Tomorrow, we will begin reading the Gospel of John together as a church. As we prepare to enter into this study together, I wanted to give you a few practical suggestions and resource recommendations.
Read at the same time every day – It can be difficult to develop a new habit. One of the most helpful things you can do to encourage regular Bible reading is to do it at the same time every day. Put it on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone while you’re getting used to it. This practice will be incredibly helpful as you seek to get into God’s Word regularly.
Take notes as you read – Engage your mind as you read every day. Note specific words or concepts that you don’t understand. Highlight repeated words, themes, or ideas. Write down questions you have so you can return to them later. The more active you are as a reader, the more you’ll benefit from your time in the text.
Ask basic questions as you read – You might be new to reading the Bible, but asking some simple questions as you read can make scripture much more relevant:
- What does this passage teach me about God/Jesus?
- What can I praise God for from what I’ve just read?
- What sins do I need to repent of in light of what I’ve just read?
- What is God asking me to do?
- Where/How should I ask for God’s help?
Pray as you read – For many years, I struggled with having a regular prayer time. I thought that my Bible reading and prayer time had to be two distinct things. However, nothing has encouraged my time with Jesus like connecting my Bible reading to my daily prayers. As you read, what do you feel prompted to pray about? What do you feel like you should ask God for? What should you thank him for? Stop and pray in those moments. If you read your Bible with an eye toward your relationship with God, it will make those times in scripture come alive.
Donald Whitney has an incredibly helpful book on this topic if you’re interested in learning more.
You might not have all of these resources on hand as you begin, but here are some options to think through that will help you get the most out of your reading of John.
A good Study Bible and/or Journaling Bible can significantly aid your time in God’s Word. You might also benefit from an online Bible, which makes searching and cross-references much easier. This particular site also offers a helpful app for your phone.
Commentaries are aids that go through a Biblical book and provide guided instruction. This can be especially helpful when there is a passage you don’t understand. You can find a useful guide to commentaries for John’s Gospel here. I would recommend starting with Colin Kruse or Gary Burge. D.A. Carson’s commentary on John is my favorite commentary on any biblical book I’ve ever read.
Use an audio Bible to listen to the Gospel of John. The Dwell App is incredible for this, and if you don’t already have a subscription, you can sign up for free here.
Interact with others working through The Gospel of John. Every day on City of God’s Instagram and Facebook page, we will have a thread where people can comment on what they’re learning or questions they have. You always get more out of reading the Bible when you do it in community.
I’m so excited to see what God does as we begin this study together. Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing what you learn from John 1 tomorrow.