Gary Derbyshire

6 Tips to Reading the Bible on Your Own (Part 2)

Gary Derbyshire
September 21, 2017
  1.  This is second part of a two piece series dealing with reading scripture on your own.Click here for Part 1!

Psalm 1:2 says of a blessed man that, "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The blessed man is one who meditates on scripture. He doesn’t just know it; he dwells on it, pores over it. Moses, upon leading the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, said of the words God gave them in the law: “You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).” So how does one do this? The following are the final six of 12 tips I have found helpful as a minister and disciple of Christ:

  1. Read with a partner.Disciples of Christ aren’t meant to walk their journey alone. I don’t just mean go to a bible Study. Find another Christian, preferably from your church, who will commit to discussing scripture with you once a week. Get yourselves on the same Bible reading and memory plan, meet together once a week, and talk about what God is saying to you. It’s a great way for believers to keep each other accountable and sharpen each other. I actually require all of the volunteers in my ministries to have a reading partner.
  2. Read the Bible and be a member of a church with exceptional expository preaching.Expository preaching is simply going through a Bible passage, reading it verse by verse, and explaining it. Preachers who do this are more likely to teach you how to read the bible on your own, since he teaches it exactly how he wants you to read it. If you are in a church with a preacher who simply gives a motivational speech and only references scripture when he has to, he is a poor preacher. Your church has a lot do to with how you know and read the bible. Do not join one that performs that responsibility poorly.
  3. Read while utilizing multiple resources written from good sources.Nothing is better than the pure text of scripture, but commentaries and online resources can be very helpful. Study bibles are nice because they have commentaries from great biblical scholars beneath the actual scripture text (there’s a great article on how to find good ones at is a great website to help you interpret scripture. I have a link to it on my Resources page. Also, use multiple versions when reading (the Bible App and are great for this). I strongly recommend personally owning an ESV, NASB, NIV (before 2000), NCSB, or NKJV bible.
  4. Read at a scheduled, set aside part of your day.If you do not have a set aside time of day for God’s Word, it will not happen consistently. If it doesn’t happen consistently, you will be that much more likely to have unhealthy expectations for that time. Maybe the reason you have to find a passage that speaks about anxiety is because, if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t know when the next time will be that you take the time to read God’s Word. It may be weeks. Sometimes, we demand the clear word from God any time we want, but God isn’t your spiritual butler.
  5. Read knowing that studying the Bible isn’t always about learning something new, but about experiencing something anew.Don’t discount passages of scripture simply because you have read them before. God’s Word is more like a love letter than a textbook. Just because you didn’t learn a new fact while reading Exodus, doesn’t mean the never-changing power of God shouldn’t have blown you away.
  6. Read within a text’s literary context.I really feel like if every Christian just knew how to read well, it would protect them from 80% of the heresy that has infiltrated our churches. Read every sentence in light of a whole paragraph, every paragraph in light of the whole chapter, and every chapter in light of the whole book. I strongly encourage you to, if you are not confident in reading scripture, check out myLiving by the Bible page and watch the video training for reading the Bible. I think you will find it helpful.

2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” It is true, the Word of God will not return void (Isaiah 55:11), but that does not give us the right to handle it poorly.

Gary Derbyshire

Gary is the Senior Pastor of Apollo Baptist Church in Glendale, Arizona. Gary's biggest life influence is his loving parents, who originally taught him the Gospel and biblical exposition, and still live as missionaries in Asia. The next biggest influence is his loving wife, a gifted worship leader and evangelist to their children.

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Gary Derbyshire