Read the Bible...where to start?

A while back I tried to do the whole “Read the Bible in Two Years” but it didn’t really work out and I gave up.

Now I find this urge to pick up my Bible and read! But where to start? I’ve heard a Christian pastor, Greg Laurie, suggest to start with the Gospel of John then read the other Gospels, Acts, and the rest of the NT and learn the NT before going onto the OT. I like this idea, because I really would love to gain insight and knowledge on the NT, especially the Epistles.

So where should I start? I was thinking, read one chapter of a Gospel and one Chapter of an Epistle daily. What do you think? Which ones should I start with?

Thanks! God bless!

(I will be using a NRSV-CE Youth Bible with notes, if that makes any difference)

You could just follow the daily Mass readings?

Maybe you could simply trust the simple order of the Gospels and Epistles as they are arranged, rather than be complicated. No doubt the Church had her reasons for arranging these writings as they are. The main thing is to read them quietly and reflectively,
invoking, and trusting in the Holy Spirit.

yeah as a starting point but they dont cover the entire Bible

Can I ask a silly question… why not start at the beginning? :blush: I know there must be a good reason, just don’t know what it is.

I’ve tried starting from the beginning and it didn’t work. From what I’ve read, most people who start cover to cover lose interest half way through Deuteronomy or Numbers.

Plus, I want to learn more about Jesus’s ministry and teachings and that of the early Church leaders.

I like the part where no one answered your question… :doh2:

Well, the truth is, you can start anywhere you want. As Christians it is important for us to read the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament to be more intimately connected with Christ. That being said it is also very important to have at least a general sense of the old testament to understand some of what the NT is talking about. The NT is a fulfillment of the OT.

I started like you did, I wanted to read the bible from front to back. Bad idea, I couldn’t wait any longer after Leviticus. But, the good thing is that in reading the Pentateuch (first five books) I was able to understand the origins of salvation history and better comprehend the NT. You have probably already gotten through those first few books and have a general knowledge of the OT already so, I would say go straight for the Gospel of Mark. Here is why: Mark is the smallest of the Gospels. To me, it seems like a short summary of the life of Jesus. Then, move onto Matthew. Matthew is very similar to Mark and a little longer. It seems to elaborate on what Mark wrote. Then, move to John. John ads more to the story, we learn more about Jesus as a person and it emphasizes what the gospels before it spoke of. Finally I would say read Luke because Luke, like John, ads more to the story but, also, flows nicely into Acts because I believe Acts was written as a sort of sequel to Luke. And from Acts you just continue in order. Of course, any way is just as good as the next.

“I was thinking, read one chapter of a Gospel and one Chapter of an Epistle daily.”

Sounds good to me. If you feel inspired to learn more about any book of the bible in particular, it is always wise to go and read it. If you start to read and feel lost, go back a book or two and start from there.

However you do it, just make sure you do it :slight_smile: Ignorance in the Bible is ignorance in Christ!:thumbsup:

God bless!

There are 14 narrative books which tell the story of “salvation history”…start with those so it will read like a story. Many of the books in the OT are supplemental books for the different periods of history. If your church offers the Great Adventure Bible Adventure…take it. It will make “salvation history” come alive for you:)

The narratative books are:

Genesis
Exodus
Numbers
Judges
1 Samuel
11 Samuel
1 Kings
11 Kings
Ezra
Nehemiah
1 Maccabees
11 Maccabees (same info but different stories)
Luke
Acts

Trishie said:
Maybe you could simply trust the simple order of the Gospels and Epistles as they are arranged, rather than be complicated. No doubt the Church had her reasons for arranging these writings as they are. The main thing is to read them quietly and reflectively,
invoking, and trusting in the Holy Spirit.

SalesianSDB said:
I’ve tried starting from the beginning and it didn’t work. From what I’ve read, most people who start cover to cover lose interest half way through Deuteronomy or Numbers.
Plus, I want to learn more about Jesus’s ministry and teachings and that of the early Church leaders

*Actually I have to throw my hat in the ring with Trishie. I went with the Precept Ministries way of reading the Bible,…book by book and along with that I came across an article written by an older gentleman years ago and he had read his Bible multiple times. He said that the reason that we don’t finish the Bible is because we are reading way too slow. Check your reading time,…if you are reading less than 200 words a minute then you are reading too slow and you will lose interest in no time. And, also, he said that we need to concentrate on each book one at a time.

I tried what he said and I read my Bible in 6 months, cover to cover, and had learned more than I ever had learned before!

I think what it boils down to is whether or not we REALLY WANT to read the Bible,…or are we wanting something else entirely?
Salesian, it doesn’t sound like you are sold on “reading the Bible.” What you really want to do is; *

“I want to learn more about Jesus’s ministry and teachings and that of the early Church leaders.”

*So if that is your real interest, then go for that. I can tell you from my own experience that we will only complete what we really want to complete. :yup:

DesertSister62*

=SalesianSDB;6931921]A while back I tried to do the whole “Read the Bible in Two Years” but it didn’t really work out and I gave up.

Now I find this urge to pick up my Bible and read! But where to start? I’ve heard a Christian pastor, Greg Laurie, suggest to start with the Gospel of John then read the other Gospels, Acts, and the rest of the NT and learn the NT before going onto the OT. I like this idea, because I really would love to gain insight and knowledge on the NT, especially the Epistles.

So where should I start? I was thinking, read one chapter of a Gospel and one Chapter of an Epistle daily. What do you think? Which ones should I start with?

Thanks! God bless!

(I will be using a NRSV-CE Youth Bible with notes, if that makes any difference)

I strongly suggest starting with the New Testamant for he following reasons:

The surest way to get discouraged is to try to wade through the OT

The NT is the perfection an FULLFILMENT of the OT, so reading it first will add meaning to the OT text.

We are naturally more comfortable with the NT

READ the footnotes on all passages that sem unclear to you.

When reading th OT we ough to be looking for events that lead to the NT [it keps it more interesting].

Good luck. It is well worth the effort!

That’s a pretty cool strategy, one that I think I am going to follow. So thanks!

In general, I like you’re idea of reading one chapter of a Gospel and one chapter of an Epistle daily. That seems like a good balance. Even if you read one book at a time, alternating between gospels and epistles in some way makes a lot of sense.

Note that some of the writings hang together with some of the gospels, so you might want to treat them differently. Luke and Acts were originally one longer book. So I would suggest reading Acts right after you finish Luke. Also, I, II, and III John are related to the Gospel according to John, so you might want to read the gospel first, then the letters. Hope I didn’t complicate your reading plan too much.

If you intend to read the whole bible, there are some pretty good reading plans available online. The most straightforward is to read one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament daily. It will take a couple of years to work your way through the entire Old Testament, but there’s no need to rush.

Reading the daily readings from the liturgy is a decent approach, but you wouldn’t read all of the bible that way (or even all of the New Testament), since not all parts of the Bible are used in the liturgical readings.

If you are having a hard time working your way through the Old Testament, it helps to have a few handy commentaries to help you navigate the text. Personally, I have always felt that to truly understand the mission and salvation of Christ, you need to have a firm grounding in the Old Testament before you move on to looking at the Old Testament.

at ewtn.com in the document library, you will find two long articles that you can download for free.

  1. the interpretation of the bible in the church, by the pontifical biblical commission. it helps to know in advance what this document says. It covers the different ways of analyzing and understanding scripture, and comes up finding them all lacking. So, it says just read the bible with a good commentary nearby. That’s the upshot of the 115 pages.

  2. an equally difficult document to read, but one which is a lot more insightful, is the jewish people and their scriptures, by the pontifical biblical commission. This tells us that the old testament is really very important, without which the new testament makes almost no sense. It’s really just an introduction to the subject of the importance of the old testament, but you get a good bunch of information here.

I like the answer in post #8. But, I would add, use a study bible, even a good protestant study bible, like the niv (new international version) study bible.

I don’t care for the advice to speed read the bible. I miss too much as it is. There’s really a lot there.

I suggest setting a goal of reading the Bible in maybe 10 years. But, do it carefully and see what each book is contributing.

Another starting point if you don’t like the advice so far. Read the new testament letter of James, especially chapter one. It has very practical christian advice. Start organizing your daily experiences into trials and temptations. In general, trials change into temptations too quickly. It’s good practical advice for life in general, not just our christian walk, to not let trials overwhelm us. If you can recognize that something is just another trial, you may be able to overcome the temptations that quickly follow.

For example, reading the Old Testament quickly becomes a trial because it seems that there is so much obsolete and irrelevant. It quickly becomes a temptation to stop reading the bible altogether. I have a Jewish commentary on Genesis which is almost 500 pages. There are truly a lot of things to note in Genesis. And, I’ve read books that even expand on that commentary. That’s just the literal sense of reading Genesis.

There’s something to be said for reading the shorter books of the Bible. There’s plenty of longer books in the bible. Give yourself a treat and read a couple short ones, too.
The book of Ruth is a very inspirational book and one that may leave you hanging with a lot of questions, too. It’s only 76 verses but it covers years of times.

I have a Jewish commentary on Genesis which is almost 500 pages.

Crumpy - Just out of curiosity, which commentary?

I also have several Jewish commentaries, as well as Catholic and Protestant, on hand when reading the Old Testament. It really helps me to understand the context and historical meaning of a very complex, and somewhat archaic text. A good commentary brings the story alive, and helps you to navigate difficult reading waters.

This is excellent advice!!:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Its actually a good question.
The answer is, that most people, especially those who have not formed a habit of regular Bible study, will get as far as Leviticus (all:hypno: Israelite law codes) or Numbers (mostly a :ouch:census report of the ancient Israelites), and give it up as a bad job…and there goes the idea of reading the Bible.:sad_yes:
So, it is better (at least at first, and maybe for some time thereafter) to read portions of the Bible with a little more action in them). Since we are Christian, the Gospels are the logical place to start.

Later on, there are any number of reading plans to get you through the entire Bible. But to start out, you need to :yup:learn more about Christ, and follow that with the Letters (Epistles) of His earliest followers.:yup:

Check out Jeff Cavins “Great Adventure” Bible study. He takes you through the Bible chronologically. If you just start reading you’re going to hit the skids about half way through Numbers.

Thank you for the explanation!:thumbsup:

I use the Jewish Publication Society JPS Commentary on Genesis by Nahum Sarna.

They are online and have a 40% off sale for another day or so.

Is there a rule about reading Protestant Bible translations, especially when reading the NT?

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