The book Finding God’s Life for my Will by Mike Donehey. He shares his life story, how he found Jesus and music, and how God has flipped this question around. He challenges us to think differently and stop sitting in fears of not living in God’s will for our lives.
I also share my thoughts on the word purpose and one way God’s challenged me recently.
If you are in the midst of making a decision and you haven’t felt God’s leading, ask this question.
If you are asking “Where do I start reading the Bible?” this post was written for you. There are so many ways we get to this question like maybe we are seeking direction from God, or we want to grow closer to Him, or we have questions about who He is. Well I love sharing my passion for Scripture with others and this is a simple guide to get you started reading the Bible.
Reading the Bible is the number one way I recommend people start seeking to hear God speak. If you’ve met God and are ready to go deeper, hear Him speak & interact with Him on a daily level then Scripture is the best place to start.
Sometimes we want God to speak to us individually and verbally. We want Him to be very clear in the way He approaches us with truth.
I’ve found He doesn’t often do that. He often wants us to seek to spend time with Him MORE than to seek Him simply to hear something or get something from Him.
God’s already spoken. A lot. He has said many things, He has performed many miracles, He has loved in many ways and His people wrote those down for us.
The Bible is a book full of letters written by imperfect humans inspired by God and used by the Spirit to share truth.
These humans were in different time periods and in different situations yet our God remains the same through it all.
These stories and instructions are extremely important for us!
They teach us things like
who God is
who God created us to be
what He needs us to do
how He loves us
how we are called to love Him & others
how to find wisdom
the truth of heaven
how God used (and uses!) imperfect people to impact the world
how God desires us to live an abundant life
When you read the Bible you will grow in your relationship with God.
Whether you know and understand the Bible well OR you are absolutely clueless and new, keep reading because YES you can begin to understand the Bible and go deeper with God today!
If you want to understand the Bible it’s simple,you have to read the Bible.
The Best Order to Read the Bible for the First Time
Now I am not going to make a blanket statement and say you HAVE to read this book first and then give you an order.
I am going to give you a few different book ideas since it’s your first time reading the Bible.
If you don’t want options and are just ready to be told where to start reading the Bible, I’ve made a seven day video course just for you. Join right here!
Go check your email now!
Before that let’s dive into a few facts about the Bible so you can understand the book a little better.
Facts about the Bible
The Bible is split into two sections: the Old Testament & the New Testament.
There are 66 books total. 39 in the Old. 27 in the New.
The original language of the Old Testament was Hebrew (with two books in Aramaic) and the New Testament Greek!
The Bible was written by about 40 different people of different times & backgrounds.
These people were used by the Holy Spirit to write all these words to use to lead us to God and through this life!
Okay I want to share a little more about the first fact because that was the biggest mind altering subject I dove into when I started reading the Bible.
God is the same throughout the entire Bible. You may be thinking “Then why was He so violent in the Old Testament?”
That is a deep question I am not going to answer today BUT we can still get more understanding of the differences.
In general, the Old Testament is more stories & the New Testament is more direct teachings.
The Old Testament can be more difficult to apply to your everyday life because it isn’t as direct and when looking at context we realize many of those Old Testament laws don’t apply to us after the cross.
BUT it is still important to study!
You know why?
Because you learn more about WHO God is throughout the entire Bible. You can’t pick and choose what to focus on.
I don’t recommend ONLY spending time studying the New Testament.
I am not saying to ONLY study the Old Testament either.
I believe you need to find a balance because God will use both sections to teach and lead you.
I realize many people favor the New Testament because it’s easier to read and to find takeaways but those people are missing out on so much!
God split the Red Sea
God used a Donkey to verbally speak
God stopped the sun from setting during a battle
Many people do dumb things ?
There is so much to be gained from reading the whole Bible and now I will rest my case.
Another difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is God’s relationship with us.
The Old Testament people were separated from God because of their sin. After Jesus died all sins past, present & future were forgiven. With His resurrection came a new connection we can have with God untainted by sin.
That’s just something to keep in mind when reading about the laws in Leviticus.
There are two options you have for getting started reading the Bible (I mean technically you have 66 but I am going to make this more simple)
I have created a course that is a 7 day video course to guide you into reading the Bible. In this course we use Philippians as our jumping off point. Join here!
Go check your email now!
If you would rather do it on your own here are a few ideas!
It’s a relatively short but joyful book written by Paul to the Philippi people.
Start with a Gospel The first four books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. These are four different accounts of the time Jesus walked the Earth. These include amazing stories, truths about God’s character, and instructions directly from Jesus!
Read a Letter from Paul Man! If you are ready for some strong encouragement and teaching Paul’s letters don’t disappoint. He is always on an adventure to share the truth about Jesus to the world no matter the cost. He has written many letters but a few you could start with are: Romans, Galatians, Ephesians & Philippians (this we dive into in the course!)
Read the book of Genesis Always a fun place to start, Genesis includes our origin story, some dumb human behavior and a loving God who still shows up.
Read Ruth It’s only a four chapter book and it’s an easy to follow story to get started with!
BONUS: Want a little poetry thrown in? Real a Psalm a day with your other book reading or read through Proverbs!
If you are ready to commit and dive into the whole Bible then you need a Bible reading plan. Then you don’t have to think of where to start reading the Bible, you read it all!
When reading the Bible all the way through there are two main ways to do it.
One way is just from cover to cover. This is often the easiest place to start.
*Sometimes Bible reading plans include the books in a different order to break up some of the longer story sections and make it easier to read!
You can also follow a chronological order of reading. The way the Bible is currently published is not necessarily the order the books were written in.
When looking at context we realize a few books actually repeat stories of others.
This kind of Bible reading plan is often as a way to go deeper after reading it through at least once cover to cover.
It’s good to mix things up and read the Bible both ways!
This year I’ve read the entire Bible all the way through for the first time. It taught me so much about the bigger picture of the Bible and how God’s plan was happening throughout.
I even took on a challenge that is only for those who are really ready for a big commitment – I read it through in 60 days. Check it out here!
If you are looking for a Bible Reading Plan for the entire Bible here it is! This one will go back and forth on the Old Testament and New Testament everyday!
How to Read the Bible Effectively
Don’t let intimidation hold you back from reading the Bible. The more you read and study the more you’ll understand.
You’ll learn and grow throughout your time in the Word so don’t focus on reading effectively but here are a few tips to help get you digging in!
Set Up Camp
If you really want to start understanding the Bible you can’t skip around. You’ll never grow in your knowledge by just reading a verse here and there.
You’ve got to commit. You have to choose a book and set up camp.
Setting up camp means you are choosing to read and reread until you understand it. It means you are truly dedicated to understanding that little part of the Bible which will build the foundational blocks of your Biblical understanding.
Choose a book. Set up camp.
Know what type of Writing it is
Different people use different categories for the types of Biblical writings but I am just going to share the broader types to help you get started.
The broad writing styles of the Bible are these:
Are you going to read poetry differently then you would American laws? Would you read a person’s memoir differently than a letter from a friend?
Yes, you would! You would be reading it differently expecting different messages and ways of translating. The same is true for Scripture.
For example, Leviticus is a book of law while Psalm and Proverbs are poetry. They are written differently, for different purposes and we must approach Scripture according to those differences.
After choosing a book to set up camp in, determine what kind of writing it is!
Dig into Context before Diving into Details
You may have heard the phrase context is key and it is!
I am going to dive deeper into this topic in the seven day Where to Start Reading the Bible Course but for now context is simply understanding facts around the book of the Bible.
It’s asking these questions so you can understand each book and unique verses.
Who wrote this book?
Why did he write it?
What was his main points?
What was going on in history?
These questions give us context so when we read the verses we understand the author which leads to us better grasping their truth.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
The only way you’ll understand God’s Word is if you ask questions.
You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you are a theology expert so I am going to assume you aren’t really sure about the Bible.
It’s complicated, weird and difficult to understand. It seems archaic and irrelevant. It’s intimidating.
Don’t fear not knowing and understanding. It’s the best place to start.
You’ve got to ask questions. If you really want to understand the Bible you do what you do in class and ask questions.
Then look for answers.
God’s Word has a lot to offer and it requires you to dig in and dig deep.
Promise me you’ll ask questions!
Dwell in Lessons throughout the Day
This is often the problem I see.
Someone will add “read the Bible” to their daily to do list and then they’ll do it just to check it off.
Don’t do that.
There are two problems.
1- it becomes something you have to do.
2- It limits your time to just those spare 5 minutes.
When you truly dive into God’s Word and He chooses to speak to you, you’ve got to chose to dwell in the message.
God speaks when He wants you to hear AND do something about it.
Every day is a new chance to become more like Jesus. It’s a daily act of choosing the Godly over the worldly.
That requires putting in some work and seeking God’s truth throughout the day not just in the morning.
This is my challenge.
Spend time in God’s Word then try to remember and reflect throughout the day.
Write a phrase on your wrist. Pray every time you are in the car. Talk to a friend about what God is teaching you.
Don’t stop spending time with God when you close His Word.
You’ve already gotten so far!
You found your next book to set up camp in, you’ve learned more about how to read it to understand it and you’ve grown in your relationship with God.
Don’t quit now!
The only way to truly know and understand the Bible is to keep reading and studying it. You’ve got to keep opening it up and diving in.
The more you read, the more you’ll grow to love it. The brighter your passion will burn and the deeper you’ll go with God.
Trust me, you’ve just got to keep studying and it is so worth it!
Now I hope you’ve found the answer to the question of where to start reading the Bible and are equipped to reading it effectively!
Before you leave I just want to mention The Basic Bible Course that I created for people like you who don’t have access to theology class but want to know more about the Bible.
This course is full of guides, facts, and teachings to equip you to study God’s Word well and grow deeper with God.
Do you love listening to podcasts too? I have been devouring podcasts. ALL THE TIME. On the way to work, in the shower, while I am cooking, you get it.
I am always looking for amazing podcasts for Christian women in their 20’s since that is me (& probably you!) I love listening to other amazing people share their lives, advice & stories especially when I can walk away with something fresh.
Here I have gathered my top 10 podcasts that I love listening to all the time! They range from Christian podcasts about dreaming, dating, lifestyle, friendship and more!
Have you ever heard of Jennie Allen? She started If: Gathering which is a huge women’s conference that I have watched the last 3 years. She is so inspiring and I love her new podcast. Right now she is focusing on how we are made for relationships and how to build those healthily in our lives.
Episode I love: 02 – When making friends is difficult with Kate Allen
This is an interview with her daughter and I literally cried. Go listen.
I couldn’t not mention mine! Living created is a lifestyle podcast here to help you discover why God created you and how to live it out. We dive into different topics like purpose, passions, money, and more!
This is a recent discovery for me and I have been enjoying this dating podcast! Whether you are single or in a relationship you can step away with awesome truths and advice. I recently listened to the episode with Arielle Estoria and had to sit in all the truth dropped.
Episode I love: 051: How to balance the feminine and masculine with Arielle Estoria
Jess is my girl. One day I’ll meet her and totally fan girl. She is who I want to be when I grow up. She always brings down the truth in a fresh way and I love listening to her interview other amazing women on this podcast.
Episode I love: Episode 44: Hannah Brencher
6. The Radiant Podcast with Kelsey Chapman
I know I have some girls reading this who love business and creative works. Kelsey interviews a ton of awesome people who all dish out secrets to their successes. You’ll fall in love with her energy and spirit.
This girl in the OG of Christian podcasts. She started this years ago and has so much amazing content! I absolutely love her style and spontanious spirit. She just brings a lot of fun into every conversation and dives deep in so many ways.
Episode I love: The summer enneagram series! (I am a 9, so that episode was my fav)
This podcast always seems to calm me. It’s probably Emily’s voice and her messaging but I always seem to feel a little more at peace about where I am in life. This podcast dives into the answer to the commonly asked question “What do I do now?” We all need some decision making help.
I didn’t even know Bob Goff had a podcast until recently. If you love his spontaneous love focused life, you’ll love his interviews. He just adds a lot of fun to your playlist and will leave you inspired.
Stephanie May Wilson is the go-to girl for advice for 20 & 30 year olds. She always has amazing conversations and gives awesome advice for Christian girls. She also has a ton of guests that bring amazing perspectives to the table.
Episode I love: #64 How to find God in the wilderness
That is it! Those are all my top podcasts for Christian women in their 20’s! Did I miss your favorite? Let me know below!
I’ve been blogging for 6 years and no most of those years I would not be considered a “successful” blogger. That didn’t stop God from using my blog to challenge me, teach me about myself, and grow with Him.
If you aren’t sure what God is asking you to do today, this episode is for you. You aren’t alone and today we are going to talk about different ways God has been telling me to be faithful and to encourage you to be faithful too. Let’s get started!
This past week I shared a challenge on my instagram page. I want to personally be looking for ways God is leading me in the day to day and I wanted to challenge others to do the same.
So I titled it Take a Step Tuesday. When I shared this the first question I was asked made me stop and think. I want to share what I’ve learned about this topic!
How do you take a step when you may not be clear on what God is asking you to do?
That hit home.
I am in the same boat.
I’ve been looking for the perfect job, the perfect clear path, and the ideal situation. I’ve been searching for that clear step I realized what I was missing.
In this episode, I share several mind shift changes so you can stop sitting in fear and frustration. You can be confident in the unknown.
I don’t have all the answers but I can share a few things God has been reminding me of.
It’s not about knowing the right thing to do.
It’s about trusting God is who He says He is It’s about trusting You are who He says you are. It’s about accepting the fact that you aren’t what you do.
God doesn’t care so much what you do for Him, He cares who you are. He cares about the state of your heart.
If you can’t find joy in the midst of the unknown, you probably won’t be able to find joy in the known.
God cares more about you seeking Him than you seeking a perfect job.
If He hasn’t made something clear yet, there is a reason.
Take a step Tuesday isn’t about finding that big perfect step towards your dreams. It can be simple and small. It can be loving that one co-worker well. It can be not overspending on Amazon this month. It can be choosing to spend more time trusting God and His process than dwelling on it.
Today I want to share how YOU can find purpose as a single girl. Because let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like your life won’t start until you get married, am I right? But like I talk about on my blog, life totally doesn’t start when you get married. It starts right now!
Before I start, I just want to make a little disclaimer. These may be tips you’ve heard before. But I wholeheartedly believe that they work, and they are life-changing because they’ve changed my life. If you are still searching for purpose as a single girl and you’ve heard these tips before, can I gently ask why you haven’t implemented them? Because if you truly did, it would make a difference in your life. Am I promising you a perfect life if you follow these steps? Definitely not. But I think I can promise you a meaningful life if you take these steps to find your purpose as a single girl.
6 Steps to Find Purpose in Your Single Season
1. Remember what this life is all about.
I’ve talked about this multiple times on my blog, but marriage is not what this life is all about. It’s about knowing God and making Him known!
Marriage is a gift from God, no doubt. But its too little a thing to live for. God created us for intimacy with Him, and if we don’t remember that and we place all our hope in a future husband, we will be disappointed, and we won’t be able to find our purpose.
So don’t wait around for a guy. Follow those plans that God has placed on your heart!
2. Truly become best friends with God.
Oh y’all, I think this is the step that has changed my life the most. I can truly say right now that God is my best friend. He’s the One I go to with everything. It’s the most precious relationship!
And you can definitely have that kind of relationship, too. Start going to God first when something good or bad happens. Make time with Him a priority (don’t know where to start? Ashley’s Bible study course is an amazing place to begin!). Trust Him with everything. He’s so worthy to be trusted.
3. Find meaningful relationships and friendships.
It can be so hard to find good friends. Trust me, I know. However, it is so worth the effort! Good Christian friends can keep you accountable, they can be someone to talk things through with, and they’re fun!
Don’t give up on finding these friends if you haven’t found them! Keep being intentional and don’t be afraid to initiate conversations or “make the first move.” So many people struggle with friendships, so chances are, the person you talk to would love a good friend! Try joining a Bible study, a Christian college club, or invite somebody you kind of know to get coffee with you.
4. Serve, serve, serve!
It’s true, even though if you’re anything like me, you don’t like to hear it very much. We do have more time as singles to serve. I’m not saying that you’re not busy, and I’m also not saying that you should do everything that is asked of you. But we don’t have to take care of a family, generally speaking, and we do have some extra time.
Also, God made us for serving, and it brings so much purpose and joy to life, + it helps get the focus off you and your problems!
5. Stop believing those lies about your season.
I know that there are lies that you believe about your single season, because I have too. I challenge you to sit down and think about some lies that you are believing. Write them out and then find Scripture that proclaims truth.
>>> Also, I wrote a blog post debunking 15 lies that single girls believe. It may help you if you don’t know where to start! Read it Here!
6. Have fun!
Enjoy this season! You’ll never get this time back, and I know you’ll look back and wish you had just trusted God because His plans were far better than yours.
So take that trip you’ve always wanted to take, go on spontaneous ice cream dates with friends (or even by yourself, ice cream is always a good idea ?), or maybe even switch to a job that brings you life if that is where God is leading you!
My point: live this season to the fullest because God is working, and life is something to celebrate.
I truly hope these tips help you find purpose in your single years! They can be some of the best years of your life if you trust God and have an attitude full of hope and joy.
I’m in this with you girl,
Hi! I am Allison Marie, and I blog mainly about being single over on All Things Allison Marie. I am currently a college student, and in my spare time I love eating brunch, hanging out with friends or family, and reading historical fiction. You can follow along with me on Instagram @justallisonmarie!