Bible Front to Back Reading, Good Idea?


Sometime in the future I hope to get a new Bible, considering to do some hard reading,
still deciding on which translation is best (looking at RSV-2CE), but while I wait, let me
ask you all this: Suppose I try to read it from FRONT to BACK, from the beginning onward to
the very end. Would anybody recommend against that and / or imagine any
sort of repercussions from attempting to reading the Bible like that?


Seems to me that you have chosen a good translation, and therefore I do not see how it can possibly be a bad thing.

Enjoy, my friend!


No harm in it, though most people that try this get bored and never get to the end. That’s because, read in this way, the Bible doesn’t make much sense. Oh, you might gain a little familiarity with some of the stories and the order of the books and even draw some inspiration here and there, but the Bible wasn’t meant to be read that way because it isn’t set up to provide a narrative flow. Thus, reading it straight through doesn’t provide much context or explanation for what you’re reading.

There’s a lot of good Catholic Bible studies out there that can help you see “the Big Picture” of the Bible narrative as a basis for future reading. In my opinion, that’s the way to go.


What I would recommend is to read Genesis and Exodus, followed by the shorter little books that come between the Pentateuch and the Books of the Kings. Then read First and Second Kings. The same stories are repeated again in First and Second Samuel, and First and Second Chronicles. After that, read the shorter books of the Prophets, and then the four Gospels.

After reading the Gospels, then go back and read the longer Books of the Prophets, and then after that, finish the rest of the New Testament.

Once you’ve done that, then go back and do the books that you missed in the Old Testament. They’ll make way more sense, now. :slight_smile:


To the OP, I once did a “speed read” cover to cover & finished in 4 months (I wouldn’t recommend that however!). For me, everything “connected” & made enough sense that it changed my life… I don’t see how cover to cover would hurt… just might be hard to stay motivated.

I’m actually currently doing a reading program from the Coming Home Network that takes you through the Bible & the Catechism in 1 year… The readings aren’t too long & you go through OT, Psalms, NT & CCC all in one swoop. Who knows, it might be a nice alternative for you. :slight_smile:




Bible reading charts often have a person reading a few chapter from both Old Testament and New Testament to help keep a balance. What I’ve done This time is to read some from Old and some from New as well as a couple of Psalms / a Proverb. Lots of reading – but I enjoy reading. And the prophetic books Do get tedius. And No one understands Everything they read in God’s Word. Being in a Bible Study group is helpful – having people to interact with – exchange thoughts about Scriptures being read. But other’s thoughts can give us a different perspective – we can learn from each other. And the Holy Spirit will give us inner peace about what is right.

God’s Word is full of ‘mysteries’. We are to be continually reading / studying / learning :slight_smile:


:slight_smile: Thank you for this resource


The Bible is filled with different kinds of writing: narrative, poetry, apocrypha, wisdom sayings, prophecies, etc.

I would suggest starting with the narrative books, sometimes called the story of salvation history. I can think of two good guides for this. The first one is free on-line from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. The second one is through Ascension Press called The Bible Timeline. You can check the site to see if a nearby parish is doing the study.

Once you have the “big picture”, it will be easier to navigate the other books. Even if you don’t do The Bible Timeline, the bookmark, which is cheap, is really handy. It gives you the narrative books and shows how the other books of the Bible fit into that big picture.

Whatever you choose, I know you will find the experience rewarding.


I am taking the Ascension Press Bible Timeline Course. This course covers the general Narrative Books so one gets the story of the Bible. The supplemental books are placed where they fit in.
In reading the Bible you must remember the Bible is not a Book it is a Library. It contains many different forms of literature If you are going to attempt to read it front to back I believe that you might miss the big picture.
I myself created what I call my “Bible Bucket List” I hope to get through the entire Bible before I die. However if that is not to be then I have prayed to the Holy Spirit to guide me to which are the most important Books for me . Since the Dr. stamped my expiration date on me just after Easter, I chose as my first Book to read was Acts. I also read Revelation
As we must always pray to the Holy Spirit before reading scripture it makes sense to me to pray to the Holy Spirit before deciding on the order of scripture we read. If the Holy Spirit says read the Bible front to back then go for it.[BIBLEDRB][/BIBLEDRB]


That sounds like what we catholics do every day in mass.i.e OT/Psalms/NT/Gospel
I prefer to stick to this formula.Its less boring and makes much more sense because the daily readings chosen by the Church complement each other.However,it will take 3 years I think before finishing the whole Bible in this way.


While it’s true that we cover a great deal of the Bible in the three-year Sunday Mass cycle, it’s not the entire thing.

At daily Mass, we have a two year cycle that also covers a great deal of the Bible, but again, not every verse.

I also think it’s important to sit down and read whole books at a time, in order to understand the context of the readings at Mass - but I agree with you that pairing Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament events that they relate to is way cool. :slight_smile:


I’ve done that and it’s a very good idea! :thumbsup: You’ll learn of some verses you didn’t even know were in there, I certainly did. I just made up my mind one day that I should at least as a Christian read the whole Bible from front to back in order at least once, and I did. It was very interesting. I say do it. :thumbsup:


I agree with this, it made me understand things better by reading from cover to cover. Better than I understood before by just reading verses or books in no particular order. It took me more than 4 months though. :blush: But I did it. :slight_smile: It’s good to know that I have read every single verse in the Bible at least once.


I disagree with this, I did learn more by reading it from cover to cover and did get more understanding of things and context. More than I understood before. :slight_smile:


I 2nd this.


I also agree that the cover-to-cover approach can be tiring. I always got though Genesis and then stopped.

Mark Hart the “Bible Geek” recommends starting with one of the Gospels because there will be stories we are familiar with and it will be easier to read.


Agree with this. Getting the big picture is key. They Bible is a collection of 73 books. It is not one book with 73 chapters. You have to understand how the books relate to each other and the big picture to really be able to understand what you are reading. Most people who start get bored and lost in the detailed Levitical laws and ceremonies.


100% agree. As other posters have said, the Bible is not arranged in any type of narrative or Chronological order so you end up reading some books in the wrong time (in terms of which covenant, for instance) For example, reading straight through puts the Book of Job in the Davidic covenant. So the setting you see in your mind reflects this time period in history. The thing is Job happened just after the covenant with Abraham. Wait, that makes the setting and circumstances look different. Now we realize, when we read Job, it was not after 10 commandants, Egyptian captivity, desert wanderings, judges, and kings and after the kingdom divided; it was before all that. Makes a difference in our understanding.

The Ascension Press suggestion with the timeline and Salvation History were both great suggestions.

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