General Bible Reading Guidelines
When starting out reading the Bible for the first time it can feel a little intimidating. Here are some general guidelines from Pastor Rick Warren on how to get started:
- Set a time and place. Start with 7 minutes and build up to 15 minutes over a couple weeks.
- Relax. Be still for a moment.
- Request. Offer a short opening prayer.
- Reflect & Remember. Meditate on what you're reading.
- Record. Write down what God says to you.
- Request. Speak to God in prayer.
SOAP Notes are another useful way to keep track of how God is speaking to you through His Word. For each reading you do, make a SOAP note.
S = Write down the Scripture passage that stood out to you as you read.
O = Make some general observations about what the passage means generally to everyone.
A = Record how your life will be different because of what you just read. Make a personal application.
P = Write out a short prayer.
When we spend time with God in His Word, the words of James to be doers rather than mere listeners is our primary concern. Here is helpful way to apply your learning:
S = Sin to avoid or address?
P = Promise to claim?
E = Example to follow or unfollow?
C = Command to obey?
K = Knowledge to acquire?
S = Summarize the passage.
5 minutes a day | If you don't have a plan for reading God's Word, start with just 5 minutes a day. After you get in the habit of 5 minutes, let your habit build up to 15 minutes. That's just 1 hour and 45 minutes a week!
5 days a week | Set a fixed time and location to spend 5 minutes with God for 5 days a week. Where is your spot? Your favorite chair? The kitchen table with a cup of coffee?
5 ways to dig deeper | Below are 5 ways to dig deeper each day. Pick an exercise to practice as you read. Keep a pen and paper handy to jot down any insights you have to help you remember better. "Do I really need a journal?" you ask. Yes, you do. Trust me.
- Underline or highlight a verse that stood out to you most as you read.
- Summarize what you read in your own words. Jot down just a sentence or two.
- Write down your questions. Eventually you will be stumped by something you just read. Write your question.
- Capture the big idea of the text. What's the big idea in this passage or chapter?
- Personal application. How do these truths apply to me personally? What am I specifically going to do with it?