So, you're interested in reading the Bible and you want to get more out of the Word of God. But you're having a problem. Maybe the problem is that parts of the book are really hard to read, with its lists of laws, lists of names, and prophecies that don't seem to have anything to do with you. Maybe there are parts of it that make you uncomfortable because they don't conform to what you expect the Bible to say. Maybe the problem is just the size of the Bible itself... it's a huge book, and that can be intimidating.
All is not lost. There is hope. Here are a few things you can do to help shed light on the tricky passages of the Bible:
Pray first - Before you start reading, pray. It will help you be closer to God when you're reading, and will help with the distractions around you.
Pick a chunk of the book that you can handle - No one is going to be coming to your house and making you feel guilty if you only read a half of a chapter, or even a few verses.
Listen instead - Not much of a reader? Get a portion of the Bible on tape, CD, or some other form of audio. It's amazing how much of the Bible you can absorb when someone else is reading it to you.
Ask some basic questions about what you're reading - What is the basic message? Who was it written to? What does the passage tell you about God? What does it tell you about people? Throughout history, the readers of the Bible were most interested in how God felt about them, what he had promised, and how they should live.
Repeat a passage - The Bible is not written like a novel, it's written more like a reference book. There is nothing that says that you can't read the same thing five times in a row to get more understanding.
Get help interpreting it - This can come in the form of other trusted believers, Bible commentaries, concordances, online apologetics websites, or archived messages from pastors. We live in an age with unparalleled access to information; if something is confusing you in the Bible, it's better to seek out the answer than forever leave it as an unknown.
Come back to it later - In the end, if you've read something, researched it, and still don't know what it means or if it can have any help for your life, feel free to leave and come back to it later. No one person has full understanding of everything in the Bible – which is one of the primary reasons why we are a body of believers, and need each other for a strong spiritual walk.
One last thing: The vast majority of the Bible was not written directly to us, or even written with non-Jews in mind. This can make it difficult, almost as though we're reading someone else's mail. However, the Bible was written FOR us, and the more we can take the whole Word in, the stronger we'll be.