Reading the Bible is crucial for every Christian who desires growth in their Christian walk. But, reading the Bible is not as straightforward as reading a regular book because the Bible is made of 66 books divided into two sections- the old and the New Testament. That is why it is significant to have an order when reading. But what is the suggested order of reading the Bible?
The best way to read the Bible is to read both the new and the old Testaments simultaneously. You can read the New Testament in the Morning and the Old Testament in the evening. The New Testament start with the gospels, and the Old Testament, start with Genesis.
This article will discuss the suggested order of reading the new and the old testaments. Also, it will discuss whether you should read the Bible in chronological order and why it is not advisable to read it in random order. This article is written to help you read the Bible effectively, and you will learn the best order to do it.
What is the suggested order of reading the Old Testament?
The Old Testament contains 39 books; their arrangement does not necessarily mean that you should read them in that order. The best way to read the Old Testament is, to begin with the book of Genesis. The book of genesis Starts by explaining the origin of man and the origin of the Nation of Israel. It is crucial to start here because most Old Testament books talk about the nation of Israel, and without reading Genesis, you might be lost on most of the things the other books are talking about. I recommend reading the book of Genesis together with the book of Psalms. The book of Psalms will provide a good break from the narrative from Genesis.
After the book of Genesis, read the book of Exodus, Joshua, Judges 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1 and 2nd Chronicles, and 1st and 2nd Kings. These books provide a continuation of the story of the Nation of Israel that you began in the book of Genesis. According to Bible.org, reading the story of the nation of Israel in prose is exciting and helps you to understand what is going on. For instance, reading the book of Joshua before Exodus might confuse you because it is a continuation of a story that you would understand better if you understood its beginning. When reading these books, I would recommend that you combine them with the remaining part of Psalms and combine them with Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Combining them with those books gives you a good break.
Then, you can read the book of Esther, Job, Ruth, and Nehemiah. These books provide fascinating stories and offer great leadership lessons. The book of Esther is short and has variable lessons on prayer, humility, and the power of God to defend his people. It is an excellent break from the long story of the Nation of Israel. The same is for the book of Job, Nehemiah, and Ruth. You can read the four books in any order. You can combine the books with the book of Songs of Solomon. Songs of Solomon offers an interesting perspective on love and relationship, especially if you are married.
You can then read the major and minor prophets. I suggest you begin with Isaiah, then Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. The books provide prophecies, especially to the nation of Israel, and will help you to understand the events that took place in the story of the nation of Israel, as you had previously read. You can combine these prophecies with the book of Lamentation.
Finally, you can read all the minor prophets’ books in any order. The books include Jonah, Habakkuk, Hosea, Malachi, Amos, Joel, Obadiah, Zechariah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Haggai.
Finish with the boo of Deuteronomy because it is about the laws you have already read in other books of Moses.
What is the suggested order of reading the New Testament?
The New Testament is largely about Christ and the new believer. So, it is crucial, to begin with the Gospels so that you understand the life of Christ. The Gospels are Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke. According to ehope.org., the Gospel of John provides an easy perspective of the life of Christ and is easier to understand for a beginner. You can then choose to read the book of Mark, which is much shorter.
From the Gospels, read the book of Acts, which is a continuation of the gospels because it picks from the resurrection of Christ, the beginning of the church, and the spreading of the gospel. After the Acts, read the epistles of 1 John and James because they are short and easy to understand. Then read the other epistles beginning with Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
Finally, finish with more complex epistles, which include Hebrews, Peter, 2 and 3 John and Jude. Read Revelation as the last book because it is complex and may need more time (ehope.org).
Should you read the Bible in chronological order?
Reading the Bible in chronological order is crucial because it helps you understand the story better. Although many authors write the Bible, most of its stories are chronological. For instance, it would make more sense to read the book of Acts after the Gospels, especially if you are a beginner, because the two books have a chronological connection. Most people in the gospels are the same as in the book of acts.
Reading the Bible chronologically also helps you understand God, the main character in all the stories. God’s personality is revealed chronologically from the creation to the calling of Abraham, the deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt, and the coming and death of Christ.
Can you read the Bible in a random order?
It is not advisable to read the Bible in random order because it would not make much sense, especially if you are a first-time reader. Ethnos360 Bible Institute notes that God is revealed in a certain sequence throughout the Bible. Therefore, if you are reading the Bible for the first time, it is easy to miss out on many things if you don’t follow a certain sequence. However, if you have read the Bible previously, you can read it randomly, depending on the topic you want to grasp.
How many genres are the books in the Bible classified into?
The books of the Bible are divided into nine main genres. The genres are discussed below.
The law: the law genre consists of books written by Moses and includes Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The books are about the law of God. In these books, you will find the 619 laws given to the nation of Israel, including the ten commandments. The laws spell out how the nation of Israel was to conduct itself and how it was to worship God.
Historical books are books that talk about the history of humankind from creation and the history of the nation of Israel. The books explain how God created the earth and everything in it and how the nation of Israel originated from the calling of Abraham. Such books include Genesis, the first part of the exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First and second Samuel, first and second Kings, First and Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, and the book of acts. The books are written in a narrative form and are fascinating to read. They have an exciting story about the Nation of Israel.
Wisdom books: these books provide wisdom for everyday living. They contain all aspects of life, including time management, how to speak, relationship with others and God, grief, joy, and pride, among others. The books include Ecclesiastes, some parts of Psalms, and some parts of Proverbs. They will help you with reasoning and managing your emotions.
Poetry books consist of poetry from the Hebrew nation, written by prominent godly people. They have every aspect of modern poetry and are suitable for wisdom. They include a large part of Lamentation, Songs of Solomon, and Psalms.
Prophecy books: the prophecy books speak about the past, present, and future. They mostly predicted what was to come. The books include Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Micah, Obadiah, Amos, Joel, and Hosea. The books predict what would happen to the nation of Israel and about the coming of Jesus Christ. The book of Isaiah strongly predicted the coming of Christ and how he was to suffer and die.
Gospel: the gospel is a book about the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are four gospels: Mathew, Mark, John, and Luke. According to Into thy word, the gospel tells the same story but in a very different manner. Each gospel has its emphasis and brings a different perspective on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Epistles: there are 21 epistles, and all are in the New Testament. The epistles were written by different authors and to a specific congregation. Paul has written most of the epistles. The epistles include John, Peter, James, Hebrews, Philemon, Titus, Timothy, Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. According to Telling The Truth, the book of Revelation has an introduction that is epistle in nature. The introduction is written to various churches, just like in other epistles. The epistles guide believers into the truths of Jesus Christ and address various concerns in the congregation that need to be addressed.
Apocalyptic books: apocalyptic books provide a unique form of prophecy because it relates to the end of times or the end of the world. They provide a vivid account of what will happen at the end times. The books are Revelation and Daniel. Most people find it challenging to understand the books because the message is primarily given in symbols and imagery. The Seventh-day Adventist Church notes that books such as Matthew speak briefly about the end times in similar imagery and symbolism. For instance, Jesus said Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Matthew 24:29.
It is crucial to note that some scholars only include eight genres because poetry and wisdom books are classified as one genre. Others classify the prophecy and the apocalyptic genre as one.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.