What was it that caused the hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus to burn as Christ explained the Scriptures to them? He showed them how the Old Testament continually pointed to Him and that He was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament covenants and prophecies. Their hearts were aflame with the love of God because of His Word.
So it is with us once we begin to understand. And that is where the Church comes in, showing us the way. She has over 2000 years of experience and she has the Fathers of the Church; but most of all, She has the promise of Christ that She cannot err on doctrines of faith and morals. Consider how many Protestant ministers have found their way into the Church through the study of Sacred Scripture. The “Coming Home Network” is filled with testimonies of Protestant ministers who have come into the Church.
So where should we start. The senses of Sacred Scripture are the literal and the spiritual, with the spiritual being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and the anagogical. All find their basis in the literal sense. So that’s our starting point and to help us, one of those “Coming Home Network” ministers has developed a way to read Scripture in a chronologically way. Jeff Cavins has a study called “The Great Adventure”. I have had the pleasure of leading 6 groups through this 4 session study with great success. He has longer studies, but I have found the 4 session to be adequate.
Jeff has identified 14 books, 12 in the Old Testament and 2 in the New Testament, that gives us a view of Scripture from the historical perspective or as Jeff calls it, “The Story”. We all know the stories: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David. “The Story” ties all these together into one cohesive story of God’s search to bring man into His family. The other 59 books would be read the next time through. For example, when reading about King David in 2nd Samuel, you might want to read a few of the Psalms; or when reading 1st Kings about King Solomon, read some of the Proverbs. The 14 books are: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Maccabees, Luke, Acts. These 14 books give you the history in chronological order.
With this basic knowledge you can begin to see the Spiritual senses. For example: Moses leading the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and crossing the Red Sea. This foreshadows our being led out of the slavery of sin and crossing from that sin via the waters of Baptism. The wandering in the desert foreshadows our time here on earth and the crossing of the Jordon into the Promised Land is, of course, our crossing into the Promise of Salvation, Heaven.
I would recommend that you start each encounter with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, the prime author of the Scriptures. Read, listen and then pray for understanding, Read with your mind and then listen to what you read with your heart. . Do not “tackle” the Bible. Sometimes only a verse is enough. When you come to a part that you know, don’t skip over it. Read it again for the message could be different. Scott Hahn tells us that the Bible is like an ocean and we are invited to visit all the depths from the literal surface to the most spiritual depths. See the wonders that God has for you.