Choose A Personality To Study
Another option is to choose a particular person to study, such as Paul, and spend time researching about that person. For example, if I was studying Paul, Id make notes about what his name meant, where he was born, where he was from, what do we know about his childhood, what major events happened in his life, etc.
Calling New And Old Christians Alike
Twelve disciples + 1 Messiah make for four fabulous Gospels. If youre new to the Bible, why not start at the beginning of the New Testament? Seasoned Christian? Its a solid review as well.
Allow the pages to flip to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Start at the beginning, and work your way to the end.
Jesus answered, The greatest is, Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. WEB
Facts About The Bible
- The Bible is split into two sections: the Old Testament & the New Testament.
- There are 66 books total. 39 in the Old. 27 in the New.
- The original language of the Old Testament was Hebrew and the New Testament Greek!
- The Bible was written by about 40 different people of different times & backgrounds.
- These people were used by the Holy Spirit to write all these words to use to lead us to God and through this life!
Okay I want to share a little more about the first fact because that was the biggest mind altering subject I dove into when I started reading the Bible.
God is the same throughout the entire Bible. You may be thinking Then why was He so violent in the Old Testament?
That is a deep question I am not going to answer today BUT we can still get more understanding of the differences.
In general, the Old Testament is more stories & the New Testament is more direct teachings.
The Old Testament can be more difficult to apply to your everyday life because it isnt as direct and when looking at context we realize many of those Old Testament laws dont apply to us after the cross.
BUT it is still important to study!
You know why?
Because you learn more about WHO God is throughout the entire Bible. You cant pick and choose what to focus on.
I dont recommend ONLY spending time studying the New Testament.
I am not saying to ONLY study the Old Testament either.
I believe you need to find a balance because God will use both sections to teach and lead you.
Read Also: Chronological Order Of Bible Books
Example: How To Start Bible Study
One example is John 4:1-2: Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John .
If I was relaying the basic story, I would have just said Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard he was baptizing and making more disciples than John. The fact that the author adds though Jesus himself didnt baptize them means that theres something important there.
I did some Googling/research and it turns out that thats actually a really important note! It seems like Jesus didnt perform water baptisms so that no Christian could lord their status over another, because we are all of equal status in Christ . By paying attention to what stands out, Im able to notice little details that I wouldnt if I just looked at the big picture.
With A Bible Reading Program
There are many different Bible reading programs, and some of the most popular ones are read-the-Bible-in-a-year programs. These programs are generally designed to provide variety by taking readers to various books in the Old and New Testament every day or week. If you crave variety and enjoy reading several books at the same time in a structured way, this may be for you.
On the other hand, if you have a one-track mind and would find keeping track of your progress in several books challenging, many of these programs may not fit you well. Find a program that covers one book at a time.
- Dont just read for speed. Finishing the Bible in a year is an admirable goal, but making time to think about what you are reading is important too.
- But dont feel you have to understand everything the first time through. If you are new to reading the Bible and unfamiliar with its history and customs, recognize that everything may not be totally clear. You can write down your main questions and plan to study them in more detail. This website provides many resources that can help.
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So Many Versions Of The Bible Which One Should I Use
Since it is unlikely that youll begin reading the Bible in its original languages , pick any version of the English Bible to start with.
The Bible is Gods Word to us, and He will use it to speak to you, no matter which version you choose.
The technicalities of the translation process can seem like Greek, so suffice to say that major Bible translations differ mainly between a meaning-for-meaning and word-for-word translation.
Some examples of word-for-word translation include the English Standard Version and the New King James Version these aim to preserve the original order of the text in English. In contrast, the New Living Translation is a meaning-for-meaning translation where the focus is on rendering the idea of the text most accurately. Two versions the New International Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible fall somewhere in between.
Pro tip:It is common to use different translations to gain a better understanding of the particular verse you are reading. or Amplified Bible are good options, and this website, BibleHub, shows close to 20 translations for every verse.)
A Brief Bible Overview
Before we get to the oldest book in the Bible here is a brief overview and for some of you a very quick refresher of the Bible. The Bible is not just one book, it is sixty-six books written by forty different authors over a period of approximately 1500 years. These men were from various walks of life and wrote as the Spirit of God enabled them. While most of the later writers were familiar with the earlier works, especially the law or Pentateuch, many of them did not know each other nor did they have access to what the others wrote. This is why the accuracy and consistency of Scripture truly point to the hand of God. No other book could be compiled in such a manner and have the agreement the Bible does. This is just one small piece of evidence of the Bible being Gods Word. This information however now brings us back to the question of this article, mainly what is the oldest book in the Bible?
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How Should I Study The Bible
The best method to learn materials is to quickly skim or read like a novel, then study everything a second time, finally reread in a regular repeating pattern that covers the entire bible. Heres a suggested order of reading:
Read the epistles the most. Read the Gospels the next most. Then, in order of frequency, I recommend Psalms, Prophets, Proverbs, the books of Moses , and least often the history books.
Everything in the Bible is important, but this type of order will build up foundational knowledge and understanding the quickest.
What I Learned From Reading The Bible In A Year
Since reading the Bible in its entirety in 2021, Ive found a new rhythm for Bible study. Im now much more comfortable picking up the text every day. Sometimes I use a commentary or guide alongside. I pray, I read, and then I reflect in the margins or on a post-it.
What I love about writing in my Bible as I learn is that the text becomes like a conversation between me and God, where I can record my thoughts and questions, and where God is speaking to me in my life and learnings. The physical Bible becomes a record of my spiritual growth, as well.
Recommended Reading: Do Not Dwell In The Past Bible
A Guide For New Or Non
When believers and non-believers ask me where to begin to read the Bible, my recommendation is my own personal preference. Others may give you other books to start with in reading the Bible. I would recommend that they do not start in the book of Revelation or in Genesis and start reading it through from start to finish. For a seasoned Christian, reading through the Bible is an excellent learning tool but for a new believer, it can be cumbersome and confusing. Revelation is difficult to understand, so for a beginner to start out in that book is asking for confusion and mistranslation of the verses since much of it is written in symbolic language. Here is a preferred order for a new believer or a non-Christian who wants to start to read and understand the Bible:
John emphasises the love of God as found in Jesus Christ
The Gospel of John
Now where you go from there is wherever you like. I suggest that you repeat the four gospels at this point because you can never go wrong with the very teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. And the book of Mark, written by John Mark, is actually what can be termed as the gospel of Peter since most theologians agree that the Gospel of Mark is actually the work of Peter. The words represent Peters eyewitness accounts as transcribed by John Mark. Remember that John Mark was not an apostle and was never a witness to the living Christ while on earth or the resurrected Christ and that by definition is what makes one an apostle.
Pauls Letter To The Romans
Another good place is St Pauls letter to the Romans. Here Paul explains the human condition and our inability by our own efforts or by observing the law to live up to Gods perfect standard that is Jesus Christ.
He explains how Jesus death and resurrection brought about our freedom from sin and death, as well as emphasising that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ alone and not our works.
For a new Christian wanting to gain a better understanding of the basics of the Christian faith, Romans is an excellent place to start. It cuts straight to the point and explains everything systematically. If you didnt fully understand the significance of certain events in the gospel, Romans sheds light on that.
From there on, you can progress to the other letters such as 1 and 2 Corinthians, or jump about to Galatians, Ephesians or Phlippians.
I would definitely recommend reading through all the New Testament letters to get started, but beginning with Romans to understand the central message of the gospel.
Read Also: Pray Without Ceasing Means
Look Up Words You Dont Know The Meaning
One of the biggest reasons people stumble with Bible study theyre not sure of the meaning of all the words. Thats ok! Instead of wondering about a word, try using the dictionary feature of Biblegateway.com. This will help you better understand the words or discover what it means in relation to the culture of the time.
Top 10 Studies On Books Of The Bible
Topical studies are great for honing in on what the Bible says about a particular issue. However, nothing beats studying an entire book of the Bible to get the intent of the original writer. When you read an entire book, you understand the context of the verses, and study it in the way it was originally meant to be learned.
Our Bible studies on whole books of the Bible are our most popular studies. You can find all of these studies in one place, but these are your 10 favorite studies:
10. Romans: Extreme Makeover of the Soul
Have you ever wondered what kind of person you would be if you lived up to your potential? Have you ever wondered what God had in mind when he made you in the first place? Have you ever wondered if this life is really worth all the pain and heartache? God wants to make us into new peoplean extreme makeover of the soul, something we cannot do on our own. Our extreme makeover begins when God justifies us through faith in Jesus Christ, freeing us from our past, securing our future, and initiating God’s transforming work in our lives. The great news is that it is his work, not just ours. He gives us his Holy Spirit to guide and empower us through each step of growth.
9. Colossians: Against the Tide
8. Joshua: Journey of a Faith Walker
7. Job: God Is in Charge
6. The Beatitudes: Happiness Is a Serious Business
5. Psalms: Managing Our Emotions
4. The Gospel in Genesis
3. James: Living the Christian Life 24/7
2. Ephesians: You Are God’s Masterpiece
Recommended Reading: Do Not Be Afraid Bible Verses 365
Use A Bible Study Method To Illuminate Gods Word
You dont have to be overwhelmed when reading the Bible! While you may not understand everything you read, the study methods below will make it simple and convenient to process your time in Gods Word. Plus, the more you read and draw near to the heart of God, the more He will reveal Himself to you.
As a total beginner, the Read & Respond Bible study method worked well for me. It allowed me to process what I read and think through how I could apply it to my life.
Plus, its practical enough to squeeze into a busy schedule. If you have 10 minutes in your day, this Bible study method can work for you!
Watch how simple the Read & Respond method can be in the tutorial video:
As I matured in faith, I was looking for a study method that went a little deeper into the passage and helped me dissect the meaning. The Write the Word study method was a perfect solution, and I enjoyed taking this next step to grow in faith.
Watch the Write the Word tutorial here:
The Best Order To Read The Bible For The First Time
Now I am not going to make a blanket statement and say you HAVE to read this book first and then give you an order.
I am going to give you a few different book ideas since its your first time reading the Bible.
If you dont want options and are just ready to be told where to start reading the Bible, Ive made a seven day video course just for you. Join right here!
Go check your email now!
Before that lets dive into a few facts about the Bible so you can understand the book a little better.
Recommended Reading: What God Says About Loneliness
Dont Be Afraid To Ask Questions
The only way youll understand Gods Word is if you ask questions.
You probably wouldnt be reading this if you are a theology expert so I am going to assume you arent really sure about the Bible.
Its complicated, weird and difficult to understand. It seems archaic and irrelevant. Its intimidating.
Dont fear not knowing and understanding. Its the best place to start.
Youve got to ask questions. If you really want to understand the Bible you do what you do in class and ask questions.
Then look for answers.
Gods Word has a lot to offer and it requires you to dig in and dig deep.
Promise me youll ask questions!
What Is The Best Translation For Beginners
Many people wonder what version of the Bible a beginner should use, and heres my short answer: The best Bible translation for you is the one youll actually use.
For example, I could tell you that many people insist on only using the KJV, but if the KJV seems like a foreign language to you , then you probably wont stick with studying it.
There are many solid english translations to choose from. A good starting point for some beginners is the NIV, since its fairly easy to read and uses more modern words we tend to use in our everyday life. You may also want to consider an ESV which is a more literal translation. The more literal the translation, the better option it is for studying.
When my husband first began studying his many Bible years ago, he loved the Amplified Bible, which adds synonyms to help you understand the meaning of certain words as you read. Today, he finds the NASB to be his version of choice. Truly, choose the one that suits your current reading style and aligns closely with your comprehension level.
I do have one caution to make here: Some people use The Message as their Bible of choice. Note that The Message is not necessarily a version of the Bible, but rather a paraphrase of it. While it might be sufficient for casual reading, I personally dont recommend using it for focused Bible study.
Also Check: What Is The Chronological Order Of The Bible
How Can I Study The Bible Daily
Using this guide, you will read the Bible daily, and you will always be inspired to read more! This is another reason why this method is the best order to read the Bible for the first time. This is what the plan will help you do:
The First Quarter
- You will read from the Old Testament and from the New Testament every day.
- Beginning in , you will read about Adam, Abraham, and Job. Read all about the story of Jacob and Joseph. Furthermore, find out everything you want to know about the birth of Christ, Christs youth, and how He started his ministry.
- Then, in , you will read about how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus. You will be right there as God gives the Law to His chosen people. Likewise, you will read about how Jesus selected His 12 disciples and about how he trained them for the ministry.
- Read all about the preparations for the Tabernacle in In addition, you will experience its actual construction! Learn about the offerings and about the religious observances of the nation of Israel. Be there as Jesus feeds 4,000 and 5,000 and then as Jesus is transfigured on the mountain!
The Second Quarter
And the year is only half over! Were sure you can already see why this is the best order to read the Bible for the first time. You will learn even more about the Bible in the second half of the year.