I’m just going to go ahead and start with one of the biggest problems I saw before becoming a Christian: Read the Bible.
If you are going to claim the things that are professed in the Christian faith (which all come from the Bible) then you better read it. Now, I am not saying to read the whole entire thing in one sitting. That would be madness as it is a pretty big collection of books (66 if you are in the Protestant stream or up to 81 if you are in some Orthodox streams). The point is to make an effort to actually know what you believe in. In any Philosophy class you attend, one of the very first things you learn is to have good reasons for the things you believe. I think its fair to say this stretches into the realm of religion or faith too.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16
By reading your Bible, you can have a reason for the hope that you have. There are many other ways you can become more knowledgable about what you believe in, but the Bible is the primary physical source we have right now.
It is difficult to read the Bible through completely. To be honest, I haven’t even read through the whole thing. However, I have a plan set in place to read through the whole thing and do my best to stick to that plan. Walking the walk isn’t always easy, but if you want to try reading your Bible daily, here are my best tips.
- Get a Bible, preferably one that you understand.
Because the Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, translating into English can be tricky. This is why there are several different versions of the English Bible. I recommend an NIV (New International Version) to someone starting out. It is understandable English for most levels and reads nicely. However, it is not a word-for-word translation. If you want a word-for-word translation, I would recommend the ESV (English Standard Bible). It a bit tougher to understand at times, but it is one of the closest in meaning to the original texts. If English isn’t your first language or the language you feel most comfortable with, I would recommend getting a Bible in your own language. I say this because it is easier and more meaningful when you read in your own language. I have read Bibles in other languages, but I do not get the full impact because it isn’t my first language.
2. Get a reading plan.
It can be really hard to read through the whole Bible if you don’t know where to start. I had this problem for so long. I found that reading plans were a great way to get started, but sometimes too much to handle. The trick is to find one that works for you. In the end, I wrote a check list for each book of the Bible and made a symbol besides the shorter books. Now whenever I do my daily reading, I look at the list and choose a book and read through part or the whole book. For example, when I was reading through Genesis, I would read one or two chapters per sitting. When I was reading James, I read it all in one sitting. When you are done, you can check off the book you finished and choose a new one to read! However, if you like to work from a specific plan, here are some links to some plans if you are interested: Bible Gateway Reading Plans, ESV Reading Plans.
3. Pick a reading time.
When are you least busy? When do you have time to read? Choose a time and stick to it for a month. I know that sounds crazy but once the habit is established you will feel like you are missing something if you don’t crack open that Bible and read it. It really takes some effort to read each day. I’m the first to admit that I sometimes don’t get around to it, but make the effort if its your goal. Its so important. You could even ask a friend to help remind you. I really feel like doing the daily reading makes your whole day brighter.
These are my three tips. They are very straight foreword and not very fancy. This is because reading each day is not something complicated. It just takes effort and practise. If you desire to get to know God more or even understand where Christians are coming from, give it a chance.