Know the book!

It can be a great help to your Bible reading if you know something about the book you are going through. Before you start a new book, it is a good idea to spend half an hour or so one evening, getting acquainted with it. Try to get hold of a Bible handbook (I recommend Survey of the Bible by W. Hendriksen), or a good study Bible (The NIV Study Bible is one of the best). From this you can find out three important things about the book. It will describe the background and situation in which the book was written; it will tell you about the purpose or purposes for which the author wrote the book; and it will provide an outline of the book so that you can see how the various parts fit together. You might like to copy this outline down for later reference.

Another thing that is very useful to do before studying a book is to read it through quickly to try and get the feel of it. It is easier to do this with the shorter books. Again, don’t get yourself into bondage where you set yourself so many things to do before you start a new book that you end up never starting!