Because the Bible was written so long ago and in a culture so foreign to our own, it’s a tough book to try to pick up and read from cover to cover. It actually consists of dozens of books of different genres that are not in chronological order, so approaching it like you would a modern bestseller will only leave you confused and frustrated.
For this reason, it’s important to read the Bible with some guidance and companionship. Look for a class or Bible study at your local campus ministry or nearby parish to help you along. Usually these will focus on smaller, more discreet sections of the Bible while giving historical background and context so you don’t get bogged down in some of the more arcane sections. For example, trying to read through the book of Leviticus on your own almost guarantees frustration, whereas studying the Gospel of Luke in a group setting will probably prove more interesting and satisfying.
If you can’t find a class that suits your interests, you can read the Bible with the help of some commentaries and good footnotes (think Cliff’s Notes). The best way to start is with a good study because it will contain solid scholarly background that gives beginning readers insight into what are some very ancient and foreign practices. These Bibles include overviews of each book in the Bible, timelines, maps, and notes about various translations. Both The Catholic Study Bible and The Harper Study Bible are well-respected and often recommended. Be sure to check out Busted Halo’s® Bible Boot Camp for a quick primer on reading the Bible.
Keep asking questions about the Bible, too. Ask any friends you know who are interested in the Bible. Ask a priest or campus minister or professor. Ask someone who works at the church you attend. Talk with fellow students and parishioners. Ask the Busted Halo® Question Box! As you learn more of the historical background and context of the biblical passages you are reading, chances are they will start to come to life for you.
from Ann Naffziger and the Busted Halo Question Box