Best book of the Bible to study for beginners


I am planning to lead a Bible study for a group of women. I want to choose one book of the Bible where we can go in depth and study. However, I want to cover some of the basic beliefs of the Church as well so that those who don’t know their faith well can learn more about what the Church teaches. Is there a book that covers that? Topics I’d like to see would be the Sacraments (or most of them), and maybe a defense or two of some of the difficult teachings of the Church. I keep thinking the book of Acts would be good but am not sure if there is another that would work better. I know I won’t find one book that is all inclusive unless we wanted to study the whole thing, which we don’t have time for. Lol. Thanks.


If you’re targeting the Sacraments, the Gospel of John is a good place to start, as it covers Baptism (ch. 3), the Eucharist (ch. 6), the institution of the priesthood (ch. 13) and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (ch. 20). :slight_smile:


I think that the Book of Luke is a wonderful book for women to study. As a physician, Luke emphasizes Jesus’ concern for women. Luke is the first of a two letters that he wrote to his friend Theophilus. He continues with the beginnings of Christianity in the second letter - the Acts of the Apostle - that he wrote to Theophilus.


I would begin with either Mark or James.

Mark because it is the shortest and fastest moving of the gospels, and James because in it’s brevity it addresses the greatest commandments; to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors.

If I were not worried about length, I would go with Matthew, because of it’s many allusions (direct and indirect) to Old Testament writings.

Have fun with your studies.



I like the way Matthew details the following:
The beatitudes
The handing of the keys to Peter
Jesus’s ministry (I know it’s also elsewhere but I enjoy the detail in Matthew)
Woe to the scribes
The second coming (sheep and goats)
Jesus’s commission to the apostles and Ascension


this is the book I was also thinking of to recommend.


I would start with Matthew. It feels the most comprehensive to me, but I also like Luke and Mark. I would do John after the Synoptic Gospels, just because it is kind of different, more abstract, mystical. Also I would not over look the letters of Paul - they are beautifully written, very short and readable, written chronologically before the all of the Gospels, approx. 30 years after the death of Christ. They contain the essence of our faith and it is fascinating to go back and forth from the letters to the Gospels. (and yes they do harmonize thematically, spiritually)


Another vote for the** Gospel of John**.

Not only does it cover various doctrinal items, as previously mentioned, but it is also known as “the gospel of love” which seems often to strike the heart in a direct way when one reads it through, even unbelievers who are simply curious.

I love the quote about John, that it is shallow enough for a child to play in yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.

Be well.


+1 for John.


Because it takes a more thematic than chronological approach and is rather theologically deeper than the other Gospels, I would not actually advise John as a starting point. Matthew would probably be better. It is one of the more straightforward of the Gospels. While it is true than John goes into the most details re: sacraments, all four cover the Last Supper. I would also say that although you may be focused on one book, do not be afraid to mention or refer to other books when necessary as there are often links that reinforce your understanding. For instance, Exodus 12 (read on Maundy Thursday for this reason) is a very useful reference with regard to the institution of the Eucharist.


I absolutely agree. The thing I love about the Bible… especially the Gospels, is that there are so many references to the Old Testament that help us understand. I will definitely be doing that.

Thank you all for suggestions. I think the Gospels are a good way to go. I took a class on the book of John in college and loved it. It is my favorite Gospel. However, I see the merit in studying the other Gospels as well. I will have to think about it as well as pray and talk to the ladies in my group.


Love your signature- about everyone fighting a secret battle.

A book I once read suggested that, when distributing holy communion, we may as well imagine everyone walking up in the communion line dragging a cross because in one way or another, they are.

(sorry for getting a bit off topic)




Another vote for John here!

You may want to consider this book:


This. We read Luke in the first year of the teen Confirmation program.


James. Not just cause my name’s James.:smiley:


This is a tough question! I don’t want to lecture you, but you know that everything the church teaches does not have a proof-text in the Bible.

I can’t answer your question, and you see that there is some difference of opinion in the previous posts.

Let me help you decide for yourself and maybe even help you in a more general way about which book of the Bible corresponds to Church teachings.

Look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition. Mine is the edition with the dark green cover. In the back, there is a listing of books of the Bible that are referenced in the Catechism. You will notice that some books, like the gospel of Matthew have a couple PAGES of references to paragraphs in the Catechism. This listing gives you the chapter and verse and then the paragraph of the Catechism that is somehow connected with that verse.

I would think that listing would help you IMMENSELY to point out which teachings or what teaching the verse points to. This should help you “pull this study together” so that it is more objective, rather than your own speculation or guesswork (again not said to be offensive but to be helpful) or an overwhelming challenge for you to figure it out all on your own.

You might also use this listing to narrow down the possibilities to those books that are manageable in your class – you might not have time or your pupils the stamina to nail down every single teaching in the listing.

My head is spinning with your requirements that you have Bible “beginners” who want to study “in depth.” this is your call, of course, but I have never seen beginners who want to go really deep. Well, “whatever”, the Catechism might be your best guide.

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