Open Bible with journal finding where to start reading the Bible

Where to Start Reading the Bible for Beginners

Choosing the best place to start reading the Bible can be a bit overwhelming.  After all, there are 66 books in the Bible, and knowing where to start reading the words of the Bible can be daunting.  Do you start at the beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis and read straight through to the rest of the New Testament, or do you start at the end and work your way backward?  Then there is the middle!  Where to start reading the Bible really depends upon your purpose for reading, if this is your first time trying read the Bible as a new Christian, or starting with a new version of the Bible and starting a new habit of reading God’s Word on a regular basis.  

Many people pick up their Bibles to start reading when they are anxious or afraid.  Other people are searching for truth or a specific story or verse from their childhood.  We will look at where a beginner should start reading in the Bible and finding a reading plan that works for you.  It will help you find the best place to start reading the Bible.  Because the Bible is no ordinary book and has the ability to change your whole life as a new believer, the Word of God can be transformation in your life!

Bible and journal getting ready to find where to start reading the Bible

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Before Starting to Read the Bible

The most important thing to do before you start reading your Bible is to pray and ask God to speak to you through the words you are reading.  Invite the Holy Spirit to help you understand and speak to your heart through the words you are reading.  

If you are starting on a Bible reading plan, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.  It can be easy to start a new plan and just check off the box each day without really letting the words settle into your heart and mind.  Reading the Bible should draw you closer to God and help you understand His infinite love better and not just become another thing you have to do each day.  

If you don’t have a Bible, you can get a beautiful Bible here.  While you don’t need any specific tools to read the Bible, you may also want to get a Prayer Journal to keep track of what you are learning and praying for.  A good study Bible can be helpful as you learn and discover new things.  

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Where to Start Reading the Bible?

If you are brand new to reading the Bible, one of the best places to start reading the Bible is in the Gospels.  The Gospels are in the New Testament (during Jesus’ life and afterward) and they contain the stories of Jesus’ life, miracles, interactions with people, and His death on the cross.  There are four books that comprise the “Gospels” and they are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They are first four books of the New Testament.  

All four books in the Gospels include the stories of Jesus, but they are written from different perspectives and to different audiences so the stories are unique to each book.  Each writer, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John encountered Jesus in a different way and therefore the way they wrote the story is slightly different.  

Just like if three people watch an event and then a news reporter interviewer asks them what happened.  They will all have a slightly different perspective based on where they were in the event, their background experience and how it impacted them.  They might also share their story in a different way if they were talking to an insurance adjuster, and little child, or their mother.

So it is with the Gospels.  Different perspectives and different audiences result in slightly different stories about Jesus.  

So if you’re wondering where a beginner should start reading the Bible, or what to read in the Bible when you don’t know where to start, begin in the New Testament gospels.  

In the Gospel of Matthew, the author, Matthew, a former tax collector, tells the story of Jesus starting with His lineage and why He is the Messiah.  Matthew was writing to the Jewish audience of his neighbors and country people.  His focus is on proving that Jesus was the Messiah through the prophecies of the Old Testament.  Matthew is writing to record and prove that Jesus is the Promised One.  

This great book:  Matthew (Jesus 101) is a wonderful and easy to read companion as you read through the book of Matthew.

The Gospel of Mark is shared from Mark’s perspective which may also be a reflection of the disciple Peter, who Mark was working with as his translator or scribe.  His focus in the book of Mark is to share the good news of Jesus to everyone.  Mark shares many of the stories of Jesus’ miracles and parables.  He wants people to hear the good news about Jesus Christ and this is shared throughout the book of Mark.

This book:  Mark (Jesus 101) will help you understand the background and some of the cultural meanings in the stories and parables.

In the Gospel of Luke, the author, Luke begins the book with the story of John the Baptists’ birth predicted and then the birth of Jesus.  This is where the birth of Jesus is explained and detailed.  Luke’s focus is that salvation is available to everyone and not just the Jewish people.  The book of Luke relates many of Jesus’ miracles and the way He loved people from all different backgrounds. 

Luke (Jesus 101) will help you understand the background of the stories and the cultural nuances that you might not understand reading in the current time.

The Gospel of John doesn’t share all the same stories of Jesus’s actions but the stories in the book of John are there to encourage the reader, listener, or hearer to choose Jesus and eternal life.  

As you read the verses from different authors through the stories about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, you will have a picture of what the message of the entire Bible is about.  God’s outrageous love to all of humanity.    This book:  John (Jesus 101) is an awesome, easy to read companion to go along with your study of the book of John.

The best place to start reading the Bible is where Jesus is front and center in the story of the love of God.  Any one of the gospel accounts is a great place to begin your study and understanding of the Bible.  When you open God’s Word, you will begin to see that from the beginning of time, God had a plan.  This story of God was planned, executed, and resurrected in the form of Jesus as He died for your sins.  

Once you have read the four gospels, the book of Acts is the continuation of this story after Jesus has been raised from the dead and gone back to Heaven.  This is how the story of Jesus continues through the disciples and their journey as a servant of God through the beginning of the early church which was a much different way of life than they were used to.  The book of Acts continues the biblical history of the early Christians and how they used a different approach to living life from those around them.  Their testimonies about the Son of God spread far and wide as they shared their stories of the life of Jesus.    

How to choose a Bible reading plan?

Now that you have the best place to start reading the Bible figured out, you may want to consider a Bible reading plan that will guide you as you read through different sections and parts of the Bible.  There are a number of different Bible reading plans, so knowing what you are looking for will help you find the plan that fits your needs and is the best place to start reading the Bible for you.  

  • Chronological Bible Reading Plan – A chronological Bible reading plan is designed to guide you through the books of the Bible in the chronological order of the events and when they were written down.  This is much different than reading straight through the Bible from cover to cover as some of the books of the Bible were written much later than when the events actually took place and how they were arranged in the physical book of the Bible.  

Bible Study Tools offers a free chronological Bible reading plan that you can download and print today.  

  • Bible in a Year Reading Plan – This can also be called a one-year Bible plan.  This simply means that you are working on a plan to read the entire Bible, from cover to cover, in one year.  If you are new to reading the Bible, this may feel a bit disjointed as you read a bit in the Old Testament and a bit in the New Testament.  In this case, you may want to look for a topical Bible reading plan that will focus on specific topics as you read such as faith, God’s love, giving your worries to God, etc.    

The Navigators site has a number of Bible reading plans to choose from here 

Topical Bible Reading Plans are simple a collection of verses from the whole Bible that relate to a specific topic.  These are often really helpful as you are going through a difficult season of life and perhaps are looking for Bible verses about a specific topic like anxiety, trust, faith, hope, or joy.  This type of reading plan can be a great way to discover Bible promises that are helpful and encouraging to you.  They are a great resource for memorizing scripture as you find a key verse that really speaks to you or your specific need.  These are often the types of verses you may want to underline so you can find them again.  

You can find some great topical Bible Reading plans right here on this site.

  • Bible Reading Plan for Beginners – If you are looking for a Bible reading plan for beginners, you may want to start with a shorter reading plan like a 30-day plan or a plan to read about a specific topic.  This way, you can take the time to really dive deeply into the scriptures and learn as you are reading.  Then when you’ve completed that Bible reading plan, look for the next one.  There is no trophy or badge of honor for reading the entire Bible in 365 days.  But there is a heart change if you read to learn about Jesus.  

Bloggers for the Kingdom has a 12-month Bible reading plan that includes additional printable resources to help you in your Bible study.  

A Faithful Step has three Bible reading plans specifically for beginners.  

Bible Verses for You has a great 15 minute Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading Plan

As you decide where to start reading the Bible and you begin your new daily Bible reading plan, remember, the goal is to develop a deeper understanding of God’s love.  Reading the Bible isn’t a marathon or a sprint, but a long walk along the path to understand and love God more.  When choosing where to start reading the Bible, ask God for direction and to open your heart to His messages of love.  Ask for help with discernment as you choose the best place to begin reading the Bible.  

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. ~ Psalm 119:105 ~ NIV

Ask God to be the light for your path and the light for your feet and lead you as you start reading the Bible and make the most important step in drawing closer to Jesus in your Christian life.  The best time to start is right now as you build a solid foundation build on Jesus Christ.  

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