I know I ought to read my Bible, but every time I try to read it I just end up getting confused. I never was a very good student, and all those strange names and places in the Old Testament get me lost. Is the Bible really that important? What am I doing wrong? — Mrs. L.Y.
I notice you are married; did you ever get a letter from your husband-to-be and decide you wouldn't bother reading it, because his handwriting was poor, or you were too busy, or for some other reason? I doubt it.
And yet that's what many of us do with the Bible. The Bible is God's "love letter" to us, telling us not only that He loves us, but showing us what He has done to demonstrate His love. It also tells us how we should live, because God knows what is best for us and He wants us to experience it. Never forget: The Bible is God's Word, given to us so we can know and follow Him. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Let me suggest first of all that you begin with one of the Gospels. Christ is the center of the Bible, and the Gospels tell us about His life and teachings. In other words, don't start at the beginning of the Bible but at its center—with Jesus Christ.
Then get a Bible you can understand; your pastor or Christian bookstore can suggest a reliable modern translation. Don't skip around, but read straight through each book so you get the main points. In addition, pray as you read, and ask God to help you understand what He wants to say to you through that passage. Don't give up, but let God use His Word to change you every day.