I’ve noticed two common mistakes when people begin to read the Bible for the first time.
One is starting with the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Before long, you’ll get lost in all the genealogies and come away saying, “The Bible is so boring.”
On the flip side, some of us start with the last book of the Bible—Revelation—and become so overwhelmed with what it says about end time events we say, “The Bible is so confusing.”
Permit me to offer some advice: where you start makes all the difference.
If you are not a Christian but interested in learning more, I recommend starting with the Gospel of John, the fourth book of the New Testament.
Out of all 66 books in the Bible, this one specifically says: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
Read a chapter a day but stay in that book for a month. Not only will it help you to see what Jesus Christ was like as He spoke and interacted with people, it will give you a greater understanding of the message God wants you to understand:
- We are all sinners.
- Christ died in our place and rose again.
- We receive His free gift of eternal life through trusting in Him.
As you read through John, do it with this simple prayer, “God help me understand the most important message you have for me.”
If you are a new believer, then I recommend starting with the book of Philippians in the New Testament. It is one of the simplest books of the entire Bible and discusses practical topics such as worry, hardships, priorities, and our thought life. It addresses life where the “shoe sole hits the sidewalk.”
Read one chapter a day. Philippians only has four chapters, so on the fifth day start over with Chapter one and continue reading for a month. By then you will have read it a minimum of seven times. But you’ll see things the second time you did not see the first and the fourth time that you did not see the third.
We cannot grow physically without physical food and we cannot grow spiritually without spiritual food. Knowing where to start in the Bible is key to not only growing but becoming familiar with God’s thoughts and the way they are expressed. Begin with John if you have not come to Christ or are uncertain of your relationship with Him, or Philippians if you’re already a Christian.