Young People Ask
How Can I Make Bible Reading Enjoyable?
How often do you read the Bible? (Check one)
□ Other ․․․․․
Complete the following sentence.
When I don’t enjoy Bible reading, it’s usually because I am . . . (Check all that apply)
□ Other ․․․․․
ARE you less than thrilled about reading the Bible? If so, you might agree with 18-year-old Will, who says, “The Bible can seem boring.” However, he adds, “That’s only if you don’t know how to read it.”
Why learn how to read the Bible? Well, would you like to know more about how to
▪ make good decisions?
▪ have real friends?
▪ cope with stress?
The Bible contains gems of wisdom on those subjects and more. Granted, finding these gems may take effort. But expending that effort is a lot like going on a treasure hunt: The more challenging the search, the more exciting the discovery!—Proverbs 2:1-6.
How can you discover treasures in the Bible? The cutout to the right will give you an idea of how to read the Bible and—on the reverse side—in what order to read it. Also, try the suggestions on the following pages that appeal to you.
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
If you have access to the Internet, you can read the Bible online at www.watchtower.org/e/bible
TO THINK ABOUT
It’s been said that what you get out of an endeavor depends largely upon what you put into it.
▪ How is that true when it comes to reading the Bible?
▪ When can you make time for personal Bible reading?
[Box/Picture on page 23]
HOW TO READ THE BIBLE
Before you read . . .
▪ Make sure your surroundings are quiet so that you can concentrate.
▪ Pray for understanding.
While you read . . .
▪ Use maps and depictions of Bible accounts to help you visualize Bible scenes.
▪ Consider the setting, and analyze details.
▪ Consult footnotes and cross-references.
▪ Ask yourself such questions as:
FACTS: When did this occur? Who spoke these words? To whom were the words addressed?
MEANING: How would I explain this to someone else?
VALUE: Why did Jehovah God include this account in his Word? What does it reveal about his personality or way of doing things? What lessons can I apply to my life?
After you read . . .
▪ Do further research. Use tools produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as Insight on the Scriptures and “All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” if available in your language.
▪ Pray again. Tell Jehovah what you learned and how you plan to use it. Thank him for his Word, the Bible.
[Box/Picture on page 24]
IN WHAT ORDER WILL YOU READ THE BIBLE?
Options . . .
□ Read from cover to cover.
□ Read chronologically, either in the order in which the books were written or the order in which events occurred.
□ Each day, read from a different section of the Scriptures.
Monday: Action-packed history (Genesis to Esther)
Tuesday: Jesus’ life and teaching (Matthew to John)
Wednesday: Early Christianity (Acts)
Thursday: Prophecy and moral guidance (Isaiah to Malachi, Revelation)
Friday: Moving poetry and song (Job, Psalms, Song of Solomon)
Saturday: Wisdom for living (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes)
Sunday: Letters to the congregations (Romans to Jude)
Whatever order you choose, be sure to keep track of what you read! Put a ✔ next to each chapter after you finish it, or in some other way make a record of the chapters that you’ve read.
Clip this, and keep it in your Bible!
[Box/Diagram on page 24]
MAKE THE SCRIPTURES LIVE!
Get involved in what you read. For example:
□ Convert lists of names into family trees.
□ Create diagrams. For instance, as you read about a faithful character, connect that person’s qualities and acts with the blessings he or she received.—Proverbs 28:20.
□ Draw pictures to illustrate the account.
□ Draw a storyboard, a series of simple pictures to illustrate a sequence of events. Describe what’s happening in each scene.
□ Build a scale model of structures, such as Noah’s ark.—For example, see Awake! of January 2007, page 22.
□ Read aloud with friends or family members. Suggestion: Assign one person to read the narration. Others can take on character parts.
□ Select an account, and turn it into a news story. Report the event from several perspectives by including “interviews” with the main characters and eyewitnesses.
□ Take an account in which a character made an unwise decision and imagine a different ending! For example, consider Peter’s denial of Jesus. (Mark 14:66-72) How could Peter have better responded to the pressure?
□ Watch or listen to recordings of Bible dramas.
□ Write your own drama. Include lessons that can be learned from the account.—Romans 15:4.
IDEA: Perform this drama with a small group of your friends.
[Box/Picture on page 25]
TO GET MOTIVATED
▪ Set a goal! Write below a date by which you would like to start your Bible-reading program.
▪ Choose a portion of the Bible that interests you. (See the box “In What Order Will You Read the Bible?”) Then write below which part of the Bible you will read first.
▪ Begin with a small amount of time. Even 15 minutes of Bible reading is better than no time at all. Write below how much time you can set aside for this activity.
Suggestion: Keep a study Bible. Write notes in it. Mark verses that are especially meaningful to you.
[Box/Pictures on page 25]
WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
“I try to read a little of the Bible each night before I go to bed. This gives me something good to think about as I fall asleep.”—Megan.
“I focus on one verse for 15 minutes. I’ll read every footnote, look up every cross-reference, and do additional research. Sometimes I don’t finish a verse in one sitting, but I get so much out of my reading with this method!”—Corey.
“Once, I read the Bible in 10 months. With that pace I saw connections between different parts of the Bible that I’d never noticed before.”—John.
[Box on page 25]
YOU GET TO CHOOSE!
□ Pick an event. The Bible is packed with real-life drama. Pick an account that interests you, and read it from beginning to end.
Suggestion: For ideas on how to get even more out of the account, see page 292 of the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
□ Pick a Gospel. Read Matthew (the first Gospel written), Mark (noted for being fast-moving and action-packed), Luke (which gives special attention to prayer and to women), or John (which covers very little of what is stated in the other Gospels).
Suggestion: Before reading, briefly look up information about the Bible book and its writer so that you can better understand what makes that Gospel unique.
□ Pick a psalm. For example:
If you feel alone and friendless, read Psalm 142.
If you’re discouraged over your weaknesses, read Psalm 51.
If you question the value of God’s standards, read Psalm 73.
Suggestion: Keep a list of psalms you’ve read that are particularly encouraging to you.
[Box on page 26]
▪ Consider the setting. Examine the timing, location, and circumstances surrounding a passage.
Example: Read Ezekiel 14:14. About what age may Daniel have been when Jehovah mentioned him as a good example alongside Noah and Job?
Clue: Ezekiel chapter 14 was recorded just five years after Daniel was exiled to Babylon—likely as a teenager.
The hidden gem: Was Daniel too young for Jehovah to notice his faithfulness? What good decisions led to blessings for him? (Daniel 1:8-17) How can Daniel’s example help you to make good decisions?
▪ Analyze details. Sometimes just a word or two is significant.
Clue: Mark was not an eyewitness of these events; evidently, he got his information from Peter.
The hidden gem: Why must Peter have felt reassured to hear that Jesus wanted to see him again? (Mark 14:66-72) How did Jesus prove himself a real friend to Peter? How can you imitate Jesus and be a real friend to others?
▪ Do further research. Consult Bible literature for explanations.
Example: Read Matthew 2:7-15. When did the astrologers visit Jesus?
Clue: See The Watchtower of January 1, 2008, page 31, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The hidden gem: How, evidently, did Jehovah provide materially for Jesus’ family while they were in Egypt? How can trust in God help you to cope with stressful circumstances?—Matthew 6:33, 34.