Book Recommendation, Faith, Organization


*I started to post this last night and then thought I might add some photos so I took it right down, but I guess it still came up in google reader…oops! Here it is (again!) and this time you can leave comments… Sorry!!!*

I have gotten so many emails over the years that have asked me about how I study my Bible, and I have not done a great job about writing about it. I love a new year because there’s something so refreshing about a proverbial do-over, so I was thinking this would be a good time to share a couple things that have helped me over the years.

I have been a Christian for exactly ten years (as of yesterday :)). When I first started reading the Bible I was stressed out because I’m an academic by nature and I couldn’t figure out how to cram it all in in an efficient way. Seriously. I know that sounds pitiful but I nearly gave up on reading because it seemed so overwhelming. One day I swallowed my pride, walked into a local bookstore, and bought myself a children’s Bible. That turned out to be one of the smartest things I ever did because it made it digestible in a way that the big-girl Bible’s didn’t. It helped me understand the chronology of the Bible, as well as the key people and places along the way.

And also?

Cute pictures.

Honest to goodness I really recommend starting here if you have never read the Bible before, and just take it at a slow pace until you get your bearings a little.

After awhile I started to graduate to the tissue-paper Bible and I went to the store again to get one. For the record, this can also be an overwhelming process, as there are approximately 1,200,346,568 or so versions and they all look good. Everyone has a different opinion about this but I tend to like to read from the ESV version but memorize from the NIV version. Don’t laugh at me, but I’m kind of quirky about the way the Bible feels in my hands…I’m not a huge fan of the magnet-over-the-top kind because it feels all uneven when I’m reading.

I’m a fan of leather as far as the cover goes because they’re really durable. My all time favorite Bible is the Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible in the NIV version, because it makes it super easy to look in the back and find the original Hebrew or Greek (which often really changes the way you understand the passage). I also love to be able to see where else these words show up so I can compare them. In addition, it is fat and brings instant credibility if you are at Starbucks studying. For extra points, feel free to nod incessantly and whisper something about Aramaic. Or say “Pentateuch.” People never see that coming.

For those of you who love Beth Moore the way I do (let’s take a moment, shall we? Ahh, better now.) you will be happy to know that she endorses this particular Bible and that her daughters read it. Incidentally, Melissa is pretty much the smartest person I have ever met in real life and I’m pretty sure she read the Bible in English just to humor us peons in India.  At one point she said something about a present-participle something or other in Greek and I stared at the wall because I’m a writer and I’m not convinced I know what that is in English. But I nodded and scrunched my face up like I was considering the implications, which is key.

I must say I am a huge fan of The One Year Chronological Bible (NIV) because it goes, well, chronologically.

This post may have been a bad idea.

Anyway, it is really great because you can see how things really happened and not necessarily in the order of the Bible. For example, if there is a story in more than one Gospel, they will appear together instead of by book. It has really helped me understand who was a contemporary of whom and it really changes the story when you see it laid out like that.

I want to tell you about some books that I love, but I really want to emphasize that these are not a substitute for Scripture. You have to be in the Word, first and foremost. The rest of it helps bring clarity and encourage you to keep pressing on, but the life-giving power God’s Word has is incomparable.

Here are some really quick tips that have helped me when I read Scripture:
1. Always pray before you begin to read, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you go and bring the
    Word to life in a way that inspires you to live it out. I promise He will do it!!!

2. Have a pen or highlighter and something to write on in the event that you see something you want to
    process a little more later. I have a couple different journals for different things but one I like to use I
    just created myself. I took a cheap-o notebook from Target and stuck homemade tabs throughout it for
    different books of the Bible. That way when I am reading Genesis, I just take notes on that book and
    it’s great for recording things you might not always remember, like lineage etc. I mostly use this one
    for facts and I have another journal for thoughts, prayers, anything that jumps out at me.

3. I like to have some other books handy in case I want to look up a reference for more information. It’s
    great to have a Bible dictionary, Hebrew or Greek dictionary, and any other aids that help, such as
    maps, timelines etc.

4. I try to pick a time when I don’t think I will be disturbed (moms, I hear you laughing and I realize how
    ridiculous this sounds!!!) such as morning or while the girls are in gymnastics class etc. I think there is
    a lot to be said for starting off your day with a quiet time, and to the end that this is possible I highly
    recommend it.

5. I like to have candles, chocolates, and a personal masseuse on hand when I dig in. I think that’s in the
   Bible somewhere.

6. I have to be disciplined about not reading the Bible with an agenda. It is so easy for me to slip into
    academic mode and try to analyze what I’m reading, and it takes a good amount of self-restraint for me
    to simply let the Word of God speak to me. There is a great book called Experiencing the Depths of 
    Jesus Christ that ministered to me as I learned how to truly meditate on the Word. It gave me peace to
    stop thinking about reading Scripture like it was a goal to get through it. I love the peace that comes
    from choosing a short verse and just letting myself read it over and over, processing the way the Lord
    illuminates it for me when I do.

If you are interested in reading a book that will give you the basics about the Bible, there are two I highly recommend and I’m sure I have talked about them on my blog before because for all my years of searching they are still two of my favorites. The first is more basic and is called The Bare Bones Bible Handbook and the second is What the Bible is All About (so good). They both go on sale several times a year at Lifeway, and I have seen them each as cheap as $5.

Brace yourself, because I’m about to drop some profound advice.

The most important thing about reading your Bible is actually opening it up and doing it.

I’m fantastic about making plans and having the best of intentions, but the power isn’t released in the wanting to do it. God says His Word will not return to Him void, and I can testify that it has been true for me. God never fails to meet me there, but I have to show up myself.

I know this is all kind of basic information but I wanted to share something in the hopes that if you all have other questions I can go from there. My passion is making the Bible feel accessible to people who feel intimidated by it, and I would love to answer anything I can to encourage you to experience it for yourself.

Please feel free to comment here with any suggestions, questions, or comments and I’ll do my best to answer them! I’m so excited to here from those of you who have book recommendations, advice, or methods that have been helpful to you.

See you soon!!! (Now go read :))


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  • Reply Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama January 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    You are a Bible Nerd!

    Can I be in your study group?


  • Reply Kelly January 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    great advice!! I have been a Christian since I was six—and still struggle sometimes with where to start when I am not doing a “led” Bible Study or just want to study on my own. I think I will print this post and keep it handy!!

  • Reply Beth January 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    This is awesome advice. Can’t wait to get into it.

    I have a confession: I’m so sick of devotional books. Sick to death of them. I know I’m about to commit some serious female Christian blasphemy here….but I’m not sure I like Beth Moore. Or maybe I’m just burnt out on her after doing a couple of her 90 day studies all in a row. All I know is that even though I read the bible daily, it’s been months since I’ve cracked it open and gotten something substantive out of it. Every kind of devotion I read lately seems cheesy and trite. What do I have to do in order to feel God as I read? I thought He’d be there if I read every day and used a devotional book and a plan of study.

    • Reply Angie Smith January 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Hi Beth! I just wanted to share this thought with you in the hopes that it would be encouragement…I don’t want to put words in Beth Moore’s mouth, but I am sure she would agree that if you aren’t in the Word just to be in it (not because you are doing a study and looking up verses) I definitely understand how you are getting burnt out. I really believe the solution right this second would be to put down the devos for a little bit and see what the Lord might want to share with you. I totally get your heart on this one, so thank you for sharing. It sounds like you are in prayer about this and that you are doing it, which is AWESOME. maybe start with a book of the Bible and just read through it several times…James? Philippians? John? I would love to hear updates whenever you want to share them, because so many of us can relate to this feeling. would love to hear what has helped you (or what hasn’t!) as you continue to seek Him. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Reply Anonymous January 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      You’re not the only one. I can’t follow devotional books, either. They do seem cheesy and trite. When I read, I take time to think about what I’m reading. If the Bible is truly God’s word, then the words in the Bible are there for a reason. What reason is that? If you take the time to pray about why each sentence is there, then you might get more out of it. Of course, you might take 10 years to read it all!
      With a devotional, I tend to read the scripture, read the devotion, done. I take the author’s words at face value, which is not always what I need to do. I’m over devotionals because I’m over being told what to believe. I was told what to believe for 20 years and have spent the last 10 figuring out what *I* believe.
      One more thing: I don’t always *feel* God when I read the Bible. But He is with me always. That I can count on.

  • Reply Amanda January 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I loved your bible choice…I have a concordance and honestly probably haven’t use it enough for it to not to confuse me… I have the Ryrie Study Bible, which I love, because in the notes you really get factual information instead of someone’s opinion.

    • Reply Bethany January 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      I’m going to have to check that version out! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Serenity January 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I admit the reading the Bible intimidates me, even though I am studying to be a Pastor, I worry I will get something wrong. I use the book – “Where To Find It In The Bible – The Ultimate A to Z Resource” a lot… I rather just pick a book within and just read that until I grasp it, over and over and over. I also read The Children’s Bible as well first… It made delving into the big-girls Bible easier…(Glad I am not the only one!) I use the Life Application Study Bible NIV for Bible Study, The Holy Bible KJV in Church and both of these for my reading.

    Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to take up so much space!

    God bless you and your family.


  • Reply Missy-MyCottageCharm January 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Great advice! I have a hard time reading King James, but NIV seems to speak to me (at least in a language I can understand! lol) πŸ™‚ I’m very new to your blog. I tweeted you the other day about sitting down and reading your blog with tears streaming down my truly made me speechless. I don’t always understand why God does things the way he does, but I do know I trust HIM with everything in me. You’re truly inspirational the way you’ve handled such tragedies…you’re also truly blessed with such a beautiful family. May God continue to bless your family and may HE always keep you in the palm of his hand.

  • Reply Sharon@HikingTowardHome January 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I want to be in study group with you and Lisa-Jo!! I need to check out this Keyword Study Bible you were talking about. I have had several people tell me that it has become their favorite. A long time ago you talked about the kids Bible that you liked, I bought it for my daughter and LOVE IT. I never thought of getting a kids Bible for an overview when I was a new Christian, wish I had, it would have made the Old Testament make more sense the first time through.
    (I helped you at your book table at Relevant.)

    • Reply angelac519 January 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      I love how you clarify who you are like I don’t know you and like I don’t smile every time I see your face here (I do:)). It was so great to meet you and to learn more about your adventurous life…hopefully we will see each other again soon!!!!

      • Reply Sharon@HikingTowardHome January 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        I am laughing… because I figure… You met a million people that weekend and you usually have like 5,000 comments here.

  • Reply Anonymous January 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I, too, want to be in the study group with you and Lisa-Jo! I love the NIV – it’s easy to read. I need to get some more reference books, though. My favorite feature of my old Bible (which literally fell apart) was the maps and the concordance. My “new” one doesn’t have that. I keep looking in the back for them and am disappointed every time I don’t find them. By the way, I’ve had the “new” Bible for a few years now. I’ll have to check out the reference books you listed here.

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Reply Bethany January 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Reading your blog is always edifying and encouraging. I’m looking forward to checking out some of those resources. I love the Hebrew/Greek study Bible. My dad always read the one called the KEY Bible. Now off to read the comments and see what other wisdom has been left here. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Patty Mullins January 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    My biggest challenge for reading/studying the Bible comes from the fact that I really don’t enjoy reading books. I’m generally fighting sleep in mere moments, no matter how “interesting” the subject matter is. However, I have found that for some inexplicable reason I can read blog posts, articles, tweets, and Facebook status updates for hours on end and seldom even yawn. With that in mind, I recently started a year-long chronological Bible reading plan at and, so far, that’s working out well for me. I enjoy reading the NKJV, but I carry a NIV Study Bible to church.

  • Reply Mary January 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Awesome suggestions. Headed to Target now for my cheap-o notebook and tabs. I’ve got a date in the morning with My Father πŸ™‚

  • Reply amber anderson January 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    So I’m LOVING the Chronological Bible thingy- and I’m about to go to the CBD website to order it. ALSO- LOVE-love-LOVE the NIV GREEK Bible thingy. Again- CBD- shopping cart is gonna be full.

    I think Blue Letter Bible dot ORG is a super great referencing site as well for alternate translations and Greek/Hebrew originations.

    To juvenile-lize my almost 30 year old age, I have to say that Phil Vischer (in his absolute genius) made the bestest and awesomest DVD series called “What’s in the Bible”. I like it more than my kids do- and I’ve learned more (historical information) watching it than in all my Christian walk reading all sorts of books. He (Phil Vischer- you know who he is- Veggie Tales guy) also created a show online called JellyTelly and it’s FUN and educational, and GREAT to watch the daily shows with my little chicas.
    One more thing. iPhone apps are super-cool for Bible reading and studying. I use it at church to take notes and bookmark passages- You Version is super.
    (I Facebook and Twitter a LOT using my phone- and was reminded the other day that my finger needs to be tapping the Bible app way more often than my social media app…. sigh.)

  • Reply Alicia January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    The main thing I struggle with is that I am NOT a morning person, but when I try to have my quiet time at night, I find I’m so tired that I don’t get through it without falling asleep!
    I am an academic kinda person too, and maybe it comes from having a Psych undergrad degree (you might be able to attest to this too, Ang!) but I always feel the need to analyze everything I read too! I just try to tell myself to take it line by line, sometimes word by word, and meditate on a little part of the passage as I go along, like you said. I don’t think anyone ever got points for reading a large chunk in one sitting as opposed to focusing on a few lines in particular (although with my type A personality, I have to remind myself of that frequently!)

  • Reply Reese January 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Ahh Angie, I agree-praying prior to reading is key, but Look.Out. I was not a cry(er) before I totally surrendered my life to Christ. Now, each time I open the Bible-(Clue Waterworks)…….. I put myself in the context of the scripture and it makes complete sense. These biblical stories really.did.happen 2000 + years ago….My Saviour really did die ……… for. me. Heartbreaking (in a good way.)

    Praying for you, and this community!

  • Reply Bradner January 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I am trying something new and I totally recommend it. The church I attend is doing a Read the Bible in 90 Days program. At first I was hesitant and reluctant. But, everyone seemed to be joining in and our small group, Sunday school classes (kids and adults) and sermons are all focusing on the Read the Bible in 90 Days. So, on to the bandwagon my husband, daughter( she is 12) and I jumped. We are at day 10 and I am loving it. We start at the beginning ( a very good place to start….Sorry broke into a little Julie Andrews) and are working our way through page by page. It is amazing to read the bible as a novel and reading it so quickly I am able to make connections and keep track of family lines (somewhat) and see the flow of God’s words and instructions to His people. So, if someone wants to try and new way to read the bible and hasn’t tried this way…..Give it a shot. I also would suggest purchasing the 90 Day Bible (it is NIV.) I am so glad we did. We each have our own and it just makes it easier.

    • Reply Jan January 22, 2011 at 4:24 am

      I agree! My husband and I are doing the 90 day Bible. Everytime I have ever started trying to read the Bible through in One Year, I get bogged down in Numbers or Deuteronomy and then feel like a failure. I’m 21 days into this Bible and already in 1 Sam. The OT has come alive when I read it like a novel. Was very afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace, but it hasn’t been a problem. I read it on my Kindle. SO excited to know I will have read through the entire Bible by the end of March! A life-long goal accomplished!

  • Reply Lis January 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I was so confused about that, LOL! I wanted to share this post with others and couldn’t!

    Seriously, Ang–as a longtime reader, I feel this is one of your best posts. I was seriously (I’m using that world a lot!) convicted by the Holy Spirit while reading this. Thank you.

  • Reply Paige January 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    de-lurking to simply say I love your humor tucked in within your writing. This is a great post. (so many are)

    oh, and I miss Crowder “all I can say” being first on your playlist, even if it made me cry. every. single. time.

    Back to lurking πŸ™‚

    • Reply Nicklisa28 January 20, 2011 at 3:58 am

      Thank you, Paige for pointing this out. I had a minor panic attack when I noticed David Crowder was gone from the playlist! I’m slowly adjusting but it hasn’t been easy! LOL

  • Reply Jody January 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I teach the Jr/Sr High Sunday School at my church. Bibles happened to come up in our discussion last week (we are doing a pretty much verse by verse look at the Bible & just started Abraham Sunday). Anyways, one of my Sr High boys said he liked his children’s bible because it had pictures in it. And maps, too, I think.

    I have four Bibles myself, from childhood through now. My favorite is my most recent. It is a side-by-side of the NIV and The Message. I grew up on the NIV and I love the freshness of The Message. Anyways, I can read a passage and just look across the page to see what the other translation says. I’ve had a lot of “revelations” about the Scriptures from doing that. I know some people have a negative view of The Message, but people probably thought that about the King James Bible, which by the way is turning 400 years old this year? Before that, you usually had to be a scholar to be able to read the Bible. How awesome that God inspired him to have the Bible translated to English so everyone in his country could read the Bible? And think about how many languages the Bible is printed in now….it’s just amazing.

  • Reply Pshowell4 January 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Great info Angie! Thanks for sharing. Years ago a Sunday school teacher recommended buying a 1 Year Bible. Reading with a highlighter then preceeding years get another color highlighter. That worked for me a couple of years. I have found myself back to this method …since October. I also added a notebook for notes. I am going to suggest a great book which helps the beginner or experienced learner in connect with the OT. The Epic of Eden, Sandra L. Richter. I took a short class that used this book a few summers ago. I am currently walking through the book with a friend. It brings the whole picture into focus and make the OT fun (did I just say that?). I am finding that I am loving being in the Word. I hope to get a Chrono Bible one day. I must figure out how to justify just one more Bible in this house. We could open our own Bible store.

  • Reply Sojourner Jones January 19, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I love the idea of using a kids’ Bible to get a grasp on chronology and main figures! Brilliant! I grew up in the faith so I had one, and my kids had their own too. Now I’m mentoring a young mom and young believer, and I’ve been trying to give her some overviews of scripture (per her request) but I didn’t think of this! Thanks!

  • Reply robin January 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Three words:

    Jesus Storybook Bible

    Everyone needs this Bible! I received it as a baby gift, and it has ministered to me so much – especially during the first few weeks of my son’s life when I was totally sleep deprived and could only handle reading it out loud to him as my quiet time. It paints such a great picture of God’s plan of salvation throughout the whole story.

    Thanks for the post Angie!


    PS Melissa Moore was one of my best friends in 5th and 6th grade if that gives me any credibility…:)

  • Reply Melissa Irwin January 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Happy 10th Anniversary. I just celebrated my 12th with Jesus. πŸ™‚ I just want to back you up on the Hebrew/Greek Bible – the one that Beth endorsed. I do love it and feel so smart….(for a minute). And by the by – I did not go to school with Melissa Moore, but Beth Moore has hugged one of my best friends and so I’m pretty sure that counts for something.

    • Reply angelac519 January 21, 2011 at 3:26 am

      melissa!!!!!! i am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!! i have meant to email you back in the last few days and have been crazy, but i am going to, and in it i am going to say….YOU ROCK GIRL!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Karrie January 20, 2011 at 12:16 am

    I about fell off my chair when I read you started with a children’s bible. That’s EXACTLY what I did!!!! I read the stories to my daughter every night, yes it was for her benefit, but stemmed to benefit ME! πŸ™‚

    My suggestion comes from my Pastor’s suggestion, start with the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You really get to know Jesus that way and it was very helpful to use that as a starting point!

  • Reply Meghan Carrigan January 20, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I’m reading the entire Bible this year and really glad I’ve committed to doing it. My 3 yr old son died on Dec 26th and the daily readings help me so much to stay centered on God at a point in my life when staying focused on anything but sadness is very difficult. A bonus reminder for me is that the One Year Bible verses pop up on my facebook wall everyday to remind me and I can even read them online.

    • Reply Nicklisa28 January 20, 2011 at 3:55 am

      Meghan, just wanted you to know that I prayed for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope God blesses you immensely as you are diving into His Word. Lord, bring comfort and peace.

    • Reply Julie B. January 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      I have also said a prayer for you. I am so very, very sorry about the loss of your son. I pray that God will wrap His arms around you even tighter. God Bless

    • Reply angelac519 January 21, 2011 at 3:25 am

      megan, i am praying for you right now and would love to help you in any way i can. please feel free to email me so we can chat some more if you would like…in the meantime, you are on my mind and i so appreciate you sharing….with love, angie

    • Reply Bethherring January 22, 2011 at 3:23 am

      praying for you Meghan – do you have a blog? You are on my heart sweet girl and I pray that God just minister to you in the days to come.

  • Reply Bridgemacd January 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Great post! I started with a Children’s Bible too, actually went through 2 of them until I “graduated”. I do have a couple questions,
    #1. so when you start reading the bible do you just open to Genesis and read through cover to cover? Or do you skip around by books?
    #2. Can you please do a post on time management? With all you accomplish spiritually, personally, home schooling, new baby, I just can’t understand how you do it all. πŸ™‚
    Love your blog, thanks!

    • Reply angelac519 January 21, 2011 at 3:24 am

      oh, guuurlll. time management is totally not my strong suit. i have an awesome nanny who helps me with homeschooling when i need to write, and a great hubby who cooks and helps with the kids, and about a million other sweet friends who pitch in where it’s needed. i wish you could spend a day with me…you would probably go home thinking i was a nutcase!!!! honestly, every day i am like, “man, i really dropped the ball on that one…” for me, i delegate in order to be able to do the most important things, and that is kind of an evolving process… πŸ™‚ thanks for the sweet thought, though!!!

      • Reply Samantha January 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

        Thank you for being so real. From my view here, you appear as one who has it all together. With your humor and honesty you remind a simple woman like myself that we are really all just the same!! : ) That helps me to be able to relax and just be who God created me to be. You are an encouragement!!

  • Reply Tee January 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Chocolate while doing a Bible study? Isn’t that the 11th commandment?

  • Reply Jen January 20, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I loved what Molly Piper suggested over at (in)courage the other week… “…have a Bible open on the counter. So if I have 2 minutes or 10 minutes that I use it to read there at my kitchen counter, asking the Lord to reveal what he has for me in that short amount of time.” That works so well for me!!

    • Reply Tena January 21, 2011 at 1:00 am

      They even sell a waterproof NIV bible that would be great to have open on the kitchen counter or propped open on the unused cookbook stand. Wow, I think I just justified another bible purchase. Yea.

  • Reply womenlivingwell January 20, 2011 at 1:24 am

    LOVE Beth Moore – LOVE ESV – LOVE Greek – LOVE reading the Bible in Chronological order – LOVE this post! lol!

    Angela and I have started an on-line Bible study through the book of James and it just began Monday here:

    If anyone wants to join – they do not have to have a Good Morning Girls group to join us! We’d love to have them!

    Thanks Angie for a GREAT post – digging into the word and Walking with the King changes the entire course of our lives! Press on!
    Much Love,

  • Reply Marla January 20, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Okay, so I started chuckling at the Starbucks/credibility comments, then laughed out loud at the “this post may have been a bad idea.” πŸ™‚ I love reading your blog – even though I don’t think I’ve ever commented. And truthfully, this post was exactly what I’ve been looking for…or at least what I MEANT to be looking for if I ever took the time! I need a new Bible – “graduated” from my student study Bible long ago – so I am excited to have some suggestions to check out…thank you!

  • Reply Reneelynnwall January 20, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Thank you for this post!

    So, my husband is a Bible-reading, theological vessel of facts. I am very intimidated by THAT and have allowed myself to not take hold of God’s word for my own and as my own as a result. Still yet, this new year I have made a committment to spend SOME time in the Word every day… even if it is just reading a daily devotion that is sent to my email (via iPhone) electronically. (My preference is still to pray, read, and mull over the Word from my Celebrate Recovery Bible with a pen in hand while in my recliner during my 6 month old’s nap and while having a candle burning – for inspiration?)

    Okay… so tonight I read parts of Angie’s post aloud to my husband and HE agreed with many points and even heard new information that he wanted to look into. (Epic of Eden) Blessed to have a husband is so open, humble, and interested!

    Anyway… I love the comments by everyone and can so relate to so many of you. You’ve really addressed a desire and need many of us “gals” have – to feel like there is a “beginning way” to truly and intimately take hold of God’s word! Thank you!

  • Reply karen January 20, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I am smiling as I also need to like how my Bible feels and I have several journals for different things. And the chocolate is good and with coffee, perfect. :)I am going to check out the Hebrew/Greek Bible, I love the KJV now.
    Thanks Angie!

  • Reply Brie January 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

    great suggestions! i’m finding a huge boost to my morning commute (i ride a train!) by using the youversion bible app on my iphone! there are DOZENS of great plans for every conceivable thing from devotions to chronological to bible in a year! i think for me the main advantage is that i don’t get tired of lugging another book around with me. (which sounds bad, but actually what i mean is my back hurts less this way!) actually, when my homegroup meets up for bible study is not unusual for the entire group to be reading their bibles on their phones – it’s suddenly so much more accessible, and such a blessing!

  • Reply Lisa January 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! I have been wanting to go deeper in my Bible reading just never really knew how or where to begin. I have seen in the past that you have recommended the book “What the Bible is All About” so I ordered that last week and I can’t wait to start using it! I’m also going to look into the Greek and Hebrew Key Word Study Bible and the Chronological Bible. Very good info! Thanks again for sharing!

  • Reply Stephanie Blackiston January 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    That was awesome! Thank you so much!!!

  • Reply Julie B. January 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Hey Angie! I {almost} never comment because you always have so many comments; I always feel like I wouldn’t be adding anything that hasn’t been said. But today, I wanted to let you know how wonderful I think it is that you obviously care so deeply for people in general and really WANT people to know Jesus. Your heart for Him is just so amazing and I am blessed to have been privy to your story {His story, through you}. I read your book a few months ago and it blessed me beyond measure. You are such a beautiful example of Jesus here on earth. And today, I just wanted to tell you that:)
    All the best!
    Julie B.

  • Reply Tack January 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Angie! I have read your blog since almost the beginning but have never commented before but this time thought I might have an idea to share. I tried to read the bible through many times starting in the OT but would get stuck in Numbers (odd since I’m a math teacher). When the Message first came out in paperback (just the NT) I read it on the treadmill. It reads so much more like a story. When the OT version of the Message came out I sat down and made myself a three year plan to read the bible. Something I could make it through, I bought the Halley’s Bible Handbook to go along with it. Instead of reading Halley’s first I would read the Bible then Halley’s if I hadn’t noticed something in my reading I would go back and reread that passage. It took awhile to become a habit but I ended up reading through the whole bible just over 2 years. The next year our church read through the bible using a six day a week plan, this allowed you to rest on Sunday or catch up. We read some OT, NT, and a few verses from Psalms or Proverbs each day. Each week they handed out a bookmark with that weeks readings on it. If I was really tired one night I would read several days of the Psalms verses and save the OT reading for when I was more rested. I read the NIV version this time.
    I have read the bible through twice that way and am doing it again this year. This time on YouVerse. I’m reading the NIV 2010 version and do not have to buy a new bible to do so. I already have 5 different versions that I can see from where I’m sitting right now.
    Plan on reading lots today we are on a snow day! Not that there is much snow but the icy roads were too dangerous to travel on this morning.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog,

  • Reply Connie L Amato-Mahle January 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Hello there, dear friend!

    It is inspiring how much you’ve journeyed w/Jesus in these last 10 years! You have gained a great depth of knowledge in biblical studies (in just 10 short years) – it’s admirable!

    I am definitely going to hook up w/The One Year Chronological Bible! Thank you for the helpful tip!! : )

    P.S. Happy Anniversary! What a distinguished milestone to celebrate!

    In love and friendship,
    Connie Amato-Mahle
    Clarion, PA

  • Reply Sara January 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Mrs. Angie!!! We have the same spiritual birthday!!! I was saved on Januaury 17, 2000 when i was six years old. I always celebrate this special day with the Lord. I have never commented in the years i have been reading your blog, but this was too perfect to pass up. I love all your Bible reading advice. It’s fun to see how other people dig into God’s Word. Thank you for being such a godly woman and sharing your life!

  • Reply Megan January 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I love love love Dr. J. Vernon McGee and his Through the Bible commentaries. At first I thought this will probably incredibly boring. But he is really insightful and adds some personal experience in there to keep it kind of in “our time” so to speak. I totally agree with you that the BIBLE is the main deal but it does help to read what other people have to say about it. The thing I like about Dr. McGee is that he quotes the scripture first and then he gives his commentaries on it.. verse by verse by verse. It’s incredible. I highly recommend it. Megan

    • Reply angelac519 January 21, 2011 at 3:20 am

      i have heard that, and now i must go buy his books πŸ™‚ thanks!!!

  • Reply cheryl January 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I am glad to know I am not the only one who reads in the ESV, but memorizes from the NIV. It does sound silly, but it has been something I have thought a lot about. I have many verses memorized from childhood that come from the NIV, so I feel a “bond” or whatever you want to call it. πŸ˜‰ Another thing I have thought about is, what version do I teach my children? I know, once again, it may sound trivial, but it is something I think about! Would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Reply Mica Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:43 am

    You are so funny πŸ™‚ I appreciate you taking the time to write this. I want to read the Bible really bad but I am so confused as to how to do it. When something is overwhelming I kind of shut down. That is exactly what happens to me in reading the Bible. I will now try to just pick it up and read and see what happens. You helped me realize that I don’t have to read in a certain order or in a timeframe. Thank you for being so real. Blessings, Mica

  • Reply Allie January 21, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Such good advice but I have to say that between all that wisdom you absolutely crack me up! Bless you, sweet sister!

  • Reply Leigh January 21, 2011 at 2:29 am

    I have felt guilty for years because I find it so hard to find time to read my Bible. I’m a mom of two active girls, work outside the home, and commute 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours a day. For Christmas I treated myself to an audio Bible for my iPhone, and it has been such a blessing! Now I listen to the Bible on my way to work, and it’s such an awesome way to start my day. I can bookmark each passage when I get to a stopping point (in traffic AND in the passage πŸ™‚ ) and it also has a chronological function if I decide to read the Bible in a year.

  • Reply AshleyB January 21, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I’ve been in a rut lately when it comes to reading/studying the Bible. I just can’t seem to get started with any formal study from a book (which feels so foreign to me, because the feeling of a new book in my hand with my journal, some highlighters, and a new pen by my side is close to heaven for me).

    So what I’ve started doing is pick a word or a person that I’d like to know more about and find it in a concordance and just start reading those verses. Inevitably, those verses lead somewhere else and before I know it, I’ve spent twenty or thirty minutes or more making notes, reading and re-reading about something that has, in that short time, taken on a new meaning for me. Just for a quick (ha) example, I’ve taken the word t”trust” to find all of the places Jesus said it to see the context, or the word “sanctification” because it’s a word Christians use, but I’m not sure I ever really studied what it meant. The way the words thread from OT to NT and through different books has been such an eye-opener for me.

    For what it’s worth – that’s been helpful to me over the past few months as I’m in an aversion-to-formal-studies mode. And if someone else in the comments has suggested something similar, sorry, I didn’t scroll through before I commented.

  • Reply Megan January 21, 2011 at 4:35 am

    thank you so much for this post. It literally brought me to tears. I’m trying (with good intentions but little action) to be a better Christian and to build a genuine relationship with the Lord. Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed. I love how humble it is to admit you started with a children’s Bible. This post was so so helpful to me.

  • Reply Jenny F January 21, 2011 at 5:11 am

    I have a few questions for you Angie. How long does a study/reading/quiet time session of yours usually last? And do you do one every day? How do you pick what you are reading that day – is is chronologically based?

    I took your “Jesus Storybook Bible” suggestion from a while back and purchased one for each of my children. I loved it – It was the first Bible I’d read all the way through. Then I set a goal to read all four gospels one month in that HUGE book – (you know, the one that gives you crediability at Starbucks :)) Each little goal I set has provided me with the encouraagement needed to keep reading. I am now reading my Life Application NIV Bible chronolgically and I’m at Jeremiah. I just want to say thank you for providing an on-line blog/community where Believers can share helpful tips and encourage and pray for each other.

  • Reply Anonymous January 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I always like to learn what works for other people when they read the Bible. Personally, my one tip that has seem to work and stick for some years is just not overwhelming myself with too much Bible reading at a time. I have read one chapter of the Bible per day for almost 3 years now and loving it! It also helps me relish every single word of that chapter. I use the NIV Study Bible at home but recently I traveled out of country with too much luggage and not too much space for my Bible so I used which I also suggest!

  • Reply danielle January 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Reply Natasha January 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    What a great post. I am reading a children’s picture Bible with my four year old. I think I like it as much as he does. When I first became a Christian, I would sometimes crack up at people having lots of different Bibles. Well, I am now one of those people. I enjoy the different versions, textual features, and commentaries.

  • Reply Kristin January 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

    What an encouraging, helpful post! I just ordered the Greek Hebrew Keyword study bible and I’m going to grab a couple of the aids that you recommended for our Kindle. Thanks so much for the recommendaitons! ~K

  • Reply Beth January 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Angie,

    I am a lurker :). I enjoy your blog and your love for Jesus encourages me– thank you.

    Could you give a little more info on the Greek Hebrew Keyword Study Bible. Does it guide you in any way that certain words should be studied? For example, would it highlight a word to show that you should look up the Greek because it really adds to the understanding of the passage? Or do we need to be smart enough to do that for ourselves :)?

    Thanks for all you do to encourage us!

  • Reply Anonymous January 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I would love to do bible study with you. Why? Because it can be serious and fun all rolled into one. :). I love your advice. (( hugs))

  • Reply Rachel S. January 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Love the tips you shared! Thanks πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Lesliemartinyoung January 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    If it’s good enough for you, Beth AND Melissa, it’s good enough for me! Just ordered the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible! (That Amazon one-click is going to be the death of me!) I’ve also ordered a grand total of FIVE copies of 1000 Gifts, so far – one for me and four for random women I love. So looking forward to the book club insights!

  • Reply Ksessary January 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Hello Angie. My name is Karen Essary and like many of your commenters, you don’t know me, but I certainly feel like I know you well. I ready your book last year and stay in touch with your blog as often as possible for a working mother with 5 children. πŸ˜‰ I have joked with a few of my friends that we would so be good friends if we actually knew each other. πŸ˜‰ There were many times that I wanted to comment on your blog, but I felt compelled to write today because I began reading the book you suggested, One Thousand Gifts, during lunch. I was moved beyond words. I finally felt like I got it. The answer to what I have been searching for. Now granted I am only on chapter 3, but reading the words “Thanksgiving is always preceded by a miracle”, rang loud and true to my hearts door. I love the Lord with every ounce of my being although I don’t know that I am always the best repressentative for Him that I could be. I want so badly to make a different for Him and I believe that it really does all start with THANKSGIVING. I think most of us would say that we are thankful. We list all of the good things in our life, but when we stop and really examine our day to day living we realize we aren’t living thankful lives. So today I started my day with Thanksgiving and I wanted to pass on my thankfulness to you for introducing me to the book that with only 2 chapters has helped change my perspective. Thank You!

  • Reply Misti Neally Stalcup January 30, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I’m a new follower, visiting from Kelly’s Korner. I’m so happy she blogged about you. πŸ™‚

    This post really hit home, something I’ve been struggling with. Thank you for posting something this simple and this great. I look forward to digging into your wonderful blog.

    Thank you.

  • Reply kelli- Adventurez February 1, 2011 at 12:02 am

    glad i found your blog- came from kelly’s korner!
    love it-

  • Reply Michelle February 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    So funny… I bought Bible story flash cards at the Dollar Store when I became serious about Christ in college. It really did help!

  • Reply Rebecca Zerjav February 4, 2011 at 2:24 am

    do you have a particular book you would recommend for a 5 year old wanting to know more about Jesus? I am stuck with some of my little one’s questions…

  • Reply Rachel Crawford February 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Beth Moore is amazing. And reading her books goes perfectly with Teamotions Teas! Angie, my tea is finally ready after all this time!!! Our website launched today.

  • Reply Rachel Crawforad February 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Wait, what did I just comment to? sorry…wrong post.

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