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Switch to Forum Live View How to start reading the bible??
10 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2007 - 6:37PM #1
Posts: 7
I am 37 years old, and have always gone to Church and my faith is very important to me, however I have never read the bible, but would like to start and do it on a daily basis. I have been parts of bible studies, or church groups and have read bits & pieces of the bible but I really want more. A little over 15 months ago I realized I was an alcoholic and quit drinking after going back to church. I was sitting in church and realized I was an alcoholic and needed to quit. Since then I have been more active in my church, and my faith has grown stronger, however I still cannot get into reading the bible, but really want to as I know I have so much to gain.
Does anybody have any tips or pointers? Do I just go get it and start reading from beginning to end? Is there a version that is easier to read than others?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2007 - 7:43PM #2
Posts: 76
Getting a translation that you'll understand is really key to reading such a large book.
I'd suggest perhaps a New International Version. It's easy to read, and not overly scholarly.
There's alot of study guides geared towards this translation.

While a plain-text, just-the-scripture Bible is always good, I'd also suggest getting a
nice study Bible. There's a study Bible called "1 Year Bible", or something like that.
It has a reading plan that will take you through the major portions in a year.
I'm sure there's a New Believers Study Bible out there, also.

Just remember, most study Bibles will have a denominational slant to them.
I use the Concordia Self Study Bible - New International Version for my own studies.
That would be the Lutheran version of the NIV Study Bible that's found in just about
every bookstore in the country.

If you feel comfortable, ask your pastor for a recommendation. He or she would
know more about you than those of us here, and might steer you into something
more suited to your situation.

(By the way, there is a study Bible specifically for recovery, I think it's called
the Recovery Study Bible, or something close).

My advice could be summed up like this:
-ask your pastor which one to get
- or, go to a Christian bookstore and ask them to help you select one for you
-don't set yourself up to read a chapter a night. You'll end up making reading a chore. Instead,
read as much as you like at a time, it may be a few paragraphs, it might be several chapters in one sitting.
-I would start at the beginning, Genesis 1, and continue to Exodus 20, the 10 Commandments, then stop.
At that point, youll know what kind of additional study helps you'll need. I would go to your pastor and say that you've read to that point, and start asking questions. When you're comfortable, go on.

By all means, seek out experienced Bible studiers and be open to learning. I've been reading my Bible almost
continually for 30 years. I learn new things all the time.

Blessings on your endeavor. Pray, read, listen to the Spirit!
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2007 - 9:20PM #3
Posts: 61
Your response was helpful to me - hope nebronco has the same reaction.
Thanks and a Good Luck Wish to nebronco.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 23, 2007 - 5:56PM #4
Posts: 99

I agree with Tom.  It is such a task that it is a good idea to talk to your pastor before starting.  At my church we did it all together over a two year period under the umbrella of a course called "Crossways".  (5-6 hours a week minimum for me- including class time - that's close to a 700 hour committment)

As the Bible is not one book but many, many, accounts of faith by so many people and so many generations, it is helpful to have an overview of what is really happening, what themes and issues are being presented and especially in the new testament -who is writing and for what reason (divisions between the jews, jewish christians, gnostics and pagan christians).  It is an impossible road to travel alone without the wisdom of the ages and scholars that have helped so many before.  It's like a nut, you have to crack the shell to get to the meal beyond the allegories, metaphors, stories, and allusions.   

The "Truth" is there from so many perspectives, but there is a lot diverse points of view, examples of brokenness, horrible unjustifiable acts of violence, self deception,  and seeming contradictions.   It's helpful to have a leader who is well trained to help you through it all.  This is why the Catholic Church used to insist that their leaders should be trained to understand the big picture when working with it.  Lay people were discouraged from reading the Bible.   

BTW, I prefer the NRSV for it's accuracy and attention to detail. 

Good Luck to you.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 25, 2007 - 4:16PM #5
Posts: 193
I'd recommend a couple things.

Subscribe to an email devotion, such as the one from Luther Seminary ("God Pause" - I highly recommend it). Its devotions are tied to the Revised Common Lectionary. I use those in conjunction with attending a Friday morning men's breakfast at which we read the coming Sunday's lessons. Doing this combination allows me to read the context of the lessons at my own leasure, ensures that I see the golden thread as it goes from prophecy to psalm to epistle to Gospel, and gives me the wonderful fellowship of other men as we as "What DOES this mean?" and gain each other's insights.

Merrry Christmas, and congratulations on your sobriety.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2007 - 1:27PM #6
Posts: 1,020
I was also going to recommend an email devotion.  I subscribe to a daily scripture passage from the ELCA website.  Coincidentally, the Sunday scripture passage is usually the passage the sermon is based on that day.  :confused:

I would recommend that you start with the Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament. 

Good luck with this!
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 05, 2008 - 8:32AM #7
Posts: 31
Dear nebronco,
First of all congratulations on your sobriety. How awesome that is.
I have an NIV study Bible that I use alot, but also find THE MESSAGE  is good. It has contemporary language. Long ago I wore out THE LIVING BIBLE and now I often use a Bible with notes from a  favorite spiritual leader. It is a Life Application Bible.
You may already have a Bible you are using, but later in your studies, it is nice to read different translations.
I also have different reference books that I use. I get them at a Christian book store.
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2008 - 8:50AM #8
Posts: 4,367
Just a footnote that both The Living Bible and The Message are paraphrases, not formal translations, so they're in rather a separate class than real Bibles -- perhaps a helpful adjunct to a real translation like the NRSV, but books that are more subject to the particular theological "spin" of the author.

Anyway...I wish I had a similarly good recommendation for a beginner's study aid to the Old Testament...but I really like Mark Powell's Introduction to the Gospels as an excellent "how to read these" aid to reading the Gospels; and it's written for a lay audience. I was able to get a used copy quite cheaply via Amazon.
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2008 - 8:53AM #9
Posts: 4,367
I'll also put in a plug for the New Interpreter's NRSV, which is just chockful of great study aids, contextual information, etc.  It's a bit pricy, but you'll get years of use out of it, and IMHO it's worth the investment. One of my lay ministry buddies also recommends the paperback Harper-Collins Study Bible NRSV.
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2008 - 5:21PM #10
Posts: 21
I just bought the New Interpreter's NRSV, and I love it.  You can get it at Amazon for about $27. 
I also have the Harper-Collins Study Bible NRSV, which is good too, but between the 2 I would go with the New Interpreter's.
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