Getting Started in Bible Reading

Joe Fremer, Pastor

For general reading, I recommend that people start with one of the Gospels. Those are the first four books of the New Testament, and they tell the story of what Jesus said and did while He was on earth. Say, start with Luke, and then go on to Acts. The reason I suggest that is because Luke (who wrote the Gospel named after him) also wrote Acts — it's like the sequel. Anyway, after that, I would suggest one of the Epistles (Letters) like Philippians. There are three kinds of letters in the New Testament:

By the way, watch out for John; it's extremely confusing because there is the Gospel of John (just called "John") and then there are the three letters at the end of the New Testament called 1 (First) John, 2 (Second) John, 3 (Third) John. I really like 1 John, it talks a lot about love and truth. It has two of my favorite Bible verses: 1 Jn 1:9 and 1 Jn 3:1. (Look 'em up!)

John also wrote Revelation. That's a weird one. It's a vision, which is like a waking dream where God talks to you.

Oh, by the way, I often say "so-and-so wrote such-and-such"--but we always have to remember that he wasn't making it up out of his own head. God gave him what to say, so that's why we call the Bible "God's Word," because He inspired Luke, John, Paul, and all the other writers. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Peter 1:21: "Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

That's the cool thing about reading the Bible. God is talking to you! You might find this hard to believe, but God was thinking of YOU when he inspired these guys to write the books of the Bible! (He was thinking of me too, and your mom, and... you get the idea.) So when you read the Bible, it is like reading a letter from someone who knows you perfectly and loves you perfectly. The Bible is a love letter from God. Try reading it with that attitude. Pray first and say, "OK, God, speak to me--open my eyes to see what You want to tell me today." And while you're reading, watch for that one thing where you feel God speaking to you. Look for it; it's in there, like buried treasure. When you find it, write it down somewhere, and think about it. Maybe you want to underline it in your Bible. Pray about it. That's how God feeds our spirit and our faith!

So, anyway, I recommend reading Luke, then Acts, then Philippians. Throw in 1 John for good measure. Then you might want to move on to the Old Testament for a bit. Genesis and Exodus are pretty cool because they give a lot of background on where our New Testament faith comes from: God's promises to those folks thousands of years B.C. came true in Jesus. Leviticus and Numbers can be pretty boring in places, so save those for later. Psalms are always good, but then I bet you already knew that.

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