Reading the Bible is a great privilege. Before 1517, there was only one Christian denomination in Western Europe - the Roman Catholic Church. And it was the long held belief that only the educated clergy should read the Bible (in Latin). Lay persons only knew of the Bible what they were told in short homilies. In 1517 Martin Luther, a German monk, made a protest of the Church by posting his 95 beliefs of how the Church should be changed. One of those 95 beliefs was that the Bible should be in the language of the people, and that lay and clergy alike should study the Word. Luther translated the Latin Bible into German and began printing pamphlets and books on a new invention - the printing press. This began an explosion of literacy -- for the first time the lay people were encouraged by their pastors to learn to read and to read their Bibles. It was a new right that they embraced with their whole hearts.
Like many rights that we take for granted, being able to read God's word for ourselves is one of them.
Lets make an effort to embrace the gift of God's story for ourselves.
Suggestions for getting started:
+Get a Bible you can read easily such as New Revised Standard (NRSV) Common English Bible (CEB) or The Message. Look for one that is a "Study Bible" in other words it has notes and helps at the bottom of each page to assist you as you read.
+Start with the New Testament, the story of Jesus' life, in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) If you have never tried to read the Bible, start with Mark - its the shortest of the Gospels.
+Read one story (usually marked with headings) and ask yourself these questions:
Who are the main characters?
What is happening? Can you tell the story in your own words?
How are the characters like you? Who do you identify with?
What are they learning about God?
What does this story tell you about God? About yourself? About faith?
Blessings in your reading!!!