“I want to get closer to God” is one of my favorite conversation starters. Followers and friends reach out to me with this question often, and I always recommend the quickest route to our Heavenly Father: The Bible.
But I don’t just tell people to go pick up a King James Version at their local Christian bookstore. After reading the entire KJV Bible cover to cover myself, I remember how discouraging it felt starting in Genesis. It took me halfway through the Bible to feel God with me while I read. I remember skimming through those pages of ancestral history and looking up the definition to every word I didn’t know (and there were a lot). I remember my first time trying to read the Bible straight through. I gave up. I didn’t understand the language and felt unworthy of calling myself a Christian.
Which is why I don’t recommend adults start with an adult bible. I recommend that they begin with a children’s version. A kids’ Bible summarizes each story and simplifies God’s message; so you can focus more on the teachings of the Lord and less on being discouraged by the difficult-to-grasp language.
I recommend these to start:
When you’re confident enough to retell each story from the children’s Bible, you’re ready to hear God speak to you through the adult Bible.
There are dozens of options when it comes to which adult Bible you should read. As a Christian, I always recommend the King James Version (KJV) because it’s the least tampered with. And there are dozens of people out there who will debate that but let me explain what I mean by untampered: it isn’t opinion-based. When you read the interpreted versions, you’re reading what other people “think” God is saying in the Bible. And the problem with translated versions is that God’s message gets lost, especially when verses are paraphrased. God says in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
KJV is the oldest and rawest form of the Christian Bible, which is why it’s so hard to understand, which in turn is a good thing. It means you’re getting the unfiltered Word of God.
The KJV Bible I specifically recommend is from Barbour Bibles.
This Bible includes so many appendixes of information, including a “Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year-Plan” at the back. That plan allows you to take bite-sized pieces of the Old Testament, Psalms/Proverbs, and the New Testament in a day. Here’s an example of the first day’s reading goal:
Day 1: Genesis 1-2………Matthew 1………..Psalm 1
The daily goals are achievable. I particularly love that you’re not just reading the Old Testament straight through because that can be some of the most trying yet entertaining literature you’ve ever read. Reading Psalms and pieces of the New Testament give your brain a break from the repetition and seemingly endless verses of family lineage found in the Old Testament.
Personally, I printed out a copy of the plan for every thirty days because I don’t like marking up my Bible. When I completed the reading goal, I would highlight that day. It gave me a sense of accomplishment at the end of each reading.
Not every day was a winner. Some days it was a lot of repetition, confusion, me Googling the definition of words like “shekel”. But for 365 days, I read the Bible EVERY day, and I’ll tell you…that was one of the biggest steps I’d ever taken to get closer to God. Now that I’ve fully read the Bible, I know the stories preachers bring up at church! And when people are facing tribulation in life, I can summon a Bible verse from my head to comfort them, rescue them, or defend them from the Evil One. Because I’ve read the Bible, I KNOW what God says and can bring every thought into captivity to His law.
There is another option that might work for you if you already have a Bible. Teach Sunday School has devised a “365 Day Bible Reading Plan” with fun charts you can print out like this one:
I personally am not one for prompt questions. When I read the Bible, I read for wisdom and to memorize verses that I can apply to fight off the temptations of the Devil. But if prompts are your kind of thing, you can purchase the 365 Day Bible Reading Plan here.
Somewhere along the journey, I stopped reading my Bible to check off my “Christian service of the day” and started reading my Bible to hear my Father speak. It became less about obligation and more about relation. I was getting to really know my Father. And I’ll tell you, with every page I turned, with every verse I read, I fell more in love with Him.
You’ll never really know God, or what He’s done, or how He loves until you’ve experienced it in His Word for yourself. You can hear the parables, know the names of famous Old Testament characters, understand what Jesus’ sacrifice meant. But guys, when you realize all God did for His children in the Old Testament and the way he sacrificed His own son for us in the New Testament, you approach sin differently out of love. And when you hear about all God suffered from our rebellion and our idolization and our greed and lasciviousness, you yearn to be pure not to hurt Him ever again. And when you realize that the darkness oppressing you trembles at the sound of God’s word on your tongue, and the Devil fears the sight of the armor over your spirit, you take on a new appreciation of those 653 pages of Biblical power.
The Bible isn’t something you read to be religious. It’s what you read to build a relationship. God speaks through every one of those verses.
So if you’re ready to get closer to God, the Bible is a great start. Follow it up with prayer, fasting for discipline, singing gospels, and lots of praise, and your soul will be on fire!
If you’ve fully read the Bible, I’d love to know what method helped you! What book was your favorite? Which version did you read? Drop a comment below.
Thank you for reading!