I want to read the Bible: where do I start?
”You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.“ - Les Brown
In many facets of the faith, we start off strong but then quickly give up the discipline. It shows up in our inconsistent church attendance, poor prayer life but even more so in our bible reading.
We go into our devotions with so much excitement but eventually fall out of the habit. Letting our bible serve as nothing more than a glorified coaster.
This problem plagues many Christian practitioners. And the reason is this: without clear direction people lack necessary determination.
People don't forgo their bible reading because they are all lazy people who don't follow through on anything. They forgo it because they have no clue where to start or what to do. And when you don't have necessary clarity - you lack motivation to follow through.
So, in hopes of gaining some direction, we will answer the question for all of those wondering: "Where do I start when reading the bible?"
Before answering, we must know one that the bible is not a book - it's a library. It is a work composed of 66 different books, written by 40 different authors and has multiple themes throughout.
It's not as simple of just picking up in Genesis and reading to Revelation. That is a big undertaking and can be confusing for someone new to the Faith.
Instead, choose a bible book that is practical in nature and is easy to understand in its own right. Then move on to bigger, more complex books (like Revelation) after that.
Don't read me wrong. ALL of the bible is inspired by God and useful for us as believers. Yet, some books are better suited for the new believer.
Books that are great to start off with are:
1. The Gospel of Mark. All of the gospels are a great place to start, but the gospel of Mark specifically is an easy read. It is all about Jesus and the work He did in the world and on the cross. It provides details about who Jesus was and what He was like when on the Earth.
There is no better way to increase our affection for God than by reading about His Son's loving work for us first hand. The Gospel of Mark is a solid place to start.
2. The book of Galatians. This book is written by the Apostle Paul and is all about God's grace. Often times, we think our salvation is tethered to what we DO when it is really about what God DID for us on the cross.
The book continually points to God's love and forgiveness for His people and provides a great perspective for the maturing believer.
3. The book of James. The author of this book is James (duh). But, he has an interesting story as he is actually Jesus' brother! So, he has a unique perspective on Christ, to say the least.
James actually serves as a great balance to Galatians as the book is heavy on the fact that faith without works is dead. Basically, if all you do is say you are a Christian but never act like one - you are probably not one. It is easy to understand and is a great reminder for all believers.
4. Proverbs. They say a proverb a day keeps the stupid away. I could not agree more! This book is known as "wisdom literature" and has some incredible insights.
One of the wisest men in history, King Solomon, wrote the book. It is a collection of wise sayings to live by. Great for memory verses and daily reading!
5. Genesis. Last on the list but first in the bible is Genesis. This book, among others, was written by Moses. It talks all about God creating mankind, animals, the Earth and everything else.
This book gives us a glimpse into how it all started. It also sets the foundation for everything that is to come. Genesis is a must read!
With all of that, this is not an exhaustive list. There are many more bible books that deserve a spot, but I have found these to be especially helpful for newer believers or those still trying to settle into their quiet time.
So, choose one of the books and just start reading. Don't do more than a chapter a day at first. Pace yourself and play the long game. It's the only game that gets you anywhere in your faith.