A wise man once remarked, “The Bible is the one book you never finish reading.”
That’s a keen observation — and one that millions of Christians would affirm heartily from life experience.
Since the Bible comes from God Himself, it overflows with divine truths and life-changing insights that are meant to be read carefully, digested slowly, and implemented faithfully over a lifetime.
The Bible isn’t spiritual fast food. It’s a soul-satisfying feast we get to enjoy again and again. And it always delivers.
While some books can be read quickly and returned to the shelf or shared with others, the Bible is the only book that maintains its freshness and vitality with every single read. It consistently illuminates our minds with deeper insights about ourselves, God’s person, and the good news of His salvation. Only in sacred Scripture do we find our fears quieted, our focus realigned, our faith strengthened.
Because the Bible is such a life-changing book, pastors passionately urge their congregations to read the Bible regularly. Every year, millions of churchgoers are challenged by their leaders: “Read your Bible!”
But while most people understand the importance of Bible reading, the sad truth is that many struggle along because they haven’t received enough practical instruction on “how” to be more successful in Bible reading.
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If you yearn for better Bible reading, with more enjoyment and greater impact, consider these five keys that can lift your reading to a new level:
1.) Read it historically. Every book of the Bible has a basic context that includes a historical background, setting, and culture. So read it as such.
Take time to uncover the greater context of the Scripture you’re reading. Is it the Old Testament or New Testament era? In what year is it taking place? What is the immediate setting or scene? Who are the main characters? Effective Bible readers understand the principle that “knowledge of the whole prevents error in the parts.”
So take a step back and see the larger picture of what you’re reading.
2.) Read it grammatically. Every word has a unique meaning; the differences are in the details. When you read the Bible, pay attention to the words used in each passage, because words are full to the brim with meaning. If you come upon a word or concept you don’t understand, consult a Bible dictionary or a study Bible.
Just as you have to cut up a steak to digest it properly, some Scriptures require a deeper inquiry. But God’s words are worth the effort.
3.) Read it dramatically. Some people think the Bible is dry or dusty. They couldn’t be more wrong. The Bible is full of drama, action, adventure, intrigue, wars, poetry, and romance, too. And that’s just the Old Testament. When you read the Bible, remember that you are reading about real people in real places doing real things.
Use your imagination and put yourself there in the text. Imagine the sights, the sounds, the smells. What would it have been like to watch David defeat Goliath — or taste the wine that Jesus made from water?
4.) Read it devotionally. When God revealed His Word to humanity, His purpose was not just to inform us but to transform us. He wants to change us from the inside out so that we will reflect His heart and holiness (Romans 12:2). Read the Bible with an eye to personal application and spiritual development.
When you read, ask yourself: Is there a command to obey? An example to follow? A sin to avoid? A principle to embrace? A promise to claim? Remember, God wants each of us to experience a changed life.
5.) Read it redemptively. The Bible may have 66 different books, but together they form one united story of redemption. In the same way that all compasses point north, all the genres and stories of the Bible point to God’s work in human history to rescue sinners through Jesus, His Son. The point is, if you’re reading the Bible and you’re not seeing the glories of salvation through Jesus Christ, you’re not reading it correctly (John 5:39).
Every year, thousands of new books enter the American marketplace, both in print and in digital formats. King Solomon was right when he observed that “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).
But for all the pleasures we might experience by finishing the latest novel or political biography, nothing can compare to the lifelong blessings that come with faithful Bible reading.
When we open the Bible, we’re not just reading another book — we’re communing with an eternal God.
Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 20 years. He is also the featured Bible teacher on the “Preaching for a Change” weekly podcast.