How you read the Bible

I’m really curious about how you read the Bible. (First thing in the morning. Last thing at night. Once every blue moon). I often talk about how I read the Bible, and I’ve made many suggestions about how to read the Bible. (In great swaths, pages at a time. I don’t read, I listen. In or or two or seven word bits. A different translation every month.) But I’m not sure that I’ve ever asked you how you read the Bible (Out of obligation. On my Kindle. With great expectation. From cover to cover.)

So now I’m asking: How do you read the Bible?

I’m not looking for right answers. (When I get really desperate. With a cup of tea and a dictionary next to me. I read a bit and talk a bit a read a bit.) I’m looking for your answers. (Out loud, until my cat looks at me. I haven’t for a couple years. Five chapters at a time.) And when I saw “how” I mean when and where and why and with what tools and anything else you want to say.

You can comment here, of course. If you receive this by email, you can hit <reply> and send me an answer. You can email me at jnswanson [at] gmail [dot] com. You can tell me face to face. You can make a video and send me a link.

Thanks. I appreciate it. I’ll let you know what I hear.


15 thoughts on “How you read the Bible

  1. Paul Merrill

    Lying on my back, in bed, first thing in the morning, on my Kindle. New Living Translation. Sometimes I read the God’s Word Translation, for comparison purposes. It’s also on my Kindle, and I got it free.

    I hate the Kindle for church, as it’s really hard to look up another passage. I do like the YouVersion app for my mobile device, which is what I use in church.


  2. Jeff Abel

    I’ve been reading through the Gospels a chapter a day and jotting down some notes – kind of an outline with events, quotes, additional thoughts, questions, or comments. I’m reading from the Jewish New Testament to try to get a new perspective on the text.


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  4. Jennifer L

    Youversion on my IPad or nook color. English standard currently as I am trying to adjust to it for quizzing. The current plan is the Bible in a year that includes 3 or 4 different passages a day. Before the NIV 84 went away I would listen to the audio. This is the first time that it looks like I might get through the “in a year” plan in a timely fashion (say 13 months or so). Before I found Youversion, I really didn’t read it daily even though I believed it was important. I use my NIV 84 print version when I am studying for BSF or preparing for Sunday School teaching because it is quicker to look up multiple passages.


  5. Kendra

    I’m using the “Read through the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers”. Each day of the week is a chapter or several from a different section of the Bible – Sunday / OT Poetry, Monday / Pentatuch, Tuesday / OT History, etc.

    So far I find it easier to not get stuck in Job or in the “begats” (though now that I am working on family genealogy, I do find those areas more interesting), and I don’t find it disruptive to not be reading straight through. I find myself connecting the dots a bit more – remembering references to Psalms and Isaiah in the Gospels, etc. And, after dissecting chapter, verse and word many times over the years, just reading through whole sections is a refreshing change.

    As for the exact how, I’m using so I can switch between versions – generally the Revised Standard Version because it was the version read in church when I was growing up, and because it doesn’t have the “descriptive headers” between the sections so I can just read through.


  6. LoyaltyTruth (@LoyaltyTruth)

    I read some every day, but do miss a day here or there. I normally read twice per day with different thoughts in mind. In the morning,

    I am often following more of a “study”, either reading scriptures we have talked about in Church or groups or, as I am doing now, reading through each of the 4 Gospels “just because” I wanted to do so.

    In the evening, I often choose verses that resonate for a longer term with me. This might be a Proverb or Psalm that hits home or a section of Revelation or another book that has grabbed my attention based on circumstances in my life at the moment.

    I’m thinking about reading additional translations as I have heard this to be a good way to round out our understanding. I usually read the NIV, but have a Message Bible and NKJ sitting here as well one or two others.


  7. Lee Colvin

    I read whatever is assigned for my weekly bible study. I use an ipad most of the time as it is so much faster and easier to hold. I love my “real bible” but it is so think and the pages so thin, I have come to using my ipad most of the time. And I can still underline and make notes!
    If I am not in a bible study I am not near as disaplined about picking up my bible to read. I need some accountability.


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  9. Chris T.

    I need my weathered little NIV book Book! I never thought I’d be such a Luddite, but I just don’t feel the same intimacy reading on a “device”. I like the turned edges, underlines and scribbles of the well-read passages that have marked my journey. I have certain books (Romans) and verses that I read often rather than taking a more disciplined approach to read the Bible in narrative form.

    I am most inspired to read the Bible in study-mode through my bible study group and the specific studies we do. I also find inspiration and direction through daily devotionals, podcasts, books and sharing with friends.

    When I’m including the Bible as part of my daily dialogue vs. feeling the pressure to add it to my “to do” list, it’s much easier for me to listen and actually hear the Living Word of God.


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