Any tips for devotional guides or how to pick parts of the Bible to study?
There are definitely some time tested devotionals. At the top of that list is probably “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers and “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon. You may have seen those quoted on Tumblr before. The are doctrinally rock solid, well written, easy to find (and for cheap) and all around great. They, and many devotionals, follow the same format of a scripture and then a one page or so reflection on that idea. Many people find that reflective bit helpful as opposed to just reading straight scripture.
If what you want is more Bible, then the one year Bible is a good option. You can find a one year reading plan on line, or you can purchase a One Year Bible in almost any translation. The format of those is everyday has one section of Old Testament, one section of Psalms or Proverbs, and one section of New Testament, and you read the whole Bible in a year. Be aware though: it can be a lot of reading and occasionally the Old Testament bit will just be a list of people who built a temple, so not always scintillating.
A nice compromise between those is a devotional by Eugene Peterson, the man who wrote the Message translation, called the The Message: Solo. A significant chunk of scripture, but also some guiding insights. Peterson also wrote a very good book about getting the most out of reading the Bible called “Eat This Book”.
As for how to pick parts, let me start by saying that all of the Bible is equally inspired and holy and good for teaching, etc. That being said, there is no need to go for obscurity here. Wisdom from Habakkuk doesn’t count extra. The gospels are a great place to start (Mark is the shortest, making it a good candidate), and Romans is also excellent for getting started and for pretty much everyone. No matter what you choose: go slow, a chapter a day at the absolute max.
The important thing about devotionals, quiet times, whatever you want to call them, is to find what works for you. If you get bored with a particular thing, that doesn’t mean you are a bad person or you don’t respect the Word. It is perfectly fine to try things out and keep mixing it up.
-Matt from The Bridge