Three common questions about reading the Bible

We’ve all had that moment. You committed to reading the Bible, but you have no idea where to start.

Maybe you got a few verses in, and you started tripping over words you’ve never seen, metaphors you didn’t understand, or lists that didn’t make sense. Maybe you’re wondering if you made a mistake, or you’re so overwhelmed you’re ready to give up.

God promises that His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11). You can do this, and the time you spend reading the Bible will not be in vain.

As we read the Bible, we learn where we came from and why we are here. We gain wisdom for how to live and understanding about what happens when we die. When you pick up the Bible and start reading, you may not understand everything but you will always learn something.

Why Do We Read the Bible?

The Bible was written by God Himself through human beings (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible is God’s voice, and it is the primary way He chooses to speak to us. His written word gives us certainty about what God wants for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it’s the only reliable way to learn who God is and what His character is like. The more we know God, the more we want to be like Him.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to Earth to pay for our sins because the cost was too much for us to bear on our own. John 1:1 says, “the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word was God.” Then, in John 1:14, the Bible says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Just like we wouldn’t have relationships with our children or spouses without communicating with them, we can’t have a relationship with God without hearing from Him either. As we continue to read the Bible throughout our lives, our relationship with God grows, and we develop greater and greater trust in Him. We will know we can rely on Him as we obey His commands and seek His guidance in all areas of our lives.

Where Do I Start? 

You can start reading the Bible anywhere, but it might get confusing if you jump in randomly. The Bible is about Jesus. His name might not be found on every page, but the Bible can basically be broken into three parts centered around Him: life before, during, and after Jesus’ time on earth. Getting to know Jesus helps us see Him in the rest of the story.

The first half of the Bible, Genesis through Malachi, is called the Old Testament. It tells the story of life before Jesus and looks forward to His arrival on Earth. The second half, Matthew through Revelation, is called the New Testament and describes Jesus’ life, ministry, and mission.

The more we know God, the more we want to be like Him.
While Jesus lived on Earth, He had a group of close friends called disciples. Four of the disciples — Matthew, Mark, Luke,  and John — recorded their accounts of Jesus’ life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament. These four books are called the Gospels, and they are the best place to start reading the Bible.

What if I Don’t Understand? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will come across words or phrases that don’t make sense at first.

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you have a personal relationship with the author of the Bible as well (Romans 10:13, 2 Timothy 3:16). Ask God to help you understand what you’re reading, and ask friends who’ve been following Jesus longer to help you understand.

Two Tips That Can Help: 

1. Consider who these words were written to. 

Some books of the Bible are written as history, others are letters to specific churches, and others are letters to specific people. Identifying the original audience of a book will help make things clearer.

2. Consider what kind of writing it is. 

Not all writing is the same. You wouldn’t send a text message to a friend with the same writing style you would use to handwrite a letter to your grandmother. In the same way, the authors of the Bible used different writing styles, like poetry, narrative, and prophecy.

The Bible isn’t meant to confuse you, but sometimes it does, and that’s OK. Keep reading. The more we read, the better we get to know God. And the better we get to know God, the more we understand what we’re reading.

Psalm 119, the longest chapter of any book in the Bible, describes how our appreciation for God and His Word increases as we read the Bible and do what it says:

“Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight” (Psalm 119:34-35).

Related Content

to Discover More


The Altar of the Heart

bible holy spirit

True change begins on the inside and moves out. The altar of the heart is a place of consecration, commitment... read more

Watch Sermon

Sermon Series

Altars: Lighting the Fires of Revival

bible holy spirit

Many of us want spiritual awakening in our homes, church, city, and country. The external results we all want... read more

Watch Sermon Series


Everything You Need to Know About Jeremiah

bible jeremiah bible need to know

Context makes a difference in conversation, but also when we read the Bible. That’s why we created Bible Need... read more

Read Article

Sermon Series

NewSpring at Home | Finish Well, Start Strong

success jesus bible faith

NewSpring is home for the holidays. Join us for online gatherings Sunday, Dec. 27, and Sunday, Jan. 3. Servic... read more

Watch Sermon Series


Trusting God’s Promises: A 7-Day Devotional


Trusting God isn’t a one-time thing. Too often, we trust God with our salvation but not with our careers, rel... read more

Read Study


The Christ Candle

jesus christmas bible

Tonight, we light the Christ candle. We remember all He has done, is doing, and will do. He is the Light of t... read more

Watch Sermon


Year of the Bible 2021


Join your no ordinary family in reading the Bible in a year! To get each day’s reading delivered to your phon... read more

Watch Study


The Angel’s Candle

jesus bible peace

The angels were messengers of peace. We can have peace because God is with us, even when we feel alone.

Watch Sermon


The Shepherd’s Candle

jesus bible joy

Our souls run on joy and joy has been hard to find this year. Join us this week as we explore where our joy c... read more

Watch Sermon

What's happening at NewSpring Church?

  • Need to Know: Weekly email to keep you informed about what's happening at NewSpring
  • Fuse News: Email for Fuse parents sent on the first Monday of the month
  • KidSpring Scoop:Email sent each Friday with the scoop on what's happening in KidSpring.
  • Read My Bible: Daily devotional sent via text from 6-7am