One of the most essential things to note is that the Bible is not a solitary text that was written from start to finish. It is a collection of writings by different authors that have been organized in a way that gathers similar books together. For this reason, reading it cover to cover may not be the best approach. The following is a suggested order to reading the Bible, that may lend to a better understanding of what you’re reading. It will also give a sampling of each kind of biblical writing: Historical narrative, wisdom, psalms, prophecy, apocalyptic, gospel, and epistles.
Note: Reading the Bible should be done at your own pace to provide time for reflection and prayer. Some readers can handle large sections of Scripture at one sitting, where others need to digest reading the Bible at a much more contemplative pace. There is no right or wrong speed at which to read the Bible.
The first four books of the New Testament are often referred to as “The Gospels.” It is recommended that you should begin reading the book of John, as it introduces our need for salvation. The other Gospels give great details about Jesus’ life on earth. So, next you should read Matthew, Mark and Luke. Reading in this order tends to lend to a more thorough understanding of the events of Jesus life as well as the background events that each writer reveals.
The next section of Bible reading and study is often referred to as the Epistles. These writings give direction for how to live the Christian life. Their high-practical nature is attractive to many believers because they are books that tend to be easily applied to life. The Epistles for recommended reading at this point in your journey are James, Colossians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Romans.
Old Testament Readings
There are sections of the Old Testament that would be helpful to read after you’ve read some of the Epistles. The order suggested is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Genesis details how God created the world and man’s first encounter with sin and its eternal impact. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy may be challenging to read and understand at this point, but are essential as they provide all the laws God required of the Israelite people in order to live in covenant relationship with Him. They can be tedious and complicated to read through, but these laws are important to be aware of, as they provide an important background for understanding God’s provision of Jesus Christ, a way for His people to have a New Covenant relationship with Him.
Next are two books that are great examples of biblical poetry & wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs. After Proverbs, it would be helpful to read some prophetic books such as Jonah, Daniel chapters 1-6 and Isaiah.
Enjoy reading and studying the Bible. Remember to consult good solid Bible sources when you encounter passages that are difficult for you.
We at Peace Church are praying for you. We are praying that God will use this to be the time you connect with God’s Word in a new and fresh way. We pray that the Holy Spirit of God will open your mind and your heart and grant you an understanding of His Word and guide you to applying it your life. Our Pastor and staff here at Peace are here for you. So, along your journey, please contact us and let us know how we can help.