A regular bible has 66 books divided into New and Old Testaments. Although the books are interdependent, and some are a continuation of others, each book is unique and can be read independently. With so many unique but interdependent books and many wonders, where should I start reading the Bible?
The Got Question Ministries suggest that one should start to read the Bible, beginning with the gospels. There are four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospels are about the life of Jesus while he was on earth. John is the simplest of the gospels, and as a beginner, it would be advisable to begin here.
In this article, we will discuss what you should focus on when you read the Bible as a beginner, how to establish a routine for reading the Bible, and why the new testament is an excellent place to start reading the Bible. We will also see why you should read the gospel according to John as a beginner and what you should read after the gospel books. Keep reading!
What should I focus on when I read the Bible as a beginner?
The Got Question Ministries note that the Bible focuses on Jesus. As such, a beginner should always focus on what the Bible says about Jesus and what Jesus says about himself. Making the focus on Jesus ensures that you get the entire gist of the Bible. Focusing on Jesus enables you to get the reason for the stories in the Bible. The old and the new testaments have many books and stories, and it is easy to get lost when you do not know what you are following ought to follow. Focusing on Jesus is not limited to the gospel but on the typologies of Jesus and the prophecies about him in the Old Testament.
Secondly, focusing on what the Bible says about you is crucial. As much as the Bible is a ‘cradle of Christ’ as noted by Martin Luther, it is also a map of humanity, especially for the believer. The Bible talks about a believer as much as it does about Christ. The purpose of reading the Bible is to know Christ and to know who you are in him. Focusing on what the Bible says about you helps you understand who you are and allows your mind to conform not according to tot the patterns of the word but according to the patterns of God, as Paul urges in Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what that good and acceptable and perfect will of God is. As you read the Bible, focusing on yourself helps your mind change and be fully transformed.
How to establish a routine for reading the Bible
Establishing a routine is essential in becoming a consistent reader of the Bible. It is crucial not only to establish a routine but to establish a strong one. Bible for America organization notes that reading the Bible differs from other books. There’s a different motivation for reading the Bible than reading a novel or a newspaper. Since the books are many and the Bible is long, you need to establish a routine to ensure that you are consistent and motivated.
To begin with, you need to pray for the hunger for the word of God. An appetite for the word keeps you desiring to hear more about what God is saying in his word. Most people who get demotivated along the way are that their drive is not anchored on hunger to hear from God.
Setting a definite time to read the Bible is crucial in establishing a routine. We live in a hectic world, and the 24 hours of the day are sometimes not enough to accomplish all that we need. We must therefore ensure that we set time for something we must do. Got Question Ministries recommends reading the Bible early or before you begin your day’s work. You can also schedule during lunchtime and evening, especially if you want to read the Bible more than once daily.
Also, reading the Bible consecutively motivates you to maintain the routine. Reading sequentially means reading the chapters from the first to the last. Do not skip a chapter. The practice makes reading exciting and ensures you understand. Note that the Bible was not initially divided into chapters or verses. It was continuous prose. Therefore, following the chapters consecutively ensures that you know.
Be disciplined for the first 66 days. Ensures you do not miss a day for the first 66 days when you begin. Katherine R. Arlinghaus, MS, RD, and Craig A. Johnston, Ph.D., studied the importance of creating habits and routines. They found out that within an average of 66 days, habits became automatic for the participants. After the first 66 days or less, you will have a permanent bible reading routine that will be hard to break.
Why is the New Testament an excellent place to start reading the Bible?
The New Testament is an excellent place to start reading the Bible for two significant reasons. First, the Old Testament points to Christ, who appears in the New Testament. The Old Testament is Christ hidden, but the New Testament is Christ revealed. It is easier to understand the Bible by starting from the revelation of Christ. Note that although the Old Testament is about Christ, it requires an experienced bible scholar to understand Christ in the Old Testament. Glen Scrivener, a professional bible scholar, notes that the Old Testament consists of patterns about Christ. Understanding such patterns may be difficult, and you may find it overwhelming to understand Christ amidst all the stories in the Old Testament.
When you read the Bible beginning from the New Testament, you will likely see the patterns about him in the Old Testament. For instance, you will see Jesus in the Story of Noah’s ark, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and Joseph’s story of betrayal and rise as a ruler, among others. Additionally, the New Testament, especially the Gospels, is straightforward as they do not have a lot of imagery and symbolism. For instance, the book of Genesis, Daniel, Isaiah, and many others in the Old Testament may present a significant challenge because of their high symbolism.
Why should you read the gospel according to John as a beginner?
As a beginner, you should begin reading the gospel of John. A scholar describes the gospel according to John as simple. This is because John focused a lot on what Christ said about himself. It defines Christ according to his own words. It is, therefore, interesting to hear Jesus talk about himself, and it is also easier to understand when a person talks about himself rather than what is reported.
According to John, the second aspect of the gospel that makes it preferable over the others is that it clearly defines the relationship between Christ and humans. It is incredible how John was able to show how the life of Christ described the relationship between man and the divine. This is the relationship every believer, now and in history, has tried to define. Therefore, you should begin where the relationship between humans and the divine is easiest to understand.
What should you read after the gospel books of the Bible?
After reading the gospel, the book of Acts should be next. It is a fascinating account of what happened after the resurrection and accession of Christ. The book of Acts also accounts for the first people to become Christian. It provides a unique understanding of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the conduct of the first church, especially in spreading the gospel.
The book of 1 John and James should follow because they are short and easy to understand. You can then read the book of Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1 and 2nd Chronicles, and 1st and 2nd Kings. The books give you a chronological account of creation and the formation of the nation of Israel.
Finally, you can read the epistles of Paul, beginning with Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, Galatians, Philemon, Thessalonians, and 1st and 2nd Corinthians. You can read the rest of the book of the Old Testament in any order. Finish with the book of revelation.
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.