People often ask me, “where should I start reading the Bible?”
This is a good question because the Bible is not one book, it has 66 books. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
But the question remains, where should you begin? At the first book of the Bible, Genesis? Or should you begin in one of the Gospels in the New Testament?
I want to give you my top 5 Bible books to read if you are starting to read the Bible for the first time. I will list them in my order, give you a little overview and then tell you why I think it’s a good place to start.
Feel free to jump down the list. But I believe that once you finish reading these 5 books, you will have a new grasp on this wonderful book God has given to us.
1. The Gospel of John in the New Testament
Why this Gospel? John is doing something pretty significant. He is telling us why Jesus came and how His coming to earth has an eternal effect on all of us.
If you want to understand the Mission of Jesus, John lays that out for you in a very nice manner. John tells us the purpose of his Gospel in John 20:30-31.
John is a great book for someone new in the faith or exploring Christianity. He gives us some of the basic teachings of Jesus and places the emphasis on His mission to earth.
John, the author of the Gospel, wrote so that his readers would place their trust in Jesus as Savior and find eternal life.
2. The Book of Genesis is the First Book of the Bible
Genesis is a great book to get a feel for how God laid out a plan for humanity. We see the four great events; the Creation, the Fall of Man, the Flood and the Tower of Babel in Genesis 1-11.
In Genesis 12-50, We meet the lineage of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. There are many references to the book of Genesis all through the rest of the Bible. Reading the book of Genesis will give you context to many of the New Testament concepts.
Don’t read Genesis 1-11 as a science book, it’s not intended to be that. Genesis shows us that God created a perfect place of imperfect people and how He would lay out a plan for their salvation.
Genesis is a good second book because it gets you into the Old Testament and begins to lay a foundation to help you better understand the rest of the Bible.
3. The Book of Psalms
The book of Psalms is a great book to help us understand how we are to relate to God. How should we pray? Read the Psalms. What is God like? Read the Psalms. What if I’m going through a difficult time? Read the Psalms.
Psalms is experiential literature, it’s poetic and emotive. You might find the book of Psalms to be one of your favorite books because it gives wisdom and you can relate to the writers.
David, Solomon and others wrote these Psalms during different times in their lives. They wrote when they were happy, they wrote when they were depressed, they reflected on their lives, they wrote when people were trying to kill them.
The Gospel of John and Genesis are historical narrative, they give us history with a purpose. The Book of Psalms is experiential, it speaks to the struggles and joys of our hearts.
4. The Gospel of Luke
Luke wrote a very accurate account of the Life of Jesus. In the book of Luke, he begins with the birth of Jesus. You will see the miracles of Jesus, the parables of Jesus, and the crucifixion of Jesus. You will see how Jesus put together his band of apostles.
Luke also wrote the book of Acts, which continues the story of Jesus and His Church. Luke was a doctor and historian, but not like our modern day historians.
Luke was giving us an accurate account of Jesus for the purpose that we would place our trust in Him. If you ever wanted to walk with Jesus and see Him as He walked this earth, the Gospel of Luke will help you appreciate all of Jesus and His ministry and mission.
5. The Book of Exodus
The Book of Exodus takes place 400 years after the end of the Book of Genesis. We find the nation of Israel suffering as slaves in Egypt. God calls a man named Moses to lead His people into the Promised Land.
The people are rebellious and so they are taken on a 40 year detour in the wilderness. Moses struggles to lead them, wanting to pull his hair out almost on a daily basis. Finding food and water is a struggle. God speaks to Moses on a mountain, giving him the 10 Commandments.
Exodus is an important book because, as with Genesis, it lays out an important historical basis for the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament. You will find many of the New Testament stories come to life because Jesus makes reference to the book on a regular basis.
There you go, that should get you started in your quest to become a better Bible student. Some might question my choices, but most people would include most of the books I have listed.
So why not get out by the pool, or on your deck with a nice cup of coffee, or a cold iced tea and begin a journey to discover the wealth of wisdom God has given to you.
By the way, here is a good link that gives you a short overview of every book in the Bible.