10 Fresh Ways to Read Your Bible in 2021


The need to engrave Scripture on our hearts feels all the more urgent this year.

Turning to Scripture should be an intuitive response for Christians when we feel anxious about the world we live in. Yet the American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible 2020 report found an alarming trend: A mere 9 percent of Americans read their Bible each day in 2019—the lowest number in ABS’s decade of research and decreasing more in the first few months of the pandemic. But if 2021 carries even a fragment of the uncertainty we experienced in the past year, we need Scripture for guidance and reassurance even more. In my years of leading in-person Bible studies and an online Bible reading group, I’ve found sometimes we need practical ideas for getting started or picking the Bible back up again. Here are ten ways to read the Bible with fresh eyes in the new year.

1. Add a new translation to your bookshelf.

If you’ve primarily read one translation for many years, find a new one. After reading the New International Version (NIV) for years, I added the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). A friend recommended I get my hands on a Revised English Bible (REB), an English-language translation published by both Oxford and Cambridge publishing houses, so I use that one now as well. I’ve long turned to Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase when I’m confused about what a passage says. Familiar verses grow in meaning as a differently translated word or two give me pause. Parallel Bibles—where you see two to four translations side by side—are excellent for reading the Bible in this new way as well.

2. Read Scripture out loud.

While it may seem simple, reading the Bible out loud can actually move us closer to the way Scripture was first presented to its original audiences. …

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