Studying the Bible is a very important activity for Christians. And what is more important than just the act of reading the Bible is learning what you get out of it. The benefits of solid Bible study and understanding the scriptures are enormous. This ultimate guide to how to start reading the bible and demonstrating what you’ll get out of it is designed to create good study habits.
For people who have not studied the Bible, this huge book can be very intimidating. There is so much information in it that no man will ever know it all, but we can become familiar with the messages God is trying to tell us by participating in regular Bible studies. If you were fortunate enough to have parents who helped you learn the Bible as a child, taking on serious Bible study habits won’t be as difficult. But for people wanting to begin the practice of studying the Bible, it may be hard to know where to begin.
There are many ways to begin to learn what’s in the Bible and how it applies to your life, some ways are more difficult than others. This guide is going to help people who are brand new Bible study students get started quickly and in a meaningful way.
We developed this ultimate Bible study guide to answer some of the most challenging questions that new Bible students often ask:
- What is the Holy Bible?
- What’s in the Bible and who was it written for?
- Why should I study the Bible?
- How do I get started studying the Bible?
- What role does Bible study play in a Christian’s life?
What is the Holy Bible?
The Holy Bible is the religious book of the Christians. It contains the history of creation and all the characters that were documented as examples of how to live a holy life in the presence of one supreme God – YHWH.
It also contains the scriptures that make up the life principles that teach how to relate to YHWH and how to live with each other in love. As a matter of fact, the Bible says of itself that its contents are given by inspiration from God and is profitable doctrine for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness so that it will equip man for every good work.
The Bible is one of the most influential books in history and studied more than any book ever written. Today the Bible is still the best-selling book of all time. The Bible has been translated into more than 2,000 languages and dialects, and it has been printed more than 5 billion times.
What’s in the Bible and who was it written for?
The Bible is a collection of ancient texts and contains 66 books. The original text was written by more than 40 authors in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books).
The Old Testament covers events from creation to about 500 BC (Before Christ) and tells the story of God’s people before Jesus came to earth and includes stories about Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, David as king of Israel, and many more.
The New Testament covers events from about 500 BC to about 100 AD (After the Death of Christ) and tells about Jesus coming to earth as a baby in Bethlehem, his teachings while he was alive on earth for three years, his death on a cross outside Jerusalem at Calvary Hill (also called Golgotha), his resurrection and ascension to Heaven.
The Bible was written for everyone. It has a universal appeal and speaks to all of humanity. But everyone does not ascribe to its teachings and God knew this before a word was written. But it is made available to anyone who wants to know and understand the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and for those who want to be part of the largest religion in the world – Christianity, which is 1/3 of the planet’s population.
Why You Should Study the Bible
The Bible is a book inspired by God and written as a letter of instruction and wisdom for us while we live on this earth. We are spirits having a human experience and at the end of this journey, God wants us to return home to Him, our Creator. By studying the Bible people can navigate this life along a path, guided by the teachings of the Bible that leads to life with God at the end of this lifetime.
Studying the Bible has many great benefits such as:
- Learning how to communicate and build a relationship with YHWH
- Building a strong faith in the promises of God
- Learning how to become pure and righteous which is pleasing to God
- Positioning oneself to receive the blessings and favor of God and man
- Developing spiritual power and strength to endure the trials of this life and schemes of evil
- Gaining an instruction and correction on issues of character and morals
- Developing wisdom and truth for effectively living with people who don’t believe in God
- Supporting mental stability in the areas of love, hope, and joy
- Discovering one’s purpose in this life
There are many wonderful advantages of studying the Bible, and although there are many common benefits, God deals with each person individually which means personal experiences may vary.
How do I get started studying the Bible?
Some people don’t read and study the Bible because they don’t know where to begin. Believe it or not, this is the easy part. Just get started. You don’t need to start at the beginning. Most of the Bible is not presented in chronological order. But Genesis is the beginning and Revelations is the end. All the books in between are not necessarily in order. Here are some suggestions that can help jump-start the development of Bible study habits for new students:
Choose a version of the Bible that is good for new students.
The Bible is the most translated, published, and distributed book in the world. There are many different versions of the Bible in different languages and choosing a version to begin studying can be confusing. The best study bibles for beginners are those that can provide the right context and background knowledge to help with comprehension.
A good study Bible for beginners should be easy to read which is why the King James Version, although widely adopted may not be the best choice. This version of the Bible gets new readers lost in all the “thees and thous”, and is not recommended for new Bible study students.
One of the most popular translations of the Bible for new students is the New International Version (NIV). It is written in contemporary English, so it’s easier to understand than other versions.
Another great choice is the New Living Translation (NLT) which is also a good choice for beginners because it has modern language and easy-to-read fonts. The NLT also uses gender-inclusive language, which is helpful for understanding passages that refer to God as “He.”
New Bible study students will do well in selecting one of these versions.
Start out slow.
Don’t try to take on too much too soon. Remember there are 66 books in the Bible and more than 31,000 verses. That’s a lot of information. Just take it slowly at the beginning and before you know it, you will be taking on larger portions of the scriptures in one sitting.
Begin with a time limit.
Because there is so much information in the Bible, setting a 30-minute time limit at first will help you feel you are accomplishing a goal each time you complete a session.
Let your curiosity lead the way.
Most people, whether Christian or not, have heard of a Bible story or character. A good way to get started with a Bible study routine is to search for a particular person or story and begin there. This helps the new student have a point of familiarity and getting started will feel less intimidating. To get started, here are a few of the most popular characters in the Bible. These character’s stories can be found by searching the index in the back of the Bible:
- King David
- John the Baptist
- Paul the Apostle
Start with getting to know the structure of the Bible.
New Bible study students, especially in a controlled learning environment begin their journey through the Bible with an overview of the entire text. This helps to navigate from book to book a little easier. For example, the creation story is in the Book of Genesis, the songs and poetry are in the Book of Psalms and the wisdom scriptures are in the book of Proverbs. New Bible study students can get a free set of outlines for every book of the Bible in a print-friendly PDF on the truthsaves.org website. These outlines can also be viewed online and are a great way to get an overview of the Bible.
Use a devotional as a reading guide.
Our Daily Bread has developed daily devotionals that deal with everyday life situations for more than 75 years. Their pocket devotionals have been distributed in 58 languages to people in more than 150 countries. You can read them online or have them mailed to you with a donation of any amount. You can also join the online community and have them emailed to you. This is a really great way to get started studying the Bible in a practical way that makes it easy for students to apply what they learn to their life.
Join a Bible study group at a local church.
Most Christian churches hold weekly Bible study classes that can help new students get started. A quick Google search can help locate a class that is convenient to attend.
Set up Bible study habits.
Setting up good study habits is all about planning and consistency. Here are the top 5 things you can do to set up good Bible study habits.
- Read every day for at least 15 minutes
- Aim to read at least one chapter per week
- Set a specific time for Bible study
- Identify a location for Bible study
- Get a Bible study partner
There are many other options for a new student to get started reading the Bible. Connecting with a family member, friend, or local Meetup group are a few other strategies that can help build strong Bible study habits. The most important thing is to get started and study on a regular and consistent basis and the benefits will quickly become clear.
What are some Bible study tools to help new students?
With any job or undertaking, we need tools to be successful. This is also true when a new student is starting to develop a new study routine. Thankfully, we live in a digital era, and getting our hands on free tools is pretty easy. Here are 3 Bible study tools for students at any level.
Bible Gateway is a great online Bible reading app that you can use from your desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. It has a search module that allows quick reference checks. It’s not very good at figuring out what you want if you make a typo or misspell a name, but it’s still an excellent tool. Most of the English versions are available from the traditional King James Version to the English Standard Version which are two of the best for new Bible study students. It also can be used by non-English speaking people providing translations such as Arabic, Spanish, and Bulgarian. Here’s the link: https://www.biblegateway.com/
Open Bible is a topical Bible search app that allows you to type in a subject and it will display every scripture that refers to or infers what you are searching for. We venture to say that it is exhaustive in nature because it covers almost any topic you can think of. This helps new Bible study students find multiple scriptures that all relate to their interests. It also provides an A-Z link list so you can click on a letter and all the topics that start with that letter will display in the form of hyperlinks to the relevant scripture list. Here’s the link: https://www.openbible.info/topics/
Hendrickson Rose Publishing is a manufacturer and distributor of wonderful pamphlets, books, Bibles, DVDs, and maps designed to teach the Bible’s stories, concepts, parables, and geography in a focused manner so that specific subjects can be mastered with ease and visual appeal. A great one for a new student would be to study the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) which serve as a quick reference guide with pictures and charts in an easy-to-use format. They will also give you 15 free Bible eCharts when you sign up for their mailing list. These include The Names of God, The Armor of God, The Fruit of the Spirit, and the 50 Proofs for the Bible for both the Old and New Testaments. Here’s the link: https://www.hendricksonrose.com/
What role does Bible study play in a Christian’s life?
Bible study is an integral part of a Christian’s life. It teaches about God, the world we live in as well as the role Christians play in this life. The Bible is also the moral standard for the Christian life and serves as an instruction manual for living a life pleasing to God. Without the Bible, Christians cannot fully grasp who Jesus the Christ is nor can they position themselves to be blessed and protected by God. The Bible is a road map that leads to a good life on earth and eternal life when this one is over. That’s why Bible study is so important. The knowledge, wisdom, and guidance that can be gleaned from Bible study is too voluminous and deep to be covered in this guide but the value is worth more than diamonds and gold. Bible study is a lifestyle that must be rooted in truth and never neglected for its full benefits to be realized in the student’s life.
Conclusion: How to Start Reading the Bible Today?
Today is the best day to begin reading the Bible, and although the task may appear daunting, focus on taking small steps. The development of solid Bible study habits requires consistency so set some time aside each day to get into God’s Word. It may also help if you view Bible study as a journey into a loving and rewarding relationship with YHWH. This will provide an opportunity for you to seek out not only the benefits of Bible study – but the promises of God, which create hope. Enjoy the promises of God and live in a state of expectation that you will see them come true in your life. Think how much spiritual muscle you will build over time so that you can powerfully navigate life no matter what is going on in the world. Regular Bible study makes you stronger and wiser with each passing day. Get a good Bible and notepad. Set aside a time and location to study. Find a study partner. Before you know it, you will be encouraging others to do the same. It is our hope that this ultimate guide to how to start reading the Bible and what you get out of it was helpful and blesses your life.