A lot can be said about how to read you Bible, but start with a simple approach before you seek out additional tools and resources:  pray, read, and reflect.

PRAY: It may sound like an elementary act, but don’t forget that the Bible is God’s Word to us. Therefore, ask Him to speak to you through His Word. Ask Him to give you eyes to see, a mind to understand, and a willing heart to respond in obedience to what He is calling you to do.

READ: Make a habit to spend time daily reading God's Word, and if you get stuck on something you read, try reading it in a few different translations (such as the NASB, ESV, NIV, NLT).  As you read, remember the goal in reading Scripture is not simply to get through the Bible, but to allow the Bible to get into you. Let it penetrate your thoughts, emotions, and actions. That’s the reason why this next step is so important.

REFLECT: Take time to reflect on what you’re learning from God’s Word by asking eight simple questions:
  • Four Questions To UNDERSTAND What You’ve Read: 
    • What do we learn about God?  
    • What do we learn about people?  
    • What do we learn about relating to God?  
    • What do we learn about relating to others?

  • Four Questions To APPLY What You’ve Read: 
    • What does God want me to understand?  
    • What does God want me to believe?  
    • What does God want me to desire?  
    • What does God want me to do?


If you want to better understand your Bible, one of the best tools you can have at your fingertips is a good study Bible.  
Two great study Bibles are listed below.

ESV Study Bible

This study Bible is packed with charts, commentary, and insights to help you better understand what you're reading.

Faithlife Study Bible

This free resource by Logos is an excellent online tool to access to understand your Bible.

YouVersion Bible App

This study Bible is packed with charts, commentary, and insights to help you better understand what you're reading.

YouVersion Bible App for Kids

This study Bible is packed with charts, commentary, and insights to help you better understand what you're reading.


When it comes to spending time regularly in God's Word, the question often surfaces, where should I start?  

If that's a question you find yourself, asking, start with the New Testament reading plan Olive Branch has created.  This tool is designed to help you read through the entire New Testament in one year by reading 1 chapter a day, for a total of 5 chapters a week.  

We've divided this reading plan into four volumes that are approximately 90 days in length.  In each volume you'll have the opportunity to read through one of the gospels along with other books of the New Testament.


In just 90 days you'll read through a quarter of the New Testament as you encounter the Gospel of Matthew  along with  Galatians, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Romans.  Each week of this reading plan includes a devotional to help you reflect on what you read that week, along with some questions to help you learn and discuss what you're reading with others.


In  volume two you'll have the chance to read through the Gospel of Luke along with Acts, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. 

VOLUME 3 & 4

In volume three, you'll have the chance to read through the Gospel of Mark along with 1 & 2 Corinthians, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude.

In volume four, you'll have the chance to read through the Gospel of John along with Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Hebrews, and Revelation.


The Bible Project

The Bible Project produces free Bible videos to help you better grasp what each book of the Bible is all about.  There is also an app called Read Scripture that incorporates these videos as you read through the entire Bible.

How to Read the Bible Book by Book 

For each book of the Bible, the authors start with a quick snapshot, then expand the view to help you better understand its key elements and how it fits into the grand narrative of the Bible.  This book will help you read the Bible knowledgeably and accurately.

30 Days to Understand the Bible
by Max Anders

In this book you'll learn the structure of the Bible and how it is put together by reading and filling in the workbook for just 15 minutes a day. You'll come away with a firm grasp of the Bible's key people, places, events and messages. 

Living by the Book
by Howard Hendricks

How would you describe your personal Bible study? Mundane or motivational? Lackluster or lively? Redundant or reviving? Howard and Bill Hendricks offer a practical 3-step process that will help you master simple yet effective inductive methods of observation, interpretation, and application that will make all the difference in your time with God's Word!

How We Got Our Bible by Clinton Arnold

All Scripture is "God-breathed," but who were the writers who penned the Bible's 66 books? Beginning with the oldest manuscripts and ending with modern translations, this image-rich guide will introduce you to the prophets, kings, shepherds, and apostles who wrote the ancient texts; and to the translators who brought God's Word to generations of believers. 

Visual Theology Guide to the Bible by Tim Challies

Picture this---a vibrant illustrated resource that teaches timeless biblical truths to a visual generation! Taking you from Genesis to Revelation, Challies and Byers combine words with photos and infographics to clarify difficult passages and draw connections between ideas, characters, and key concepts. A wonderful way to immerse yourself in God's Word.

IVP Bible Background Commentary

Bible students will appreciate these accessible commentaries that provide passage-by-passage analysis through the Old and New Testaments, explaining the cultural background. Offering a wealth of information, this enlightening 2-volume set provides historical, social, and cultural contexts in a readable style that sparkles with interest and enlarges your understanding of Scripture.

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Multi-volume sets are available for both the New Testament and Old Testament.  Based on relevant papyri, inscriptions, archaeological discoveries, and the latest research on Judaism, Roman culture, Hellenism, and other sources, this accessible reference offers a verse-by-verse look at the NT or OT, putting it in its ancient context.  It includes hundreds of color photographs, illustrations, maps, charts, and more.

How to Read the Bible Series

This series explores the origins, content, and purpose of the Bible. Here you'll be introduced to some of the basic skills necessary for reading the Bible effectively.