Want to get serious about Bible study?

romans 15:4
Have you set a goal to get more serious about Bible Study? Or maybe you would if you knew where to start?Serious bible study

The way I read the Bible devotionally

I’ve just begun my fourth time reading the Bible through for devotional purposes. I’ve read it for academic purposes without keeping a record; but this is the fourth year I’ve set the intention of daily readings that will take me from Genesis to Revelation*. It works for me to do it this way for two reasons. One, my brain processes information most easily when it’s presented in a linear fashion. Two, I have never not been familiar with scripture. Literally never. I’ve been in church since my inception and learned Bible stories as I learned English. Before I was able to read, I already had a significant amount of prior learning to aid my understanding when I read the Bible.

The method I begin for folks new to Bible study

However, lots of people ask me how to start Bible study, people whose life experiences and learning styles are different from mine. So I’ve developed–through simple trial and error–a Bible study plan for those who are new to intentional Bible study. This might be the plan for you . . .
  1. If you are completely new to Christianity.
  2. If you have been in church your whole life but have never taken your faith very far out of the sanctuary.
  3. If you have been following Christ for some time but have hesitated to read the Bible due to all the crazy stuff that is within its pages.

Aileen’s method: New Testament (Christian Scriptures)

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes 5-7 days a week reading or listening to scripture. You are simply establishing a habit. It doesn’t matter how much of the Bible you get through. Just get started with this habit and practice it regularly.
  2. Begin with Luke. This is a gospel account of Christ that includes some of the favorite stories such as the Good Samaritan. It is an easier read for most than Matthew, Mark, or John. This will give you a foundational understanding of Christ was.
  3. Read Colossians next. Colossians was written to underscore the divinity of Christ. The community there was struggling with false teachers who argued that Jesus was not in fact divine. This short book was written to clarify the answer to this question.
Now that you have gotten to know Jesus a bit better, turn to the Hebrew Scriptures, what most Christians call the Old Testament. Jesus, a good Jewish boy, would have been familiar with these texts.

Aileen’s method: Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures)serious bible study

Brace yourself. This is where things can start to get a little weird. But don’t worry: no question the tiny human brain can imagine will stump God. It’s okay to get irritated with scripture. In fact, if some of the stories in the Bible don’t weird you out a little bit, you probably need to re-read them.
OK. Ready to read Old Testament scriptures?
  1. Begin with Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is the fifth book in the Bible and it gives a good overview of the first four through the use of sermons (chapters 1-30) and songs (31-34). Pay particular attention to Deuteronomy 6:4. This is the Jewish confession of faith that Jesus would certainly have memorized and repeated frequently.
  2. Next, go to Isaiah. This prophetic book offers a Christ-like view of the God of the Old Testament. Some of the most beautiful passages of scripture are found in Isaiah, a fact the New Testament writers recognized as they quoted Isaiah over 80 times.
  3. All done? Then go to Psalms. These are honest, gut wrenching, blatant, sometimes ungodly prayers of God’s people. Hear how the prayers so often move from rage and despair to hope and joy. Realize that if the Psalmists could be this honest with God, surely we can be too.

Other methods

Others prefer to read passages from different sections of the Bible every day, or to read it thematically, or chronologically or some other way. This site offers some of those methods: Bible Reading Plans – Moments With The Book (mwtb.org).
CAUTION: This site also proposes plans that give an overview with the “most important passages in Scripture” or some similar title. I’d advise against that. There are way too many different opinions on that. I’d need to be sure I trusted the one who picked the verses before I could recommend those plans.

Have you found a way that works best for you? I’d love to hear about it! Would you comment below and share your preference? Thanks!

*If the Genesis to Revelation method sounds appealing to you, check out this chart: Microsoft Word – Bible Reading Chart- In One Year (firstbible.org) It’s the one I use. Don’t worry about getting started after January 1. Just read a little extra each day and you’ll catch up. I typically cover a reading and a half because I’m almost always trying to catch up or get ahead of the chart. That takes me about 15 minutes to complete.

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.