Six Steps to Reading Your Bible

  • Tony Payne
  • 27 March 2013

Six Steps to Reading Your Bible Instead of regarding the Bible as "more to be desired than gold" and "rejoicing the heart", like David in the psalms, somehow, for many of us, regularly feeding on God's word ends up in the same category as regular exercise: a healthy chore we know we should fit in and that we benefit from, but which is hard to manage amongst everything else, and ends up slipping off the agenda. As the Lord Jesus said of his sleepy disciples: "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak". Whatever your current Bible reading habits (or lack of them), and whatever your level of knowledge and confidence, Six Steps to Reading Your Bible will help you make progress in getting into your Bible. The course is especially designed for use in small groups, and utilizes a mix of video instruction, fun skits, Bible study, discussion, practical exercises, prayer and home assignments that will help you on the road to establishing a new and more enjoyable Bible reading habit. Who can benefit? Six Steps to Reading Your Bible is an ideal course for three groups of people:

  • People who are new to the Christian faith. It will give them a very valuable introduction to the place of the Bible in the Christian life, and a set of basic tools for getting started in reading it.
  • Those who have been Christians a while, but who have never had much training in simple but important Bible study principles.
  • Experienced Bible readers, who will find Six Steps to Reading Your Bible a valuable 'refresher' course, and will gain a healthy new vigour in their personal Bible reading.

Six Steps to Reading Your Bible is a course best undertaken in a small group (of 3-8 people). To run the course you will need:

  • the text of each study (printed out or distributed digitally) for each person
  • the leader's notes, which are a separate download
  • a way to show the video content to your group.

Download a free sample of the first study.

About the authors

Tony Payne is the Publishing Director of Matthias Media, and author of many popular books and resources, including Guidance and the Voice of God (with Phillip Jensen), Fatherhood: What it is and what it’s for, and The Course of Your Life.

Simon Roberts is married to Alison and has two daughters. He was previously employed by a church in Sydney to run their School of Ministry, which builds and equips congregation members for the work of service. Simon is currently the senior minister at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Malabar, Sydney.


Introduction

“How sweet are your words to my taste,” says the psalmist about the law of God, “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps 119:103).

Most Christians would acknowledge that the Bible is indeed the sweet and satisfying word of God, but somehow it doesn’t always feel this way. Too often, reading the Bible feels like our attempts to have regular exercise—a healthy chore we know we should fit in, but which is hard to manage amongst everything else, and ends up slipping off the agenda.

The research on Bible reading among contemporary Christians certainly doesn’t make very happy reading. If there are ten people in your small group using this course, six of them either never read the Bible or do so only very occasionally. A further two read the Bible once a week or a few times a week. Only two of the ten read the Bible every day, or most days.

Why is it like this? Is it lack of motivation? Lack of discipline? Lack of knowing where to start? Lack of confidence?

Whatever your current Bible reading habits (or lack of them), and whatever your level of knowledge and confidence, Six Steps to Reading Your Bible will help you make progress in getting into your Bible. The course is especially designed for use in small groups, and utilizes a mix of video instruction, Bible study, discussion, practical exercises, prayer and assignments.

Over the six sessions of the course, you will:

  • become familiar with the basic shape and nature of the Bible, and some important facts about it
  • understand why we should read the Bible, and be motivated to do something about it
  • learn some simple steps and methods for applying basic reading skills to the Bible
  • learn not only how to work out what a Bible passage means, but how it applies to your life
  • begin to develop some good regular Bible reading habits through instruction, discussion and practice
  • develop confidence that you can read and understand the Bible for yourself
  • understand how the whole message of the Bible hangs together and centres on Jesus
  • benefit from the encouragement and experience of others, as you work together in learning to read the Bible.

May this short course help you discover (or re-discover) the sweetness of feeding from God’s written word, and equip you to keep feeding from it for a lifetime.

— Tony Payne and Simon Roberts, May 2008