The Bible is an ancient collection of 66 books that chronicles the lives of generations who encountered God. It tells tales of underdogs, outcasts, and broken people who found liberation through a loving and holy God.
Many people avoid reading the Bible due to its size and perceived difficulty. But it can actually be quite straightforward and enjoyable to read.
The Old Testament
The Bible is an enormous book, and it can be daunting to know where to begin. Yet knowing how to read it properly is vital if you don’t have a thorough grasp on its narrative framework. Without understanding, you could quickly get lost or feel uninspired when trying to follow along with scripture.
The Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, contains a series of books that chronicle the story of ancient Israel. Living in an area undergoing constant change, they developed their own distinct culture and history that set them apart from surrounding societies.
They lived under a covenant, or legal agreement with God, that promised protection from the dangers of their environment. Eventually however, this covenant would expire and Israel would be exiled from their homeland.
God spoke to Israel during their exile through a series of prophets. These prophesies warned them what could come their way during this period and also predicted an impending King who would restore Israel.
The Old Testament contains two primary types of books: narrative stories and prophets. Narratives tell stories about people, such as Abraham and Sarah’s tale.
These stories contain many morality lessons that teach us how to live righteously. These books, often referred to as the “moral law,” include classic classics like Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Judges.
People may also wish to investigate the “deuterocanonical writings,” commonly referred to as the Apocrypha. These books, written in Greek and translated into the Hebrew Bible by scribes working in Alexandria, Egypt between 3rd and 1st centuries b.c., were widely accepted by early Christians despite not being part of the canon of the Hebrew Bible.
These books, also referred to as “Wisdom Literature” or “Biblical Poetry,” explore topics like faith, love, and sacrificial living. They offer an insightful look into God’s character and can give you new insights into your own life.
Though these books may seem complex to decipher, they are essential elements of the Old Testament’s message of hope. These passages reveal God’s people have sinned and need salvation; ultimately, they point us towards Jesus Christ as the only One who can save us from our sins.
The New Testament
The Bible is an expansive collection of books written by various authors with differing viewpoints and purposes. Yet all these texts are connected by one overarching theme – God’s redemptive work to rescue and restore us to a relationship with Himself through Jesus.
At first, reading the entire Bible may seem intimidating, especially if you’re new to the practice of daily Bible reading. But with just five or ten minutes a day dedicated to it, you’ll soon be finished with this monumental task!
Start reading a small section of a book at a time. This is an effective way to absorb the main message of one Bible passage and then move on to the next. Plus, it makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve read if you happen to miss any days along the way.
For example, if you’re new to the bible, start with the gospels which recount Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. These brief accounts are an ideal starting point since they’re easily understandable and emphasize salvation through Christ.
Another option is to select several chapters from different Bible books and read them chronologically, which will enable you to see how they connect. This method works best for newcomers who don’t want to become too overwhelmed with information.
It is essential to remember that the Bible contains many words, making it difficult for readers to stay focused for extended periods of time. That is why it’s best to pace yourself and use a Bible you can read at your own speed.
For optimal comprehension, read through the Bible from beginning to end in one year. This will enable you to complete all books of Scripture and comprehend God’s redemptive plan from beginning to end.
By the end of this year, you’ll feel like an expert Bible scholar and understand how Jesus fits into God’s grand design for humanity. By understanding the story from beginning to end, you’ll know its relevance for Jesus’ sake.
If you’re just starting to read through the Bible or have been doing so regularly, it can be challenging to know how long it will take. The answer depends largely on how you approach the book and what you’re reading.
The Psalms are an essential part of the Bible, offering wisdom and direction for daily living. Not only that, but they make excellent resources for prayer as well.
Reading the Psalms aloud not only helps you comprehend their message, but it also allows you to hear the words as they were intended to be heard.
Another helpful practice is to recite each Psalm in its proper order, thus familiarizing yourself with their sequence. Doing this will assist you when memorizing or reflecting upon each psalm.
For new believers, it may be beneficial to start with the longest psalm in the Bible – Psalm 119. With 176 verses, it provides a good introduction to the length of the entire book.
If you’re a more advanced reader or would like to dive deeper into Scripture, start with shorter psalms such as Psalm 1. Not only will these have fewer verses, but they’ll give an understanding of how each psalm is composed and its theme.
People who struggle to pray may find this approach especially beneficial. By looking at their situation from the Bible and considering its meaning in light of personal experiences, they’ll gain new perspectives about their situation.
In addition, the Bible is frequently divided into sections that highlight different themes such as the law or prophets. The Psalms follow suit in this regard and are organized similarly to sections found within the law.
For instance, in the law there is a section called “commandments” or “statutes.” This can be seen as an outline of God’s demands upon us. On the other hand, in the psalms we find much broader scope of what He expects of us.
The Proverbs is a book of wisdom literature found in the Old Testament. It is one of several biblical books that deal with wisdom, such as Job, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. These works are considered poetic rather than narrative in nature and their main purpose is to impart knowledge rather than simply tell stories.
According to Proverbs, a wise person is one who reveres God and applies His truths. Those who live their lives with this perspective will strive to live life in such a way that pleases God.
Wisdom comes from God and is a gift to those who accept it. The Proverbs offer practical advice rooted in God’s Word that will guide you towards living an abundantly happy and successful life.
King Solomon imparted much of the wisdom found in Proverbs, though other writers such as Agur (Proverbs 30:1) and Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1) also contributed to its compilation. These proverbs were composed no earlier than Hezekiah’s reign in the eighth century b.c.
Proverbs are concise expressions that communicate a universal truth, often drawn from experience or philosophy. They’re sometimes referred to as sententious sentences, maxims, old sayings or epigrams.
Like other biblical texts, the Proverbs must be read in context. The entire book should be read as a cohesive unit to fully appreciate its meaning; knowing its background helps us interpret each unit more fully.
Proverbs 1: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. This principle serves as our starting point for living a life full of discernment and avoiding foolishness.
The second step in attaining true wisdom is a dedication to God’s law. This commitment can only be fulfilled through obedience to His words and seeking out His guidance.
As we develop in wisdom, it will become easier for us to spot the signs of true wisdom in those around us and take appropriate action accordingly. Doing so allows us to lead a more godly life filled with peace and contentment.