1. Pick a book
Don't just randomly open the Bible and start reading. This is no way to get into God's word. Our God is a God of order. There's a reason that he put the books and chapters in a specific order. Plus when you read the entire book and not just random sections you get to see a bigger picture of God. Now who doesn't want that?
I'm reading Exodus right now, but Judges and Joshua are my favorites!2. Read a chapter or two.
As you read, mark down things that jump out at you or things that are confusing.3. Summarize or Paraphrase what you just read.
This helps me really understand what I just read. Often times in order to summarize things I have to read it 2 or 3 times in order to really understand it. Don't worry if you have to also!4. Look up what you read.
Of the verses that stuck out to you, pick a few things and look them up in a commentary or background guide. Or look up the words in a Bible dictionary or lexicon.
Hear me out, this doesn't mean that you have to go out and spend $50,000 on a collection of books that make you look like a recent seminary grad. If you have an extra fifty grand laying around and want to then by all means! Go for it! (And send me a few books while your at it!) But if you're like me and live on a limited budget that doesn't include a $700 commentary on a single book of the Bible, there are TONS of great free resources online!
My very favorite Bible tool is BibleStudyTools.com
What's great about it is that you can create an account for free and save notes and things you've "marked" in your online Bible. There's tons of different versions and you can see the words in original Greek or Hebrew. If you don't use this, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you start. It's so great. (PS they don't know me, I just really love them!)
If you can afford a commentary, or just want one in a book form, I have the Wiersbe Commentary. You can buy it here.5. Find principles that are true
Now look for some principles that stick out to you which are universal. Things like God's character, our sin, eternity, money, relationships, etc. One of my observations from Joshua 22 came from verse 20. "When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin"
A principle that God showed me was that my sin affects others.6. Process what you read
Talk to God about what you read. Ask Him why He brought those principles to your mind. What is true about God and mankind from what you read? What would you be thinking or feeling if you were there?7. Apply what you read
How does what you read and the principles you saw relate to your day-to-day life? How do the principles you saw affect you on a Thursday at 2pm? How can you respond with an action step to what you read? What is a goal you can set or something you can trust God for based on what you read?
This is how I read the Old Testament. Especially the history books like Judges, Joshua, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, etc. Someday I'll blog about how I read the New Testament (it's mostly the same but there are a few differences!)
So this is what works for me! I'm linking it up here at We Are That Family