The Bible is the oldest book in the world—literally. It was the first mass-produced book in the mid-1400s, and it remains an incredibly popular bundle of Scripture. With an estimated 5 billion copies sold, the Bible is the bestselling book that’s ever been created.
Many of us have had the Bible in our homes since we were small children. We grew up seeing our mother reading it with her morning coffee and our father underlining Scripture passages. There was a heavy family bible that sat on our living room coffee table and a children’s bible with beautiful illustrations tucked onto our bookshelf. The Bible was the background of our lives; its stories the threads that made up our view of the world. Noah, Jonah, Adam and Eve—these were names we all knew and could perform plays about in second grade.
But now, we’re grown up. And trying to understand the Bible as more than a Veggie Tales episode.
Seeing the Bible as the epic tale it is can take some work, especially if you’ve been familiar with its contents your entire life. Getting into a routine of Scripture reading begins to look a lot like Bible roulette, where you sit in your coziest chair and open the giant book to whatever section you feel God wants you to read that day, only it winds up to be Leviticus or Numbers or another book that requires a lot of context to understand. So you go back to an old favorite, like the Gospel of John—but it feels as if you’ve read the words thousands of times, making it hard to feel like you’re speaking to God in a fresh way.
Bring Your Bible Reading Time to Life
If your Bible reading time is beginning to feel stale, there are a few different ways you can approach scripture in order to bring it back to life.
The first? Dive into a book with an aide. There are thousands of Bible-reading resources available from books to blog posts to podcasts, but my current favorite is the Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. The Bible in a Year has a reading plan you can download and follow along with, and you don’t have to do it all in a year, or even in the order the podcast suggests. Pick a book you’ve always wanted to dive into, like the stories of Esther or David. Then, read along with Fr. Mike and allow him to break down each tale in a way that applies to your modern life.
Another option would be to read the Bible in a physically new space, like outdoors. Studies have shown that being outside is sort of the best natural medicine there is—it boosts your immune system, encourages your creativity, and restores your wayward focus. Reaping all of those benefits while reading the story of salvation history will help you to picture the narrative together and think about how the Word of God applies to your own life.
Lastly, try reading the Bible with a partner or group. The word Bible study may bring up the image of a church basement, lukewarm coffee, and people who get AARP: The Magazine. But a Bible study can actually be a great way to see Scripture from new angles. It doesn’t have to be a formal group organized through your parish—grab a few of your friends and ask if they’re interested in diving into a book of scripture together. Decide on a schedule, bust out the wine, and give your Bible study more of a “book club” feel. You may be surprised how creatively some of your peers can view Scripture, and how alive the Bible starts to become