As a new believer, having little-to-no knowledge of God or the Bible, I found myself diving into it only to walk away more confused than I had been previously. I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that nothing at all made sense to me. I made it all the way through Leviticus (that in itself is a miracle) before someone finally recommended I start at the Matthew. Even after reading most of the New Testament, I still had a hard time making sense of everything. The pieces just didn't seem to fit together.. I kept running into instances where God seemed to contradict Himself.
I think there are a lot of people in the church, and out, that have had the same experience. If you have experienced something similar, I'm here to tell you that there is a solution! 2 Timothy talks about rightly dividing the truth, and that is exactly what has helped me. Miles Coverdale, who translated the first English Bible said it well:
“It shall greatly help ye to understand the Scriptures if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth after. ”
God's word is not complicated, or confusing. When you understand how to read the Bible, all of the pieces fit together and everything makes sense. Remember that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). If you come to a part that confuses you, try to look at the accurate context of what is being said using the aforementioned advice from Mr. Coverdale.
Of course, above and beyond all else, always equip yourself with the Holy Spirit. Before sitting down to read, ask Him to open your eyes of understanding and to show you God's truth (John 16:13). Ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you as you sit down to spend time with Him.
Do you have any other advice or suggestions when it comes to reading the Bible? I'd love to hear them!