The MOST important resource of your life – the Word of God
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful;
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is ALL we need to be completely equipped;
Joshua 1:8 tells us that we should meditate on Scripture as much as we can.
The bible is the inspired Word of God, written over several millenia by 40 authors and is comprised of 66 canonical books Jesus read and referred to the Bible, as did Paul, the Apostles, the early church fathers, et. al.
The question: When reading the Bible, where do we start?
The Bible is its own best teacher. It’s not arranged, however, like an encyclopedia. You can’t go to chapter 1 and read everything about God and then go to chapter 2 to read everything about Jesus, etc. Remember, when reading the Bible, the verses and chapter breaks have been placed by man. It’s better to read by paragraph; these too are man-made but they do conform better to the original language than verses.
Some ground rules when reading God’s Word:
- Pray — Ask for guidance and to be able to accept what is written and to be able to apply God’s will to your life.
- Never, NEVER read the Bible trying to prove YOUR belief on any subject. It’s only human nature to take ideas out of context and if we “cherry-pick” Scripture and try to fit it into our context — whatever that may be — this can be deceptive, misleading and ultimately sinful.
- When you’re reading your Bible and come across something that doesn’t make sense, read the paragraph or chapter again. Don’t feel dumb or ignorant — we’ve ALL been there. If you still don’t understand, write down the problem area and continue onward. You may discover the answers later in your reading. Various tools such as a bible commentary, a bible dictionary and encyclopedia and a Strong’s Concordance will help you to further develop a framework of understanding Scripture. As you begin to build your library, stay in your Word. While there are many extra-biblical books out there, let Scripture speak for itself.
- We recommend that you don’t read large amounts of the Bible in one setting. Take breaks often. Or stay with about 4-6 chapters a day.
- Start with the New Testament. People who start with the Old Testament almost never read the Bible all the way through. The New Testament is what is binding on us today, not the Old. We need to follow God’s will for us today, not what was intended for the Jews.
- Lastly and most importantly, forget everything you’ve ever heard about Jesus, God and the Bible before you start reading the Bible. Don’t take what you want it to say with you first.
Now with these suggestions in mind, let’s lay out a path to read the Bible to let it build on itself. We recommend that you start with the Gospels. The term “Gospel” means “Good News” and the news of Jesus Christ’s life and sacrifice is indeed good news for a sinful mankind. With Him we have hope and promise of a joyful and eternal existence with Him.
- Read the Gospel of Mark. It’s written in chronological order and it was the first Gospel written.
- Read the Gospel of Matthew. It goes into better detail of some events and adds more about Jesus.
- Read the Gospel of John. It contains a lot of the life of Jesus not before read, especially his last two weeks before the crucifixion.
- Read the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician who rote both the meticulous Gospel account of the life of Christ as well as the Book of Acts.
- Continue with the Book of Acts – aka “The Acts of the Apostles.” Acts is a continuation of Luke. It describes the early church and contains the examples of New Testament conversions.
- Read the Book of Galatians. It covers the reasons why we don’t follow the Old Testament Laws in a more simplified way than does Romans or Hebrews.
- Read the rest of the New Testament starting at Romans and continuing through Revelation. Revelation is a special book in that it covers the final battle between good and evil and it also has a lot of visual imagery from John’ visions. A variety of church doctrine has evolved from the book of Revelation and we encourage you to seek your pastor’s or elders’ wisdom when seeking answers to questions. You can also email us here and we’ll be happy to guide you as well.
Your journey through God’s Word will take at least 5 weeks or longer — the focus isn’t on the amount of time, but the fruit of the time investment. Reading your Word will be the best journey you’ve ever taken. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and you’ll be forever changed. The Bible is living and powerful and it will teach you the most important things for this life and the life to come.
Please continue your study of Christianity with our next link, “Got Prayer?”