The Bible is the main source of our knowledge about God. It is His inspired and authoritative Word that has the power to build faith , hope and truth into our lives. The following Daily Bible Reading Program will help you to work through the Bible systematically so that the Word of God dwells richly in your life and produces joy in your heart.
A Biblical Basis of Missions (Your Mission as a Christian)
by Avery T. Willis, Jr. click here
A Daily Morning & Evening Reading Devotional Plan from Jan to Dec click here
(C. H. Spurgeon Morning & Evening Devotional & 13 ebooks on Bible Reading & much more)
A Family Alter Time - Bible Study Time with the Familyclick here
About The Bible
The Bible was written over 1500 years between about 1400 BC and 95AD. The Old Testament is God's dealings with Israel and consists of 39 books written and collected together over 1000 years from 1400BC to 400BC. Then there was a big gap of 400 years until Jesus was born. The New Testament consists of 27 books written between about 50AD and 95AD and is the record of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic while the New Testament was written in Greek. Thus the Bible you read is a translation of these original ancient manuscripts which were very carefully preserved and translated.
The Index /Table Of Contents
Because the Bible was written by many people over a long period of time, the books of the Bible are not arranged alphabetically but topically, chronologically and by the type of writing. It is a bit confusing at first. So most Bibles have an Index or Table of Contents in the front. This will give you the page numbers of the various books of the Bible. So if your pastor says to look up the book of Romans, you go to the Index and find it there, and then go to the page it indicates.
The Structure Of The Bible: Testaments, Books, Chapters and Verses..
When you open your Bible and look at it you will notice it is not structured like most other books, it is written more like a legal document in which everything is numbered. It is important to understand this structure.
The Bible is divided into two Testaments, (a Testament is like a will or contract), the Old Testament which mainly details God's dealings with the nation of Israel and the New Testament which contains material about Jesus and the Church.
Each Testament contains many separate "books" which were originally bible scrolls written by various prophets and apostles. The Old Testament contains 39 books and the New Testament contains 27 books.
Each book is divided into chapters - which generally are about one or two pages long. Each chapter is then divided into "verses" which are short sections of Scripture, generally about a sentence or a paragraph in length. The verse numbers were put in there to help people find their place in the Bible.
Eventually people came up with a shorthand notation to refer to bible verses that describes the book, chapter and verse. The shorthand consists of the name of the book, followed the a space, then the number of the chapter, a colon, and then the number of the verse like this: John 3:16 or Romans 8:1
So John 3:16 indicates the book of John, chapter 3, and verse 16 and Romans 8:1 indicates the book of Romans, chapter 8, and verse 1
So when someone says something like "please find James 3:16" this is what you do:
Go to the index and find the book of James (it is in the New Testament).
Go to the page number for the book of James indicated in the index.
Then turn the pages until you get to chapter 3.
Then look down until you find verse 16.
It is good to practice this for ten minutes or so until you get really used to it.
A Bible Reading Method You Can Use
The following is a bible reading method . It is very simple: Pray,Read, Think, Pray.
Pray: Ask God to open up His Word to you. "Lord open my eyes that I may see wonders from your Word".
Read a short passage of Scripture about ten to fifteen verses or a chapter. Start with the New Testament first and read it in order from Matthew to Revelation.
Think: Think about what you have just read and ask some of the following questions:
What does the passage say about God? What does it say about the Father, about the Son and about the Holy Spirit?
What does the passage say about life? Does it teach some important principles? Is there a command to obey, a warning to heed, some wise advice for living?
What does the passage say about your daily situation? Is there something you should be doing? Does it shed light on your professional life, family life or church participation?
Has Jesus spoken to you in a special way through the Bible today? If so what did He say to you?
Write out a prayer to God based on what you have learned from your Bible reading. Something like "Lord help me to love my neighbor as myself." or whatever lesson you have learned that day.
Where To Start
Where should you start when reading the Scriptures? With the material about Jesus. That is the New Testament and especially the gospels. Here is my suggested order for reading the whole Bible. It will take about three years to finish if you read one chapter per day and one year to finish if you read 3 or 4 chapters a day.
Read the New Testament in order, starting with Matthew and going book by book until you reach the last chapter of Revelation. This will give you a good idea bout Jesus, the Church and Christian living.
Then go back to the beginning of the Bible and read Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy which tells you how things began and God's order for Creation, mankind and society.
Then read the Psalms in order from 1 to 50 then take a break (there are 150 of them).
Read Isaiah 40-66, Daniel, Amos, Hosea, Jonah, Haggai, Zechariah, Lamentations and Malachi which should help you grasp the prophets.
Then read Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Solomon - known as the Wisdom Literature.
Joshua , Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings, 1& 2 Chronicles - this will give you a good grasp of the history of Israel.
Then go back and read the New Testament from start to finish all over again.
Then go back and read another 50 Psalms (51-100).
Then tackle the Old Testament laws in Leviticus and Numbers.
More prophets - Ezekiel, Isaiah 1-39, Jeremiah these are the "major prophets."
Finish with some less known books Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Joel, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, & Zephaniah.
Then finish the last 50 Psalms (101-150).
What Is The Best Bible To Use?
Many people are confused by the large number of different bible translations available. This has come about because the Bible was written in three original languages Hebrew (most of the Old Testament) Aramaic (some of the OT) and Greek trade language of the 1st century known as koine Greek (the New Testament). There are basically four types of bibles depending on how they choose to do the translation process:
Literal translations: These translate the bible with word by word and are very accurate. While they are very faithful to the original text they can be somewhat clumsy when put into English. Literal translations include the King James version, The New King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and the New American Standard Bible. My favorites here are the New American Standard Bible and the New King James version.
Are translated phrase by phrase or concept by concept. They are still quite accurate but not as literally accurate as those above. They are much easier to read and understand. They include the Good News Bible, the New international Version, The Contemporary English Version and many others. The NIV is the best dynamic translation. For people using English as a second language the Contemporary English version is excellent.
Paraphrases: Very loose translations of the bible they rearrange the material within each paragraph so it flows smoothly and put the bible into very contemporary concepts. They should not be used for in-depth bible study but are very easy for daily bible reading. Many find them helpful but personally I do not use them. They include the Message, the Living Bible, the New Living Bible, and many others.
Wrong or Misleading Translations:
These include the New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses and other versions produced by cults.
From all the above here are my recommendations:
You should use the most accurate version available in your heart language. It should also be sufficiently modern for you to read it easily. The King James or Authorized Version is a very accurate Bible but was written four centuries ago in a different form of English known as Elizabethan English. Many of the words it uses are now obsolete or have changed meaning for instance the word "prevent" means "to go before" in the King James Version and the word "handsome" means sly and tricky - not attractive. So because it can confuse people I do not generally recommend the King James Version. The New King James Version is an equally accurate translation with more modern English and is the main one I use. Other good translations include: NASB (New American Standard Bible), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), and the NIV (New International Version). Some easy to read but not so accurate translations include The Living Bible (LB) , The New Living Bible (NLB), The Message, The Good News Bible (GNB) and the Contemporary English Version (CEV). Avoid some poor translations such as the New World Translation by the Jehovah's Witnesses which contains serious errors. I mainly use the New King James Version and the New American Standard Bible as they are very accurate translations.
A study bible is a bible translation plus footnotes that explain the text and help the reader to grasp its message. They are very useful and every Christian should own one. The NIV Study Bible is the bible I give to people when they are converted. The NIV translation is easy to read, quite accurate and the notes and helps in the NIV Study Bible are excellent. The Open Bible with a New King James Version translation would also be a very good choice. If you want just one Bible version the ones I recommend are The Open Bible, the Thompson Chain Reference Bible and the NIV Study Bible. The Open Bible and the Thompson Chain Reference have the advantage of having a variety of translations available in their formats.
Finding The Time
Fifteen minutes is about all you need to read a chapter of the Bible, think, take a few notes, then pray. I do my daily bible reading first thing in the morning as I wake up with my first cup of coffee for the day. Other people have their 'quiet time" on the train on the way to work or at lunch on a bench in the park. For many years I had my bible reading time at night just before I went to bed. Any time that you can carve out as a habit on every day of the week is the best time. Find a quiet place where you can pray and read and think in private. We "find time" for those things that are important to us and surely meeting God in His Word should be the most important thing in our lives. You do not have to use special words or kneel down or adopt a special bodily posture, it is the attitude of your heart that counts. I like praying as I walk.
Books and Resources That Can Help You Understand The Bible.
Commentaries - these analyze passages of the bible in-depth. The Tyndale commentary series is good enough for most people while pastors and bible students might want to use the Word commentaries or the New International commentaries on the OT and NT. Some good one volume commentaries that treat the whole Bible in one volume are available - just ask your Christian bookstore.
An excellent devotional commentary is Matthew Henry's Commentary.online click here.
Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary Download (zip file) click here.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary (pdf file) Read or Save to your computer click here
Maps and Archaeology/Bible Lands - Knowing a bit about the life and times, history and culture of people in Bible lands can be fascinating and very helpful.You can also see our maps and archaeology and Bible Lands at Bible Mapsclick here.
A Bible Dictionary is a way to find all you need to know about the life and culture. Easton's Bible Dictionary - read online or Download (zip file) click here.
A Topical Bible is excellent for looking up topics of the Bible. Torrey's New Topical Textbookclick here.
Concordances/Bible Programs - a concordance is like an extensive index to the Bible that lists the words in the Bible and where they can be found. They are very helpful in bible study so that you can easily find all the verses on "money" or some other topic and find out all the Bible has to say about it. Good concordances include Strong's, Young's and Crudens.
Bible programs also allow you to do this very quickly on a computer and have many other helps as well. while good Bible search programs include Quick verse, and Logos.
You can also search the Bible and use commentaries and other resources online at our Bible Study Tools section or you can Download Resources click here.
Daily Reading Plan for an Year with The World English Bible click here.
Read Slowly read the passage listed. The passages are relatively short, so take time to consider each phrase. If you do not understand something, you might refer to your Bible's study notes.
Apply Ponder the brief interpretation in light of the passage. What is the biblical writer trying to say? What is the main point? Using the thought-provoking questions, seek the Spirit's guidance
regarding your own response to the passage. These are not quick fill-in-the-blank questions; they are intended to cause you to slow down and meditate on the truth God is teaching you. How does the biblical teaching apply to your life? Where do you need to grow or change? How has Christ already changed you?
Pray for a genuinely transformed life enabled to live as Christ lived. You might use this time to pray for other issues as well. Praise Christ for his goodness.
Do Daily suggestions that help drive the message in practical ways deep into your heart and life.
How God Guides by R. A. Torrey click here (God Guides by His Word, God Leads by His Spirit, God Guides Us by Enlightening Our Judgment, God May Guide by Visions and Dreams, God Guides by His Providence)
How to get the Most From Reading Your Bible by Thomas Watson click here
How to Study and Teach the Bible by Elmer L. Towns click here
How To Study The Bible by Watchman Nee click here
(Preparing the Person, Methods of Studying the Bible, etc.)
How To Study The Bible by R. A. Torrey click here (Introductory to Methods of Bible Study, Study of Individual Books, Topical Study,
Biographical Study, Study of Types, Study of the Books of the Bible in the Order in the Bible and their Chronological Order, The Study of the Bible for Practical Usefulness in Dealing with Men, Fundamental Conditions of the Most Profitable Bible Study, Final Suggestions)
How to Work for Christ Volume 3 Preaching & Teaching the Word of God by R. A. Torrey click here (How to Prepare a Sermon, Preparation & Delivery of Bible Readings, Illustrations & Their Use, Teaching the Bible, Textual Sermons in Outline, Topical Sermons in Outline, Expository Sermons & Bible Readings in Outline
Principles of Biblical Interpretation by R. A. Torrey click here
Profiting From the Word by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and Christ by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and God by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and Good Works by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and Joy by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and Love by Arthur W. Pink click here The Scriptures and Obedience by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and Prayer by Arthur W. Pink click here The Scriptures and Sin by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and the Promises by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Scriptures and the World by Arthur W. Pink click here
The Bible Book By Book by Josiah Blake Tidwell click here
The Bible Period by Period by Josiah Blake Tidwell click here
The Power of the Word of God by R. A. Torrey click here
(The Word of God has Power to Convict of Sin, The Word of God has Power to Regenerate, The Word of God has Power to Produce Faith, The Word of God has Power to Cleanse, The Word of God has Power to Build Up, The Word of God has Power to Make Wise, The Word of God has Power to give Assurance of Eternal Life, The Word of God has Power to bring Peace into the Heart, The Word of God has Power to Produce Joy, Patience Comfort and Hope also come Through the Word of God, The Word of God has Power to Protect from Error and Sin)
The Strait Way to Heaven by William Dyer click here
The Victory List of Bible Promises by Robert Gunn click here
Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God by R. A. Torrey click here
Twenty Minutes A Day (A Daily Bible Reading Plan) by Robert Gunn click here
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