Hello all. I’m new here and not quite sure if this question belongs here or not, so I’ll ask it here anyway.

I’m a new Catholic and I was wondering about the differences between the Testaments. I’m currently reading the New Testament since it is the only one available to me, but I was wondering if I should read the Old Testament first? Or is it just kind of a ‘one instead of the other’ kind of thing?

Thanks in advance.


Both Testaments are the Word of God, and both should be read. It is difficult to have an understanding of the New Testament without having an understanding of the Old Testament as a background. It is possible to study both, in small steps, and throughout the New Testament you will find constant reference to the Old Testament.

I am not a Bible scholar, so I have found that a Bible with a good commentary helps to understand the New Testament in the light of the Old. One such Bible that has been very helpful to me, as a non-scholar, has been the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible with commentary by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. It is the New Testament published in individual books (but I am not sure it is complete yet, and the Old Testament is not yet done) and there are plenty of references and explanations.

I have also taken courses at my church where an overview of the Bible, both Testaments, was given, which was helpful. Look around online for Catholic Bible Studies, and see if you can find one to help you. Many people on these forums have studied the Bible extensively and may have good suggestions.


I have a question regarding Bible Studies. Im a new Catholic also. Ive been reading and teaching myself the Bible and I believe I am ready for a real teacher. However I am having a difficult time finding a Catholic Church that has Bible Studies. Can someone shed some light on this for me?


Have you called the parishes to see if there is a group or not? It may not be advertised in the bulletin.

I think one should generally start with the New Testament, despite the Old Testament coming first. Read a Gospel. One should read both Testaments of course, and the Old Testament is perhaps under read and not sufficiently understood in these times.

One should also purchase some good Catholic works to help in understanding the scriptures, some of the works of the saints, and so forth. You can find some commentaries online for free, such as Lapide’s on the New Testament on archive.org, and the Haydock commentary.

Tan Books has some good materials.


The Old Testament begins at the very beginning - the Creation story. It follows the actions of the Iraelites until the time of Christ. The New Testament introduces Christ and contains letters to the Early Church by the Apostles. I would recomend reading the New Testament first as it contains the salvation message. Read the Old Testament after that. The whole thing is important.


I would say that reading the New Testament first is what you would want to do anyway, then the Old Testament - but not necessarily in the order it is in. I think I’d want to read Psalms next, then probably Genesis and Exodus, then the prophets next. I’ve done it in order but didn’t get as much from it as I would have gotten otherwise.:shrug:


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