Have you ever wanted to read the Bible, but you feel as if you have no idea where to start? After all, there are 66 books within the Bible, and each one is unique yet part of a larger cohesive whole. Some may say just start at Genesis since it’s the first book and read straight through... Well, reading the Bible cover to cover could feel like a daunting task which may have you feeling overwhelmed before you ever get started. Others say start at Revelation because that’s an interesting book found at the end… Without proper context, the symbolism and images alone may leave you more confused than ever before. So what should you do? Here are a few things to consider before you attempt to dive head first into the Bible…
The Bible is a story.
This means there are characters, twists and turns, a hero, a villain, and an overarching story line. The main thing you need to know is that the Bible is all about Jesus. The Old Testament points to humanity’s need for a Savior, and the coming of Jesus is foreshadowed throughout the entire OT. In the New Testament, we read about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection in the gospels. The remainder of the NT teaches us how to live as followers of Jesus and what we should anticipate in the days to come.
Read it as a story and for immediate application.
While the Bible does contain great theatrical and historical elements like any story, at the end of the day, the Bible is the living word of God. This means God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as we read the Bible. We gain clarity, wisdom, comfort, and purpose as we allow the words of the Bible to shape the way we live, work, and play. Therefore, we must view it as more than simply a story or historical record.
Consider starting with one of these approaches.
- From a story perspective, check out this great resource (CLICK HERE) that really helps you gain a clearer understanding of the Bible as a story.
- Ask yourself, “What questions, tensions, struggles, or emotions am I feeling right now?” Then, use a resource such as this chain reference (CLICK HERE) to help you search the Scriptures to gain further insight about something going on in your life.
- As you read a passage of Scripture, ask yourself questions such as the ones on this guide (CLICK HERE).
- Begin with the gospel of John in the New Testament. John gives a nice overview of Jesus… His life, mission, love, death, and resurrection.
- Find a disciple of Jesus who can help you unpack the things God is showing you as you read the Bible.
Finally, remember the Bible shows imperfections, but it is perfect.
I could spend many various thoughts on this statement, but to be quick, the Bible contains certain people and actions that aren’t ideal examples for us to follow. God and His ways are perfect, but the imperfect actions of people in the Bible are all part of the larger story being revealed. No one (other than Jesus) has ever been perfect, and the Bible does an amazing job of reminding us about this truth. Thankfully, the Bible also shows us how a perfect God demonstrates His love and grace toward us as imperfect individuals.