Having the proper tools and equipment when you begin to read is very important. Good craftsmen uses good tools and always keeps them in good condition.
A Good Edition of the Bible:
Versions of the Bible are printed in various editions, representing a wide spectrum of format, quality, and price. You can help your personal Bible reading immeasurably by choosing the right Bible. Choose a Bible with large, clear print with generous space in the margins for notations. A Bible with small print and difficult type does not help Bible reading and makes your eyes tired quickly. Also consider the width of the columns in your edition of the Bible. Single-column editions are easier to read phrases and aid textual examination, but make you eyes tired more quickly. Double-column editions do not make your eyes tired as quickly as single-column editions, but one of the shortcomings of the double-column text is that twice as many phrases are broken up, which can hinder careful textual examination. Choose carefully which type of Bible edition works best for you.
Also, consider how long it has been since you did much reading in a different Bible version than you are now accustomed to. It is important to realize that if you are too accustomed to a Bible (not only of the version, but even where the words and verses are on the page), you will often read mechanically, not purposefully. You will tend to not read with a fresh approach as if you are reading the Bible for the first time. By at least temporarily switching to another Bible you will see words and phrases you had overlooked before. Also consider reading out of a Bible that is easy for you to understand the meaning of the phrases and words. Bible reading is worthless if you cannot comprehend what the text is saying due to archaic or poorly structured sentences. Once you have read a Bible passage in one version, you should always read it in at least one other version. One of the values of reading a second version is that you will see things that you never saw before because of the different vocabulary and style.
Pencil, Paper, and Notebook:
Bible reading in its fullest dimensions is more than mere eye contact with the printed page. Using a pencil as you read the Bible text can be one of the best aids for seeing what the author has written. Unless you are gifted with a photographic memory, it is impossible for you to retain for very long all the things you see in a productive reading of a Bible text. To help retain the things you see, write down the points of interest and comments you have on the text on paper. Writing things you find in the text down will help you to remember the points you found. When you later return to the passage, you will either remember the points you wrote down or will have those points written down for reference as you restudy the text.
Table or Desk:
It goes without saying that if you do more recording than just a few marks on the page of your Bible, you need to use a table or desk. This leaves ample space for paper, notebook, and other Bible versions.
Attitudes for Good Reading:
Bible reading can be barren and even inaccurate, if we have the wrong attitudes. Let’s look at some of the good attitudes that should cradle our Bible reading.
The Bible is God’s written Word to us. How important for us to revere its pages of truth, as it tells us about the God we worship. A deep conviction of the authority and infallibility of the Scriptures is of paramount importance for the one who reads its pages. Bible reading keeps its glow when we revere it as God’s book.
It is one thing to know that we need to read the Bible. It is another thing to desire to read it. Such a desire is not forced, but should come naturally to the one who knows the Author personally and loves His fellowship. This is what Peter had in mind when he wrote, “long for the pure milk of the word…if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
This is the attitude of submission and moldability. We approach the Bible not to do something to it, but to let it do something to us. With an open heart and mind, we are prepared to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).
Humility is a virtue that God values in every aspect of our lives, because He wants us always to acknowledge who we really are and who He truly is. When you feel discouraged over difficult passages of Scripture, recall that even Peter realized there were parts of Paul’s letters that were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16).
Time and Toil:
Where do we find time to read the Bible? The answer is, Time will never be found. So we must take time to read the Bible, scheduling it at a regular time each day. This is not an impossible nor unreasonable demand, seeing how easily we can schedule the daily reading of the newspaper and the weekly reading of magazines. There is no substitute for being alone with God and His Word.
Do not wait for an opportune time to begin reading your Bible. Begin now. It is very true for Bible reading that the biggest waste of time is the time wasted in getting started. Bible reading is work because when we read the Bible we are doing something, concentrating our whole being on a very important task. But Bible reading is blessed work that is fruitful and exciting.
Suggestions for Finding A Pattern and Time for Bible Study:
- Follow a regular, consistent pattern as much as possible. This guards your reading against intrusion by things that pop up unexpectedly.
- Read at least once each day, more frequently if possible (Psa. 1:2-3). By doing this you avoid going long periods of time without reading. The length of the reading may be short or long. Variety is good.
- Reading should be done when the setting is quiet and without distractions.
- Your reading may be a part of a Bible study project, which may involve scheduled times.
- Choose the time of day when you are most alert, wide awake, least rushed, and can concentrate the best. This time varies from person to person. Some like to read in the freshness of the early morning hours, others are their best when evening comes, and for others the noon hour is most productive.
- To a certain degree the Bible must be read differently that any other books. The Bible must be read with more intensity, with more care, and with more diligence than one would read any other book. The Bible is not a novel. Our souls depend upon proper understanding.
Information from Irving Jensen’s How to Profit From Bible Reading and Berry Kercheville’s Enjoy Your Bible.