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Where Do I Start Reading In The Bible?

The Bible is a big book, should I read it cover to cover?

A bit of information about the structure of the Bible can be helpful to people beginning to read it. First, understand the Bible is a collection of books given by God over a period of time. Each book was given for a particular audience at the time, yet the information would have applications for everyone who came later--including you! The books will have individual themes, but the common thread through every book of the Bible is Jesus. The books of the Bible as listed in the table of contents are not all in chronological order, but are grouped by category.

The books of the Old Testament (before Christ) are grouped as:

... The Pentateuch: Genesis to Deuteronomy (also referred to as the Books of Moses or the Books of the Law)

... Books of History: Joshua to Ester (these are in chronological order)

... Books of Poetry: Job to the song of Solomon

... Major Prophets: Isaiah to Daniel (called "major" due to the length of writings)

... Minor Prophets: Hosea to Malachi ("minor" since they are relatively short)

The books of the New Testament (since Christ) are grouped as:

... The Gospels: Matthew to John

... History: Acts

... Pauline Epistles: Romans to Hebrews (letters written by Paul)

... General Epistles: James to Jude

... Prophecy: Revelation

If you are new to the Bible, we suggest going through a certain books of the Bible before trying to read straight through. Some people who try to read straight through the Bible can get discouraged in parts that they don't understand or parts that have great details that they don't see the point in having. The books we list for early reading will give you a perspective on the entire Bible so you can have a more fulfilling experience when you read the parts that don't seem very exciting.

...1. John (or the Gospel of John): Introduces us to the central person of the Bible, Jesus

...2. I John: Short letter by John addressing with assurances for followers of Jesus

...3. Genesis: Tells how we began (the good and the bad) and how God chose a people to carry His message

...4. Exodus: God gives the Law to keep men from repeating the mistakes of Genesis

...5. Romans: Explains that God sent Jesus because humans could not keep the Law

...6. The New Testament: start with Matthew and go through Revelation: You can see how Jesus fulfilled the Law and gave up His life for us, how His early followers formed "the Church", what is like to be a follower of Jesus, and the promise of eternal life.

As you read, write down questions you may have. As you continue to read, you will find answers. Ask God to make His message clear to you and show you how your life can be transformed.

Once you finish the New Testament, go back to Genesis and read through the Old Testament. You'll likely find answers to questions you've written down from your previous readings. If parts of the Old Testament get too detailed, take a break and re-read an interesting part of the New Testament, then go back.

One challenge you might make for yourself is to read the Bible in a year. You can do it with about 15 minutes of reading per day. Here are a couple schedules you can follow:

To read straight through the Bible:
Bible Year.com/

To read some Old and New Testament each day:
Bible Year.com/

Learn more of the Bible at:
BBN's Online Bible Institute

Back Bible Menu

Continue your research in our reference section: click the "Learn More" link above

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