Quick (or maybe not so quick) Tip: How to start reading the Bible
So you’ve decided that you want to start reading the Bible. But what to read? Do I read it cover to cover? Well, let’s talk about that and hopefully by the end of this post you’ll have an idea of how to start your journey.
Don’t read cover to cover.
As a person new or unfamiliar with reading the Bible, it wouldn’t be wise to read it cover to cover. ‘Well, Kim that is how you read books! You start from the beginning and you read all the way through to the end.’ Well yeah…but understand the Bible is unlike any other book you’ll ever read and quite frankly, you can’t read it like a storybook. If you start at the beginning of the book (which is the old testament) for a person who is new to reading the Bible, you will most likely be confused by a lot of the content. You’ll need to know your context (the circumstances that form the setting)…content without context is just confusion. You most likely won’t understand why people are doing what they are doing. ‘Well Kim, where should I start then?’ Well I’m glad you asked…
Start with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John).
Referred to as the ‘Good News’ or ‘the teaching of Christ,’ the gospels tell the story of Jesus. Because of him the old covenant that was established in the old testament was completed and with Jesus’ coming and dying for our sins, a new covenant started which we are living in today. Now understand with the gospels, these are accounts that each man gave about the life and ministry of Jesus. One starts with the birth of John (who foretold the birth of Jesus) and then goes all the way through the crucifixion and the ascension. Another starts when Jesus started his actual ministry. So it actually picks up when he’s 30 years old. Also though they are listed as Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John…that wasn’t the order they were written…I know, it can get confusing hence why this post is for you!
Out of the four Gospels, you get a full view of Jesus’ life. Now, out of the four, the one that I would suggest that you start with is the book of John. It is very detailed and some may even argue that it’s more of a complete account. My personal favorite is Luke because being a nurse practitioner, Luke was a physician. I can relate to his descriptions easily. All four of the Gospels though are great and when you read them read them as a whole.
No matter what you are reading, what book you are in, passage or scripture…always remember context. We have this thing called the World Wide Web that you can go on and search until your heart is content. Anything you would want to know in this world is at your fingertips. Google is your friend and in our society, if you truly want to know something, you don’t have to get it secondhand. There’s just so many resources out there for us. It’s really laughable how much access that we have, but we still don’t use it. We would rather get our news & information from our neighbors, our coworkers, our spiritual leaders…even Facebook. I implore you to look up things when you don’t understand them and when it comes to context with scripture, it’s very easy to Google who the different authors are in the Bible, who they were in history, and when they wrote the book that they wrote. This helps paint a clear picture of that time for you so you can better understand what you’re reading.
Here’s the thing…in a world that wants everything now, no one takes time anymore to enjoy the process. Just like with anything else, you have to allow yourself to consume and digest the Bible AND let it work on you and your heart. The Bible is living and active and definitely interprets itself (like I said, it’s unlike any other book!). Be patient and confident that in due time, you will understand what you are reading and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help (but not spoon feed). I personally offer myself as a resource…I love the Bible and love helping others gain that same love so feel free to shoot me questions of any kind.
Well guys…that’s all I got! Let me know your thoughts. What suggestions do you have for the Bible Newbie? Drop ‘em below! Also, I’ll link my previous blog post on Tips for Having A Great Quiet TIme as well as a FREE Bible Study Guide to help you on your journey!