Last month I finished reading The Holy Bible! I cannot believe I am even saying that. Back in high school there was a joke about only "Jesus Freaks" would do that. (now look at me lol)
I have split this up into two pieces because there were a lot of things I wanted to cover.
Here I go over, my relationship with The Bible, resources, and what I did while reading.
What did my relationship look like before with The Bible?
My relationship with God was to go to church, let them read the Bible to me, pray at home, follow the commandments, stay abstinent, and celebrate the religious practices or holidays. Plus I also got baptized, did my first communion and got confirmed. (I was Catholic back then) Back then, it was more than enough for me. I thought unless you were going to be working at the church or teaching I really didn't need to read the whole Bible. For what? Don't they talk about all the important things at church? The priest would point out if anything is pretty radical that is vital for me to get into heaven. This was my way of thinking. I thought that each Sunday I would learn more pieces of the Bible and eventually the whole thing would be read to me.
I loved when they read the Bible and that was my favorite part of church. I even had a favorite reader. As years went on I noticed that I kept hearing similar stories. It started to bother me. Why are they always talking about the similar stories or there were mixed messages on theology?
There was no better place to start than actually reading the Bible for myself. Yes, people can teach you about the Bible, but it's about building your own personal relationship with God. Someone can tell you about another person, but until you get to know that person for yourself you won't know the full capacity of how you would feel in a friendship or relationship. I was reading bits and pieces more often 3 years ago. It wasn't until a year ago that I made the commitment to wanting to read the Bible cover to cover. I was overwhelmed just thinking about it. My Bible has almost 2 thousand pages! Do you know mind-boggling that is for someone that has never read a book even half the length of this. The longest book I had ever read had 501 pages to be exact, but nevertheless I was going to do it.
How did I do it?
There were a few different methods I tried
I started with the 90-day-Bible-Challenge. The pastor broke down many things in the Bible, he showed us different perspectives, and then gave us some examples on how to apply the Bible to our lives. The challenge was early in the morning and it was really hard for me to process some of the things. I started doing it later in the day and listening to the recordings and then fell behind because I wants sticking to my schedule. I needed to do something else.
I then did a bible in a year reading plan on the YouVersion app. It has set time frames to read it and you can put alarms to remind you. This held me more accountable. As I listened to the person reading it I read my physical bible with it as well to not hurt my eyes as much & I am an audio visual learner. The physical Bible I used was The NIV, Journal the Word Bible.
At times I would listen to the app when I went to exercise. (If you are not highly aware of your surroundings I do not recommend it. When I was getting ready for my day I would listen to it as well. You have to find the time to listen and spend with God. It is hard to form the habit if its something you do not normally do, but you've got this! Do not beat yourself up if one method doesn't work, but set time and remain consistent. When you don't get back on track and keep going.
While I was reading...
I would take notes as I read. The things I would write down were things that stood out to me, things that God told me or popped in my brain, how I could apply certain things to my life, or definitions of words I had to look up. I looked up some words in the Hebrew or Greek translations and what synonyms they had. I would check the different translations on scriptures I did not understand or that I liked. Not every translation says the exact thing word for work. Each one has its own style. I highlighted scriptures that made me want to do more searching or work on stuff. I have a lot of screenshots of scriptures in my phone for me to go back to.
Other resources I used to understand the scriptures more
Well, there are so many different interpretations and things going on in The Bible. Having other tools was imperative on helping me grow.
The Dictionary I know this sounds silly, but there is not really a point in continuing to read stuff if
you are on not comprehending. Look up the word if you can't understand from context clues.
Other Bible Translations- reading the same scriptures in different translations can give you another interpretation that you may understand.
Student Study Bible Had a breakdown of scriptures and characters. It also had historical information.
The Bible Project -have tons of videos and animated explanations
Bible Hub -break down & commentary of scriptures
Bible Study Tools -mix of resources
Bible Study & Church (join a church or local Bible study group to help learn from others)
Although, these are some resources I have pointed out; There are tons of places out there that you can learn from. Do your research because not everyplace is "as reliable."
A reminder that this is also about your relationship with God. Lean on him to guide you though this1
To read part 2 that includes:
my struggles, what I learned, how I felt after I finished reading The Bible and some advice.