Daily Bible reading along with prayer are critically important practices for Christians. They are also the most neglected. This is why it’s essential for beginners to have a Bible reading plan.
Reading and praying require a level of discipline that most of us don’t have but wish we did.
As a Christian person for over 50 years I can assure you that we all experience seasons of famine and of plenty, neglect and obedience. But the longer we serve and love the Lord the easier it is to plan our days around him instead of the cares of the day.
The amazing thing is that the closer we align ourselves with him by reading his Word the more blessings we notice in our lives. What a “coincidence”, right? So why wait (read more about how to spend time with God)?
In this article I want to encourage those of you who are new to Bible reading to “dive in”. Don’t wait to “get organized”, to “find the time” or to have better self-discipline.
Begin to make it part of your day because it’s what our Lord wants us to do. He wants to spend time with us.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find resources for reading the scriptures. A quick internet search will turn up hundreds of plans, each of which may offer a different translation or method.
After all, publishers still wish for you to buy their Bibles, study guides, commentaries and web page subscriptions. In this article, I will share some tips and suggestions for finding what works best for you. Especially if you are looking for a Bible (when do you capitalize the word “Bible”) reading plan for beginners.
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 3:18
Why Having A Bible Reading Plan Is Important
The Bible is a book. To open and read a book seems like a simple thing to do.
It may seem simple, but the Bible isn’t just one book. It is 66 books written over hundreds of years by a variety of authors. When I read a book, I like to know who wrote it and why.
It is important for me to know this because it gives me some background and lets me know the reason why the author felt it important to write. Perhaps in another article, I will write more about what I’ve learned but just now I will offer an example.
If I begin my Bible reading plan for beginners with the New Testament books, it is fairly straightforward.
The Gospel of Luke for example, in chapter 1 verses 1-4 explains to Theophilus his investigation was to give an account in consecutive order of what was accomplished among them regarding Jesus.
Luke also wrote the Book of Acts which was a continuation of the first. This is simple to understand.
The Old Testament, or more appropriately called the “Hebrew Scriptures”, is full of history, prophecy, poetry, laws and wisdom. It is extremely interesting but also quite daunting to some (read my article “how to get to heaven“.
So, in developing a Bible reading plan for the Hebrew Scriptures or New Testament, there are a few things to consider to ensure you find the plan that best fits your situation and interests.
10 Steps For Success: A Bible Reading Plan For Beginners
1. What Bible Version Is Best For Beginners
This is a common question and it’s important to get it right. I happen to have a collection of Bibles that run the gamut from King James Version (KJV) to very modern-day English.
They also happen to fit certain periods in my life when I needed something specific because of my age or stage of life. As a child in Good News Club I was given the traditional KJV because when we memorized verses this was the one we memorized (this version had all the “thee’s” and “thou’s” and for kids, it may not be the best option).
As a teenager it was more important that I understood what I was reading so that’s when I purchased my “Living Bible”. This was published in the late 60s and used common vernacular and even slang.
When I began a deeper study I purchased an International Study Bible which is a huge book and full of great information in addition to the regular Bible. Modern English Bible translations on Wikipedia can give you an overview of the many available.
Christian book stores have so many choices it is overwhelming but the owners would be able to direct you to the best options.
Important Note: In your search for a good translation you are likely to come across some unusual ones that have been recognized as out of the mainstream. The easiest way to discern this is if they are connected to a particular church denomination.
There are a few churches that call themselves Christian but only permit one version of the Bible to be read. I’d personally stay away from Bibles that are attached to a certain group or denomination.
2. Best Books or Testament To Begin
The books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) are varied and historical. Genesis of course tells us all about the creation of the world and then God’s chosen people beginning with Abraham.
Because I love history, I love reading these accounts. The Books of Wisdom and Poetry including Proverbs and Lamentations are full of wise sayings and easy to understand.
We find that human nature hasn’t changed and the proverbs apply then and now. The prophets for me are the most difficult and require some knowledge of the times in order to see the context. The prophets were sent by God to remind the Jews to turn back to God and to foretell the coming Messiah.
Then there is the New Testament which includes the four Gospels and the letters of the Apostles. As a beginner reader, I would choose the Gospel of John, then Acts, then Romans.
They are straightforward, uplifting and clear! This is the beginning of a new age with Jesus at the center. All the witnesses, events and miracles show the truth of our faith and the amazing life of Christ.
On the other hand, there are reading plans available including Bibles that are already set up for daily reading. Usually, they are organized and share a bit of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms each day.
3. Study Aids
Plenty of publishing companies would love your business. Step into a Christian book store and you can find notebooks, workbooks, journals, commentaries, study guides, DVDs, and more.
If you are just beginning, I recommend that you keep it simple. The easier it is to do the more likely you are to make it a habit.
I recommend buying a blank notebook and use the SOAP Bible study method. Recently, I’ve been reading the Gospel of John and I’m using the SOAP study method. Read a chapter at a time and do the following.
- Scripture – Write down the chapter and verses. Read it.
- Observation – Write down what you observed. What was it that stood out to you?
- Application – How does what you read apply to you and your life?
- Pray – Spend quiet time with God and listen to what he’s telling you.
Now there is no right or wrong way to keep this journal. It’s yours and your notes may look any way you want. For example, I like to make picture notes.
I’m not much of a linear thinker. Here is an example of my journal for John 4, 6 and 8.
I usually read and make the notations. Later I can go back and color in and it reminds me of what I read.
Because I don’t do a lot of writing, I can see instantly what that chapter covered. I also frequently write my prayer requests around the edge.
So you can see it only needs to be for yourself.
4. Routine (make it a habit)
I found the best time for me to read my Bible is early in the day. I once heard a gentleman talk about how to prioritize your day’s activities.
Ask yourself as you lie in bed at night, “What am I sorry I didn’t do today?” Then start doing that first thing every day.
5. Take Notes
As you can see I take notes differently that most people would. Remember, you’re not in class. There is no test at the end. No one is going to grade you. The notes you take are for yourself.
They need to be meaningful to you, no one else. The SOAP method is just one very easy method to follow.
6. Ask For Accountability
Telling a friend or family member that you’re reading a certain book in the Bible does a couple of things.
One, it can be a good conversation starter.
Two, it can help you stay on track.
7. Search For New Believer Small Groups At Church
If you are already attending church you may know about small groups. In some churches they call them “seeker” classes.
Others specify a certain class or meeting group for new Christians or those who want to learn the basics. In particular there is a highly recommended study called the Alpha Course.
It has been around for a while and has a wonderful reputation for covering the basics. Many churches offer this course.
Most churches have gotten away from the term “Sunday School” and instead refer to them as electives or courses.
8. Find A Place To Read
It is important to find a quiet place to read and pray. Some folks do it before they get out of bed in the morning. Use a special chair in a quiet room.
Any spot away from disruptions will work. Having young children will make it difficult. That’s why a podcast may be a good option.
I really enjoy listening to Bible reading as a podcast while I walk in the mornings. There are very many of these offered using a variety of translations.
Most are designed to get you through the Bible in a year. One of my favorites is the chronological Bible.
You may or may not know that the Bible as commonly presented is not in order. It makes so much more sense when it is read this historical way.
9. Establish A Time Each Day (Routine)
You can allot any amount of time that you wish. It’s up to you and your schedule. Since I am retired now and pretty much unscheduled I can stretch it out for quite a while.
Most of you will not have that option. Try to give it at least 15 minutes which is how long my through the Bible podcasts usually last. If you’re taking notes also you might need a bit more time.
10. Pray About What You’ve Read
Always spend a few moments at least for quiet time when you’ve finished (read my salvation prayers for children).
God may bring things to your mind that he couldn’t otherwise. This is a privilege we have as Christians. Make the most of your time with your heavenly Father.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
In this article, I’ve covered methods and ways to get started in daily Bible reading. A Bible reading plan for beginners needs to become a habit and routine. There are many options for translations and methods of delivery.
Look at the variety of study aids and notetaking, and decide what fits best for you. After all God knows your heart and really wants to spend time with you.
He’s created you with your own special talents and gifts. Bring those talents and gifts to the throne, read, spend time and pray.
You may be surprised and how much better your day goes and the amazing blessings that follow.