Where to start reading the Bible?
That is the question that a new Christian may ask.
There is a host of recommendations on where to start reading the Bible. I’m thankful for the resources that the internet can provide, such as the best order to read the Bible.
But some may make the mistake of starting their entire Bible reading plan at the less ideal place. Hence, they may give up or be confused.
In this blog post, I hope to share my pastoral recommendations on where you should start reading the Bible and where not to begin.
Let’s dive into it!
5 Suggestions On Where To Start Reading The Bible
Begin Reading One Of The Four Gospels
The gospels in the New Testament describe the person, work, life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus Christ.
A great place to start from one of the gospels is John’s gospel.
The Gospel of John is John’s account of Jesus Christ. It explains that Jesus is the one and only Son of God. John’s purpose is to convince you to believe in Jesus so that you may have eternal life.
After John’s gospel, I recommend reading from Mark’s gospel. Mark is full of action and easier to read.
And then read the Gospel of Matthew.
Lastly, read Luke’s gospel. You may want to pay attention to how the Holy Spirit is active in Jesus life.
Try Reading The Book of Genesis
Genesis is the first book of the Bible and Old Testament.
Genesis is a foundational book for everything in life. It gives us a better understanding of creation, marriage, sexuality, gender, etc.
Many people would be familiar with the stories in the Book of Genesis.
It talks about how, in the beginning, God created the world.
It also talks about God’s covenant with Israel’s ancestors, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Sample The Book of Psalms
Psalms were originally written in Hebrew poetry.
It is written to express praise, worship, prayer, and lamentation to God.
Many find comfort and encouragement in reading the Psalms.
The most famous chapter is Psalm 23.
Read Paul’s Letters
The Apostle Paul has written almost half of the content of the entire New Testament.
Paul writes letters to different churches.
They offer theological teaching to the churches.
And those teachings would have implications for the Christian life.
Beginning with Romans or Ephesians would be a good start.
In my experience, Ephesians is an excellent book for Bible study. The first chapter is full of truth on the doctrine of predestination and Trinity. I’m always amazed by Ephesians 2:8-9, which talks about God’s grace for unworthy sinners.
Use A Physical Copy Of The Bible
When reading the Bible on paper, you should be able to see more words and texts in two pages, hence seeing a wider context.
So, in case you forget what you read, you can quickly glance at the previous passage from your physical copy of God’s word instead of scrolling back up.
Another advantage is that you can quickly flip to another passage if you’re using a cross-reference.
Plus, you can mark up your Bible if you want to engage with the text.
5 Mistakes On Where To Start Your Bible Reading
Flipping Through A Random Place In The Bible
Before I became a Christian, the Bible never interested me.
Occasionally, I would flip to a random page and start reading the bible when I needed guidance.
Many treat the Bible like a fortune cookie.
But the Bible is God’s (real) story.
We are supposed to read the Bible in its redemptive and historical context.
Starting With The King James Version
This may offend many Christians who only use the King James Bible.
But if you never grew up in the church, reading the King James can be a challenge because of its archaic language.
Personally, the KJV is hard for me to read.
(But I hope to try and read it in the future.)
So, you should consider using other Bible translations that would help you comprehend the text.
For example, I highly recommend reading from the English Standard Version, which leans more towards the word-for-word translation philosophy. You could use the New Living Translation or the New International Version to compliment your study. However, they’re not the most literal translation.
Do not get me wrong. The King James Version remains a helpful and useful translation.
If you grew up using the King James, or your pastor preaches from it, then you should use it.
Reading The Prophetic Books
The prophetic books are the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, the book of Revelation is an apocalyptic (also prophetic) book.
No beginners of the Bible should start reading the prophets.
The prophets in the Old Testament were written in a specific historical context. Unless you already know the history of Israel, you will be confused.
The book of Revelation is filled with allusions and symbolism from the Old Testament. Unless you are familiar with the Old Testament, it’s hard to understand Revelation.
Starting The Entire Bible From Genesis To Revelation
When you begin reading a book, it is understandable that you start with page 1.
But the Bible is structured differently from a novel or textbook.
It is not ordered in a chronological way.
Personally, I have never read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in that chronological order. And you do not have to read the Bible in that order.
Reading From The Bible App
I love the Bible apps on my phone.
There is, however, a disadvantage to using Bible apps for regular Bible reading.
It is only seeing a certain amount of text on the small screen.
That can hinder you from seeing the wider context of the Scripture.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best study Bible to use?
There are tons of good study Bibles to choose from in the market.
I would recommend the ESV Study Bible and MacArthur Study Bible.
Reading the Bible can sometimes be challenging for new beginners because they may fall into pits.
To avoid some of the pitfalls, you can choose to heed my cautions and suggestions.
Ultimately, the Scripture is God-breathed. The whole Bible deserves to be read by God’s people.
Wherever you start in your journey of Bible reading, may the Lord give you the perseverance and discipline to finish it.