If I were just beginning to read the Bible, I would expect it to be difficult. After all, if the God of the universe puts His thoughts into a book, it makes sense for some of it to be beyond us.
If I were reading the Bible for the first time, I’d get a modern more readable translation. How to do that? Go to Lifeway Christian Stores and spend an hour checking out all the versions.
If I were reading the Bible for the first time, I’d enlist a great friend or two to take my occasional phone call so I could say, “What does this mean?”
And, if I were reading the Bible for the first time, I would do this:
–Move to the New Testament first. This means ignoring (for the moment) the first two-thirds of the Bible.
–I would begin reading at Matthew chapter one and read large portions each day.
–I would get a notebook and take copious notes on each book of the Bible. And the next time I study this particular book, I’d get a new notebook and go further.
–I would take as a “given” that I would encounter cultures foreign to me, expressions I do not understand, and much that I do not comprehend.
–But I would expect to understand much of what I read. Otherwise, what’s the point? But when I come across phrases and events I don’t understand, I would just keep reading. No one gets calculus the first time. No one comprehends a history of a complex age with one reading..
–Eventually, I would find a small group to study the Bible with. However, most of my reading and study would be solitary.
–I would keep John 13:17 in mind. Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” So the blessing is not in the reading or knowing–although they contain blessings aplenty–but ultimately in the obeying.
Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, ‘Lord’ and do not do the things I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
–And, finally, I would expect to become wonderfully addicted to this greatest of all writings, given to us from the Lord Himself through His faithful servants.
Job said, “I have esteemed the words of Thy mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).