in Proverbs.
- Need a book? Check out You Version online. It's free, and you can even access it from your mobile phone! I will tell you, this is the secret to my success this time around. I have chosen to read the New Living Translation.
Today I start Day 12 of 90, already in Numbers 20. By the end of Day 15, I will have read through the entire Torah, the first five books. As I read, I highlight random verses, copy them to a notepad, and add a quick note of: “Well this is odd” or “I love how these two things happen close together!” But that kind of interaction can also wait for another day. I certainly don’t wait until I feel scholarly before plowing into each day’s reading; the whole point of Gulping is to give myself permission to just read. For now, the important thing is to get over the pause, and crack the Good Book open.
What are you waiting for? Go read a bit, then come back and tell me what you found!