Tips for Reading the Bible for the First Time
As a teenager, you’re trying to find which things work for you and which don’t. One of those things that people often experiment with in their teens and early adult years is religion. For those raised in a religious house, the teenager years may be when you research other religions, fully commit to your own faith, or leave religion completely. For those who grew up without faith, the teenage years are a good time to try different options that you may be interested in. For those exploring Christianity, here are some tips for reading the Bible for the first time.
The Bible is a thick religious book offered in lots of different translations that can help or hinder your experimentation. If you’ve never picked up a Bible before or are reading one by yourself for the first time, start slow. Pick an easy translation, such as The Message or English Standard Version, so you can understand what’s going on. Start your reading in the New Testament Gospels since they read more like a biography than some of the complicated historical texts in the Old Testament.
Learn the Context
Understanding the context of historical people, geography, and Old Testament prophecies can be difficult, but it’s important if you’re hoping to understand the Bible. Study Bibles can help provide the context in footnotes that correspond with verses and additional reading suggestions. So it may be smart to invest in one if you have a serious interest in Christianity. If you don’t want to get a study Bible yet, ask a trusted source, such as a priest or Bible teacher, for context clues.
You may think that reading the Bible will be like any other reading experience, but that’s not realistic. It’s not something you can speed read to get the gist of before moving on. The Bible requires a lot of context and asks readers to pause and reflect on how its information affects them. If you’re hoping to get through all of it, or even just one testament, you need to pace yourself and set realistic goals.
Apply the Bible to Your Life
Most Christians believe that every word in the Bible is true. If you want to go beyond reading it to truly experiencing it as a Christian does, you need to be willing to apply the Bible to your everyday life. This could be a simple application, such as reading it every day. Or it can be more intense, such as reading with a group of Christians and learning how to pray and live out Biblical principles. If you’re interested in potentially converting, this life application is an important step.
Starting slow, learning the context, being realistic, and applying the Bible to your life are some of the tips for reading the Bible for the first time. While you don’t have to follow all these tips as you experiment with the Christian religion, they will help you get more out of the experience and see if this faith is right for you.