Getting Started

1) Find at least one translation that speaks to you. I'd actually recommend you find two or three translations that work for you. Because variety can be a good thing! And one translation can help clarify another.

Common Translations of the Bible

  • ESV = English Standard Version, online
  • NASB = New American Standard Bible, online.
  • NIV = New International Version, online
  • NKJV = New King James Version, online
  • KJV = King James Version, online
  • RSV = Revised Standard Version, online
  • NRSV = New Revised Standard Version
  • NLT = New Living Translation, online
  • HCSB = Holman Christian Standard Bible, online
  • TNIV = Today's New International Version, online 
  • NIrV = New International Reader's Version, online
  • NCV = New Century Version (sometimes called ICB, International Children's Bible), online
  • TEV or GNT = Today's English Version or Good News Translation, online
  • CEV = Contemporary English Version, online 
  • AMP = Amplified, online
  • CEB = Common English Bible, online
  • GOD'S WORD Translation, online
  • NEB = New English Bible, NT online
  • REB = Revised English Bible
  • The Living Bible, online
  • The Message, online 

Some less common translations:

2) Find a good right-for-you-at-this-moment Bible. You may find that your needs change as you go. There might be times when a study bible is a better match for you, or times when a text-only bible is better. I recommend having at least one of each. (You might want them in different translations.) When you're shopping for your Bible, take your time. Look at several different ones before you make the big decision. See what is available. See what's comfortable for you. If you're looking for a study bible, take the time to sit down and read a couple of the notes, and at least one book introduction. You'll be spending *lots* of time together, so be sure you're a good match for each other before you buy.

3) Decide on following a plan OR not. To each their own. Even if you don't plan on following a *strict* plan--one that goes Genesis to Revelation, for example. I would still recommend you design a plan for yourself. Even if it's just a few books at a time. (For example, this month I'll read John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation. Or this month, I'll read 1 and 2 Samuel.)

Reading Plans, Reading Plans, Get Your Reading Plan!

Bible's Reading Plan page
ESV's list of reading plans
Zondervan's list of reading plans
Heartlight's reading plans
Into Thy Word's reading plans's Bible plans's Bible plans's Bible plan

4) Keep records. I won't say that it's absolutely essential for you to keep track of your Bible reading. But I think it's helpful. I think it can help keep you on track.

  • create a bookmark that lists all the books of the Bible, mark them off as you go; if you have more than one Bible, have a bookmark for each Bible that "stays" with that Bible.
  • buy an inexpensive (or expensive) notebook (or journal) for you to write and record in
  • create a post or page on your blog; be diligent to actually update it
  • create a spreadsheet and track your progress; this takes some time to set up, but after you've set it up--it's very easy to use. Having it on a sheet--or chart--helps you stay focused. You know exactly what you've read, and what you still need to read. 

5) Be accountable to someone. It could be someone in your family, a close friend, or someone in your church family. It could be anyone in your life that shares your faith and wants to see you grow in your faith.