The most important thing to do if you want to read and understand the Bible, is to read it.
The scriptures are made up of numerous books, authored over many centuries, written in three languages, and in a wide range of genre. To become a student of the scriptures involves starting to read from these texts. No one can grasp it all in a short time. It will take reading, thinking and connecting in your mind the events and ideas.
There are many methods. Let us suggest a few.
1. Shipwreck Plan – many people simply begin at the beginning, as you would a novel, and start reading. However, this ship usually flounders on the rocks of Temple ritual (Leviticus) or genealogies (Numbers).
2. Chronological Plan – there are places to look to find the scriptures listed Chronologically. The advantage is that you get a sense of the flow of Biblical history. However, if you start in January, it will take you until October to get to the new Testament. (The second link below has a chronological plan as an option.)
3. Pick a Book Plan – here you recognize that the Bible is a library. So select a book that is of interest to you, such as Genesis or John, and focus your reading on that book. This has the advantage of being able to concentrate on a smaller part of the whole. Don't just read through, but read the book several times, consider it's shape and outline. Think about it's major themes. Look up some of the parts you don't understand in a reference work.
4. This N That Plan – several bible reading plans will move you around the scriptures so you don't feel stuck. This might bounce you from book to book, or it might give you a few chapters from the OT, the NT and the Psalms (for devotional reading). If you own a study bible, you probably have a plan like this already. An excellent This N That Plan in book form is: "Search the Scriptures" available from InterVarsity Press. Go to IVPress
We suggest the Pick a Book plan. A good place to start is one of the Gospels – John is the easiest for many. If you prefer a through the bible plan here are some links:
The Important thing, to repeat, is to pick a way that works for you, and to start reading. As with any subject, the more you read, the more you will understand. If the Bible is unfamiliar to you, do not feel discouraged. It will take time. Remember that it takes time to learn about anything: knitting, football, ancient history, how to keep Windows from crashing.