I remember the feeling very well. Sitting on my bed with my Bible in front of me. I had gotten out of the habit of having a quiet time, and it had been too long. I was trying to make the right choice; to get back in the Word. The obstacle that I didn’t expect was staring me right in the face. I didn’t know where to start.
The awesome part about his problem, if you are facing it, is that it doesn’t last. Once you get into a routine of studying the Bible, you will crave it. You will always have a ‘next’ in mind. Now I have the opposite problem- too many things I want to know and study and not enough time.
However, this really is a big problem when you are starting out. Especially if you allow it to derail you before you get started. It can keep you from opening the Bible that first time. It can trick you into popcorn study- opening the Bible to a random passage without ever considering context or digging in.
Where do I Start Studying the Bible?
This is what I was grappling with and what many believers grapple with. There can be a little guilt in the fact that you are holding God’s word in front of you and don’t already know it better. It feels overwhelming since it is so large. There is sometimes a feeling of fear- what if you get stuck in a book that is too hard to understand? What if it’s boring? Then guilt at thinking it might be boring!
Start With a Gospel
If you are a new believer, or if you are new to studying the Bible. Even if you simply haven’t studied a Gospel in the past year or two, start here! As Christians the Gospel is the air we breathe. It is the epicenter to our understanding of Scripture.
My favorite Gospel is John, but you can’t pick a wrong Gospel. Mark is the shortest and may appeal to you for that reason. Luke was written by a doctor, so if you are a details person, that may appeal to you. It doesn’t matter, because eventually you should get to all of them. This is just a decision of where to begin your lifetime journey.
I go into what it means to study the Bible in this earlier post, but if you aren’t ready for an in depth book study, you may want to consider reading through the entire Bible. I love to read through the Bible chronologically. It helps put the big picture story of the Bible in order in my head. I love that a chronological reading of the Bible can show how God was planning out redemption from the days of Adam and Eve.
Starting With the Issues You Face
It may be that there is a certain issue that is bringing you back to Scripture. While I don’t like pulling verses out of context from all over the Bible to address an issue, I do love studying a specific book that sheds light on my struggles. The book of Job is comforting in hard times. Ephesians can help if you are struggling with spiritual warfare. If you need assurance of your salvation, study 1 John. It is a great idea to study a book that speaks to something you need guidance on and then memorize key verses that highlight the main points.
Something is Better Than Nothing
No matter what you choose, the important thing is that you choose something. The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Don’t worry about starting incorrectly, worry about not getting started. When you finish the first book, start a new one. Do it again until you have read the Bible entirely and then start again. Do it until you know the Word as well as you know the lines from your favorite movie.
If you are interested in learning more about how to study the Bible effectively, check out my course How to Study the Bible, here.