The Bible, or commonly called “Scripture,” was written over about 1,200 years, and for protestant churches is made up of 66 books – 39 books in the Old Testament, and 27 books in the New Testament. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek but has been translated into many other languages over time.

The Bible was written by many people and because the authors had different experiences with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit, each story is different. We can see lots of different sides of God when we read the Bible, however, there is one clear message throughout Scripture: the relationship between God and humanity is a covenant. Covenant can mean “promise” or “bond.” Throughout Scripture, God pursues a complete and wonderful relationship with humanity – those of the past and us today. God loves us, has a plan for our lives, and promises to always be with us. 

The above video is part of Bible Project. The Bible Project is a nonprofit animation studio that produces short-form films, which help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.  Watch more of their videos on “How to read the Bible.”

Selecting a Bible

When reading the Bible be sure to have a good translation (not a paraphrase) that is easy for you to understand. There is no “right” translation, but some are better than others depending on your needs. Select a Bible that you will read and use to grow in knowledge, love, and relationship with God. Before purchasing a Bible visit an online Bible provider ( and read different versions until you find the right fit for you. Plus, check out the Bible translation chart at the bottom of this page.
When it comes to teaching resources published by The United Methodist Publishing House, the Common English Bible (CEB) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) are the texts preferred by Discipleship Ministries for curriculum. Pastor Tommy primarily uses the NRSV in the sanctuary, and Pastor Abe uses CEB in Wellspring.
Bible for Children
If you plan to read the Bible with children or young people, the CEB, the NIV, or the ESV, are very good choices.   The language in these translations tends to be more readable and modern. These translations also avoid some of the difficult phrases and words you often find in other translations, which also makes them excellent choices to use with anyone not familiar with the Bible. The Children’s Ministry uses the Deep Blue Bible, which is a CEB version.
Bible for Teens
There are a lot of options for teens; the final decision is simply a matter of preference. The best option is one they will read and will help them grow in faith. Consider a Bible that offers “help” through study notes, introductions, a detailed index, and concordance. Most study Bibles include these tools and other useful information. Next, you will want to consider a translation. Teens usually prefer a more modern translation (like the CEB, NIV, or ESV).

Getting Started

  1. Set aside some time for Bible reading. Make it a part of your daily routine.
  2. Pray before reading. Ask God to open your heart and mind to the Scripture.
  3. Open the book and read the chapter or Bible story you have chosen out loud. Underline or highlight words/sentences and write down questions and insights that jump out at you.
  4. After you have read the passage, ask some or all the following questions:
    1. What did I learn about God from this passage?
    2. What did I learn about humans (myself) from this passage?
    3. What does this passage tell me about my relationship with Christ?
    4. How does this passage call me to grow in my faith?
    5. How does this passage comfort, help, or heal me?
    6. Is there a command to follow or an action to be lived out?
    7. Why did the author feel this was necessary to write about?
    8. How does this scripture help me live life in my day-to-day routines?


If you don’t feel like you’ve learned anything, don’t get discouraged. Be honest with God and pray. Say something like, “God, I have no idea what this passage means, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend time in Scripture. Guide me to deeper understanding as I seek to grow closer to you.” Then, close your Bible and try again tomorrow or move to another book of the Bible and spend some time reading.
Check out these two resources for reading plans, encouragement, and consistency. is a great resource for reading the bible. They offer hundreds of bible translations, dozens of reading plans, an app, and audio bibles. Be sure to download the app, and if you have kids, the kid app.
Bible Gateway is another great resource that allows you to search scripture, create reading plans, and view dozens of bible translations. They also offer study tools. download the app.

Bible Reading Ideas

  • Study a word such as faith, love, hope, joy, sin, forgiveness, or humility.
  • Study the characteristics of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
  • Compare the similarities of the Gospels.
  • Study the women of the Bible.
  • Learn the many names of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Find a reading plan online and follow it each day.
  • Study a theme such as baptism, miracles, or righteousness.
  • Study Jesus’ parables.
  • Study the prophets and their general message or warning.
  • Study the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Memorize 3-5 verses that you want to guide and direct your life.
  • Study a specific book. What is the context, why was it written, how does it matter for today?
  • Study the life of Jesus.
  • Study the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • When reading place yourself in the story. What do you hear, smell, see, feel?
  • Read one chapter of Proverbs each day for a month.
  • Study key characters, places, or events.
  • Find an accountability partner and read through the Bible together.