How To Start Reading The Bible: An In-Depth Guide

If you’re just getting started reading the Bible, it can be confusing. You may find yourself wondering just how to start reading the Bible.

It’s such a MASSIVE book.

And there are so many verses and chapters and books within the overall book.

Where should you start? Is it like a regular book where you start at the beginning? Or can you start reading the Bible anywhere?

What should you do when you read the Bible?

How much should you read each day?

So many questions.

In an effort to simplify things for you, I’ve put together this simple, yet in-depth guide on how to start reading the Bible.


Let’s dive in.

How To Start Reading The Bible: Come With A Humble Heart

Before we talk about the nitty-gritty details of where to start and how much to read every day and all that jazz, let’s talk about how you should read the Bible.

In other words, the sort of attitude you should have when you open the pages of Scripture.

The primary attitude you should when you read the Bible is one of humility. The Bible is no ordinary book. It is not a novel. It’s not even a great work of antiquity.

No, it’s far more than that. The Bible is the word of God. It is God’s very words to you. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…”

Did you catch that?

All Scripture is breathed out by God. In other words, it’s from the living, holy, all-powerful, righteous God. The words of the Bible are not ordinary, human words. They are the words of God.

Because the Bible is God’s word, you should approach it with humility. With a heart that says:

God, I want to learn from you. I put aside all my notions of what my life should be like and I submit to your word. I humbly listen to you and will seek to obey whatever you tell me in this book.

When we read the Bible with humility, God does great and amazing things. He speaks to us, transforms us, makes us more like him, and helps us grow in godliness. When we read with humility, God meets with us.

When it comes to how to start reading the Bible, your primary attitude should be one of humble reverence and worship.

Pray Before You Start

I can’t stress this point enough. Because the Bible was written by God, you need God’s help to understand what it means. You need the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.

Therefore, one of the most important things you can do when starting to read the Bible is to pray that God would give you understanding. Ask him to both help you understand what verses mean and to apply what you read to your life.

Want to know how to start reading the Bible? Pray. Then pray some more. If you come across a verse that doesn’t make sense, pray that God would give you clarity on what it means.

The more you pray, the more God will give you understanding of what the Bible means.

Where To Start Reading The Bible

Now let’s talk about where you should start reading the Bible.

Here’s the good news. There is no particular spot in the Bible that is better. It’s all God’s word, and it’s all equally valuable and precious.

However, there are some portions of Scripture that are more difficult to understand than others. For example, some of the prophetic books, such as Isaiah and Daniel, are more challenging to read.

On the flip side, there are some portions of Scripture that are much simpler.

If you’re new to the Bible, I recommend you start with a simpler portion and then move on to more complex sections as you grow in your understanding.

I recommend starting in one of the following places.

The Gospels

The Gospels are the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All of these books tell the story of Jesus and what he accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection.

They speak of his actions and miracles and the words he spoke. As you read the gospels, you’ll grow in your understanding of who Jesus was and why he came to earth. When it comes to how to start reading the Bible, it’s hard to beat the gospels.


The book of Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul and paints a wonderful picture both of who Jesus Christ is, as well as what it means to live as a Christian.

Though it’s a relatively simple book, it contains profound truths that will absolutely change your life. Once you’ve read Philippians, you can then go on to read other books written by Paul.


Most of the Psalms were written by a king named David. The Psalms are very down to earth and speak to every type of situation you might encounter.

There are Psalms of praise, Psalms of sadness, Psalms of gratitude, Psalms of trust, and just about any other subject you can think of. The Psalms are immensely practical and help you to meet with God in the midst of whatever circumstances you’re facing.


Genesis tells the story of how the world began. In the book of Genesis, you meet the God who created all things, learn why the world is broken, and get the first hints of God’s plan to fix all that is broken.

There are some part of Genesis that are a little bit difficult to understand, but overall it’s a beautiful book that lays the foundation for the rest of the Bible.

How To Start Reading The Bible: Use The Right Tools

If you want to know how to start reading the Bible, there are some additional tools that can make it much easier when you’re first getting started.

A Study Bible

A study Bible is simply a Bible with additional notes added in from really smart Bible scholars. These notes help you understand what different verses mean and can really be helpful if something doesn’t make sense to you.

I personally recommend the ESV Study Bible, although there are many other study Bibles that are excellent as well.

If you need help choosing a study Bible, I put together an in-depth guide to help you.

ESV Study Bible (TruTone, Walnut, Celtic Imprint Design)
ESV Study Bible (TruTone, Walnut, Celtic Imprint Design)
ESV Bibles (Author); English (Publication Language); 2752 Pages - 03/31/2015 (Publication Date) - Crossway (Publisher)
$84.99 −$39.00 $45.99


Commentaries are books written by scholars about books of the Bible. In commentaries, they “comment” (hence the name) on each verse, providing further guidance on what they mean, how to understand them, etc.

Some commentaries are more complicated and technical than others. If you want a really simple, easy to understand set of commentaries, I recommend the “Be…” series by Warren Wiersbe.

When it comes to how to start reading the Bibles, let commentaries act as guides to further understanding. They never replace reading the Bible. They act as supplements to the Bible.

Wiersbe Bible Commentary NT (Wiersbe Bible Commentaries)
Wiersbe Bible Commentary NT (Wiersbe Bible Commentaries)
Hardcover Book; Wiersbe, Warren W. (Author); English (Publication Language); 1088 Pages - 11/01/2007 (Publication Date) - David C Cook (Publisher)
$49.99 −$18.00 $31.99
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary OT: The Complete Old Testament in One Volume (Wiersbe Bible Commentaries)
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary OT: The Complete Old Testament in One Volume (Wiersbe Bible Commentaries)
Hardcover Book; Wiersbe, Warren W. (Author); English (Publication Language); 1536 Pages - 11/01/2007 (Publication Date) - David C Cook (Publisher)
$54.99 −$19.68 $35.31

If you want a full list of the best commentaries on every book of the Bible, I recommend you check out Tim Challies’ list.

How Much Should You Read The Bible?

Believe it or not, the Bible never specifically prescribes a certain amount of Bible reading. It doesn’t say, “You must read your Bible three times per week for maximum blessings.”

What it does say is that the more we read our Bibles, the more we will know God and the more we’ll be blessed. Psalm 119:56 says the following about God’s word, “This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.”

In other words, David is saying that he has been blessed in numerous ways because he has kept the precepts (commands) of God. As David read God’s word and sought to obey it, he came to know God more and was blessed by God.

So while there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much you should read the Bible, the more you read it, the more you’ll know God and experience his various blessings.

Overall, it’s better to read a smaller amount on a regular basis than big chunks every once in a while. If you implement the regular spiritual discipline of reading God’s word, even if it’s just for 15 minutes per day, you’ll find yourself growing spiritually in ways you never imagined.

God will bless you as you read his word regularly and you’ll find yourself remembering and applying it in all sorts of situations.

Psalm 119:11 talks about “storing up” God’s word in our hearts. When we consistently read God’s word and store it up in our hearts, God will cause us to grow spiritually.

So when it comes to how to start reading the Bible, I recommend the small and steady approach. Be faithful to read a small amount every day and you’ll reap rewards.

Other Tips and Tricks

Here are a few other suggestions that can help you when you’re just getting started reading the Bible.

Write Down Your Thoughts and Questions

There is something particularly helpful about writing, especially when you’re reading the Bible. It forces you to slow down, to ask questions of the text, and to clarify your thoughts on each verse.

You can either write directly in your Bible (the Bible is sacred, not the paper it’s printed on), or you can write in a journal. Alternatively, you could use a journal Bible which has space in the margins specifically for writing.

ESV Scripture Journal: New Testament Set
ESV Scripture Journal: New Testament Set
ESV Bibles (Author); English (Publication Language); 64 Pages - 03/31/2018 (Publication Date) - Crossway (Publisher)
$99.99 −$43.00 $56.99
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)
Hardcover Book; ESV Bibles (Author); English (Publication Language); 1360 Pages - 08/31/2012 (Publication Date) - Crossway (Publisher)
$44.99 −$20.00 $24.99

Listen To The Bible

Listening to the Bible is a completely different experience than reading it. Because you’re hearing the words, you process them differently than when you read them. You pick up on things you wouldn’t otherwise and gain understanding that you might miss if you were reading the Bible.

Personally, I recommend the ESV Bible app for listening to the Bible.

How To Start Reading The Bible: Get Started Today

The best time to start reading the Bible is today. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Don’t wait until you have three hours of uninterrupted time. Start reading today, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

And don’t freak out if nothing “special” happens when you read the Bible. You probably won’t get goosebumps or feel anything out of the ordinary. That’s not how God usually works.

Rather, as you faithfully read the Bible day after day, God will slowly but surely change you. You will find yourself thinking differently, acting differently, and experiencing different, God-given desires. Reading the Bible consistently truly will change your life.

So don’t wait any to get started reading the Bible. Read it today and experience the profound blessings that come with it.

Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

8 thoughts on “How To Start Reading The Bible: An In-Depth Guide”

  1. Beloved Stephen, thanks a lot for this information about how new starters can get acquainted with the Bible study. It will really help our local Church here in our children department, God bless you more and endow you with more knowledge to share with us daily. I am grateful for your daily gifts in my inbox. May God BLESS you in Jesus name.

  2. I do truly love your writing and insights.

    BUT is there any way you can change all the Mormon ads?

    I do find it highly ironic to have the heresy advertised alongside the study of God’s true Word

  3. Thanks Stephen you are really helpful to me and to so many people even those who don’t comment anything. On how to start reading the Bible it helpful to almost everyone. Stephen to tell you the truth is that, you are a SPECIAL GIFT to us. You are born to do that. I don’t have anything to add but thank for your life. May the Lord Jesus reveal more to me through you.

  4. Thanks for the tips. I wanted to start studying my bible more regularly, but I found myself sitting without knowing where to start from. With these insights, I have something to run with now. Thank you so much!


Leave a Comment