5 Books of the Bible to Read First

Updated: Feb 14

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 continue