Your Reason for Reading the Bible

Why do you want to know how to read the Bible? I'm asking because, as with anything worth doing, you will only get out of it the amount of effort you put into it. People read for two reasons: to collect information and to improve their lives. (They also read for entertainment, but that's no effort at all!)


1st.     Reading to Collect Information

Collecting information usually involves reading things that you already know about. You are just adding more weight to what you already think and believe. The things you read will be easy to understand, and you will finish, knowing that the author agrees or disagrees with what you already knew.

More curiosity in the Bible will give you bits of information that you can add to your stash. You will discover the original source of some stories you have heard. David and Goliath. Noah and the Great Flood and the original rainbow. Moses crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. Jesus dying on the cross. But you already knew those.

Group of Casual People

2nd.     Reading to Improve Your Life

If, however, you want to read to enrich and improve your life, you have to know that it will take more effort than just collecting information. You will have to read things written by people who are smarter than you. It won't be easy. They will be expressing experiences and ideas that are foreign to you. Above all, they will communicate them in ways that, at first, may be difficult to understand.


This is why Shakespeare is not usually on your nightstand to read before you go to sleep. This is also why popular murder mysteries are not required reading for college degrees. We only enrich our lives and discover new things when we read from those who know more than we do. And that discovery is work.

So, back to my original question: Why do you want to know how to read the Bible?

1. Are you reading to prove it right or wrong?

2. Are you merely dabbling because someone made you curious?

3. Do you think it might help you out of a recent dilemma?

4. Or do you really want to understand it?

If the first three reasons are yours, then you can read anywhere you like in the Bible, and you will probably find things that meet with your approval or disapproval. My advice would be: Start reading somewhere.

If, however, you suspect that the Bible holds the possibility of improving your life, prepare to dig for it. If you would like to know what the author(s) intended for readers to discover, it will take a bit more determination. Interestingly enough, the Bible is understandable on many levels. This is why children can learn from it, and adults can read it regularly. This is why a pastor can read his Bible and preach a fresh sermon every week for years because the Bible never wears out.

Man Holding a Bible

In my next blog, I'm going to give you a pattern for reading a book – any book – that is, on the surface, difficult to understand. You'll need a physical Bible of paper and ink, not one on your phone. Show up next time, prepared to do some work. Learning how to read your Bible is worth the effort.

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