How to Get the Most from Reading the Bible: 9 Tips, Tricks, and Reminders

Margaret —  August 30, 2013 — 11 Comments

How to Get the Most from Reading the Bible: 9 Tips, Tricks, and RemindersI wanted to offer you a handful of my go-to tips and tricks when reading the Bible.

Whether you joined us for the Pursuing God online Summer Bible Study, are leading a Bible study at your church, or seeking to know how to be a better Bible reader, my hope and prayer is that today, Scripture will pop off the page in a fresh way.

That the wonders of Scripture will leave you breathless and wanting more of Christ. That you’ll spend time digging in God’s word and be wonderstruck by God. 

Here are nine tips, tricks, and reminders whenever you read the Bible:

  1. Begin in Prayer. As you begin to read, do so prayerfully. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to His truth and what He is going to reveal to you. [Tweet this] The amazing thing about the Bible is that each time you read something new may grab your attention—a word, phrase, or story that you may not have noticed before. Prayerfully take notice of the themes or words that God is echoing to you.
  2. Celebrate God-Breathed Scripture. The Bible is the primary way God communicates and reveals Himself to His people. Remember: Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. (2 Tim 3:16) As you read, keep this passage in mind. Ask how the text you’re reading is teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training you in righteousness.
  3. Context, Context, Context. Each passage should be read in context—within the text itself and in the cultural context. Head to a library or seminary and peek at commentaries or Bible dictionaries for help understanding cultural nuances. A great (free) resource is www.blueletterbible.org. Discuss any questions you have with friends and pastors.
  4. Listen to an Audio Bible. If you’re struggling to read your Bible, consider downloading or streaming a free audiobook Bible that allows you to listen to God’s Word wherever you are. (Click here to learn how). Scripture comes alive when you sit back and listen to God’s story unfold.
  5. Read in Pinches. Sometimes tackling entire books or genres in one sitting can leave you drowsy. Instead, challenge yourself to read a handful of chapters or stories and then take a break. Use that time to pray, jot down questions, and simply rest your eyes.
  6. Memorize passages. Whether you’ve attended church your whole life or are just learning the rhythms of Christ’s grace, meditating on and memorizing Scripture can be a rewarding adventure! Begin by memorizing short verses and continue to challenge yourself to memorize longer sections. Ask a friend or small group to join you and hold you accountable in the process.
  7. The Old Meets the New. In God’s perfect story, the New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. Keep an eye out for references to the Messiah in the Old Testament and repeated Old Testament Scripture in the New. Perhaps grab a specific color pen or highlighter and mark when you see these instances pop up.
  8. Jesus is the Reason. The good news of Christ is central to the entire story of Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation. [Tweet this] God’s plan of redemption was in place from the beginning. Celebrate the story along the way.
  9. Be Transformed by the Word. As we spend time reading, studying, and obeying the Scripture, we will naturally be transformed into likeness of Christ. You may find yourself overflowing with love, grace, and kindness. You may find that you are far more self-controlled and patient. The fruit of studying God’s Word and putting it into practice is becoming more like Christ.

Set aside time today to explore the wonders of Scripture. I want to know how it goes! What tips, tricks, and reminders do you have to add? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook, or at MargaretFeinberg.com.

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Are you looking for a fresh Bible study to unlock the wonders of God this fall? Email us at sampler@margaretfeinberg.com and we’ll send you free access to the first full video and PDF lesson of each of Margaret’s DVD Bible studies.

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11 responses to How to Get the Most from Reading the Bible: 9 Tips, Tricks, and Reminders

  1. The last time I read the Bible from start to finish, something that helped me was writing stuff down instead of highlighting. If something jumped out at me or encouraged me, I would write down the Scripture reference, then if I had a question, insight, or comment about it I would add that, too. I ended up filling up an entire notebook that way, and it made the reading process more exciting, because it kind of felt like being on a treasure hunt!

    • That is awesome. I did something similar when I was researching for The Organic God– looking back at those notebooks full of notes is a testament to all the things God has to teach us!

  2. When I’m planning to teach a Bible study, I try to remember to ask the “w” questions (who, what, when, where, why and how) for the passage I’m studying. I also like to look up words in the original language (Hebrew or Greek) to see what they “really” mean, and not just rely on my English translations.

    • I love the W questions trick, Birdie. Thanks for sharing. So important in reminding us of the importance of context.

  3. Awesome tips, Margaret! One thing that’s helpful for me is to remember that the Bible records my history. As the “spiritual seed” of Abraham, when I read Scripture, I’m reading about my family. I’m reading about how they failed and how they succeeded. I’m reading about how God kept pursuing and using and loving them. That reminds me that I’m part of the story, and that that very same God keeps pursuing and using and loving me.

    • I love that connection, Marie! Many times we disassociate the people in Scripture as just characters in a story– but they are part of OUR story, too!

  4. I have been a Christian for many years and I have found that reading and meditating on God’s Word gives me more of a hunger for His Word. I LIKE all of your tips but the last two are my favorites!!

  5. Margaret, I’m copying this (and giving you full credit of course) and handing out a copy to all the members of my small group. It’s terrific. Thank you. Praying for the joy in the small, every day things.

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  1. Flotsam and jetsam (9/2) | Everyday Theology - September 3, 2013

    […] How to Get the Most from Reading the Bible: 9 Tips, Tricks, and Reminders: My hope and prayer is that today, Scripture will pop off the page in a fresh way. That the wonders of Scripture will leave you breathless and wanting more of Christ. That you’ll spend time digging in God’s word and be wonderstruck by God. (Margaret Feinberg) […]

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