5 Tips for Reading the Bible to Find God

5 Tips for Reading the Bible to Find God

Seven years ago, I set out on a journey. This month I reached my destination.

I’ve never been a “read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year” person, although I’ve started such plans more than once, never making it past the first few books of the Old Testament.

Seven years ago, though, I was desperate. A series of life crises and some pretty astounding encounters with grace caused me to take a hard look at my beliefs about God.

At that point, I’d been a Christian for 30 years. I had studied the Bible since my teens and filled a dozen or more journals with conversations I’d had with God. Yet when life fell apart, it was as if I met Him all over again.

The God who showed up in my brokenness was far more welcoming and merciful than I had believed.

Instead of meeting me with condemnation, He lavished acceptance upon me. Instead of expressing disappointment, He showed me His delight over me. Instead of telling me to get up and get back to work, He lifted the burden of a try-harder life and gave rest to my soul.

He surprised me.

He dazzled my weary heart.

And oh, how He drew me to want to know Him better.

So I grabbed my Bible and a journal, picked a reading plan that would allow me to move at my own pace, and asked God to reveal Himself to me. To correct any misconceptions I had about His character. To help me understand who He really is.

I read ever so slowly, jotting down every single thing I noticed about God from Genesis to Revelation. It took seven years and five journals, but without a doubt, this journey through Scripture has been the most life-changing Bible study I’ve ever done.

Maybe you are a “read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year” kind of person. Maybe, like me, you’ve started and given up or gotten distracted. Maybe you gravitate to your favorite verses and chapters, but you’ve never tried reading through the whole big Bible. Or maybe you’re new to Bible study and are looking for a good place to start.

Whatever your normal practice is, I invite you to dive deeply into Scripture with the singular purpose of knowing God more intimately.

Here are my top ­­five tips on looking for God as you journey through His Word:

  1. Find your best reading plan.

Reading the Old and New Testaments simultaneously can keep us from getting bogged down in the harder sections of the Old Testament. (For me, those are the genealogies or the many details of building the Israelite’s tabernacle.)

I highly recommend the “Reading Plan” app by James H. Price.  This app guided me through my seven-year adventure. In the app settings, I chose a “thematic plan,” specifically designed for reading related passages together.

  • Listen for God’s Spirit.

Because the Holy Spirit is our Teacher, helping us understand truths only spiritually discerned, I like to begin my study time with prayer. Sometimes I forget, and God is still faithful to teach me, but praying first reminds me of my need for His wisdom.

  • Choose quality over quantity.

While there’s certainly value in reading large sections of Scripture at a time, I love studying slowly so I have time to think deeply and converse with God about what I’m learning. In the Reading Plan app settings, I set the titles to “reading numbers,” rather than the date, so I didn’t feel behind as I read at my own pace. I also set it to “open to last read” for the same reason.

  • Take lots of notes.

Jot down everything you see about God as you read. You may find these things expressly stated, as in the following verse – “…The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6b). Using bullet points, my notes would look something like this:

  • You are the LORD (which means YHWH, the I Am)
  • You are compassionate
  • You are gracious
  • You are slow in expressing anger
  • You love is abundant
  • Your faithfulness is abundant

In other verses, you may observe God’s character indirectly as you read stories of how He interacts with His creation, as in the book of Jonah, where God both raised up and destroyed a plant to shield Jonah from the sun’s heat. In that instance, I might record:

  • You give and take away
  • You use physical realities to teach us spiritual truths

Included in my “Bible Study Bundle” freebie is a printable entitled, “Who Are You, God?” It’s designed specifically for taking notes on what you learn about God as you journey through His Word. If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you should have already received this pdf bundle in a welcome email. If you’d like to get a copy, enter your email address below and I’ll send it your way.

You can also use a journal for keeping these notes. I like to record the book and chapter at the top of my journal page, then use bullet points to record individual items underneath.

  • Give yourself grace.

Reading through the Bible is like a marathon, not a sprint. It’s okay for it to take a long time. There may be days you don’t get to your Bible reading. You may take a break to study a specific topic or join a Bible study your friends invited you to participate in. Your reading plan will be there waiting for you when you get back.

There’s no rush, no spiritual “to do list” demanding you check all the boxes.

Bible study is about knowing God and relating to Him over the pages of His Word.

Enjoy Him! Savor your quiet time. He’s not in a hurry and we don’t have to be either.

I hope these ideas are helpful! I’d love to hear how they work for you, as well as your own tips for studying the Bible! Please drop me a comment below!

A Dose of Encouragement

Could you use some encouragement today?

I know I could. Sometimes my heart grows anxious. It’s easy to give way to fear, to let the “what if’s” take over. To look at our nation, our world, and feel as if things are spiraling out of control.

Yet, in the midst of turbulent times and an uncertain future, the words of the old hymn ring true in my heart – “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand…” *


This Rock that is Jesus – He is secure and unchanging, a foundation that will never crumble. His love is everlasting. His truth still brings freedom. His justice is as sure as the rising sun. His faithfulness will never, ever cease. Come what may, God is good. God is with us. And God will complete His work in us.

This week I’ve been studying in Colossians. My heart thrills at the work of God on our behalf. Here are some highlights from chapter two:

  • God has revealed to us the mystery of Christ (v 2). Walking with God has always been by faith – from the opening chapters of Genesis (the promise of One who would crush the serpent), to the final words of Revelation (“come quickly, Lord Jesus!”). Yet the Object of our faith was a mystery until God made Him known. Oh, the riches of assurance and knowledge of Him!
  • God has firmly rooted us in Christ (v 7). It’s done, once and for all – by God, for us. Because we are rooted in Him, we can face the future with confidence. Nothing can uproot us from Christ!


  • God is building us up and establishing us in our faith (v 7). God is continuously, repeatedly working to strengthen us.
  • God has made us complete (v 10). As the fullness of God dwells in the Person of Christ, so we are completely filled with Christ. We lack nothing when we have Jesus.
  • God has circumcised our hearts (v 11). In Old Testament times, God commanded Israel to circumcise their hearts (Jer 4:4), but they were incapable of doing it themselves. However, He promised that one day, He Himself would complete this work. (“Then the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him…” Deut 30:6.) And now He has done it! (“Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ (Col 2:11b). What we are powerless to do on our own, God has done for us. The power of our old life is broken!
  • God has cancelled our certificate of condemnation, nailing it to the cross (v 14). All those sins that separated us from God, which served as evidence of our guilt – they are all gone! Not a single sin stands to condemn us. We are fully forgiven in Christ.
  • God brings about our spiritual growth (v 19). Fruit-bearing is God’s work (thus the term “fruit of the Spirit”). For most of my life, I believed I had to try hard to produce fruit as a Christian. In reality, I’m just the branch displaying the fruit made by the Vine as I abide in Him (Jn 15:1-11)!


My dear fellow Jesus-lover – be encouraged! Rest in hope. Speak truth to your soul.

Nothing can sever us from the God who works on our behalf – no politician, no tragedy, no loss, no disappointment. If He has done all this for us (and ever so much more), will He not continue to show Himself strong on our behalf? We He not daily support, strengthen, sustain, and supply?

May we overflow with gratitude, walk closely with Him, and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…” 2 Chron 16:9a.

“I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them…I will rejoice in doing them good…” Jer 32:40-41.

What kind of soul-talk brings peace to your heart? Is there a particular attribute of God that especially gives you hope?


Related Posts:

Fly Like an Eagle

When Fear Invades


*The Solid Rock, by Edward Mote