Where to start in the Bible?

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Posts 10
Adley Eastridge | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 2 2012 6:48 PM

Greetings,

                  I have been a Christian for years, but one reason I haven't read the Bible is because it's quite large. When I want to read daily I don't know where to start. Sometimes I'll start in one book and never finish it because I start a different one, not knowing what to read because of different issues going on in my life at the time.

 

Does anyone know of a book that might guide you on maybe which books might you read one after another being a Christian that has never read the whole thing. I'm sure you wouldn't want to start in Revelations or Hebrews because you need to know more about old testament things. Please let me know.

Posts 70
james e snow | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:10 PM

At the beginning!  It has been some time since I read it completely through in a year.  I just pulled up the standard reading plan and started.  Look at the features at top of home page to find it.  If you click on customize link at the bottom left hand corner you can move it the top of the list.

Posts 5318
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:11 PM

No matter where you start there will be references to other books, or other books will help you under the book you are in more fully. The gospel is always a good place to start, John is one of the most often suggested place to start. Matthew is my favourite Gospel because of the many wonderful passages like the sermon on the mount. There are many good reading plans out there I like mixed reading plans myself, that give you different points in the Bible to read each day, http://www.bibleplan.org/mcheyne.htm will give you several options for reading plans if you like. But I do recommend starting perhaps in John and then maybe heading to Genesis and then perhaps the wisdom book Proverbs, which can have a built in daily reading plan a chapter a day, 31 chapters.

-Dan

Posts 1674
Paul N | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:16 PM

Stick close to Christ by reading Mark! (the shortest of the four gospels)

Posts 653
Alex Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:32 PM

The first time I read it through, I read start to finish, 3 chapters a day.  When you read it all, it will take you places you probably wouldn't go otherwise.  The next time, shortly after that, I read it through at the rate of about 14 chapters a day.  That had a surprising outcome in that I suddenly had a better understanding of the entire history from start to finish.  Now I tend to read a book at a time, or a specific section, and take the time to apply it, something you might not do if you're reading a lot per day.

Longtime Logos user (more than $30,000 in purchases) - now a second class user because I won't pay them more every month or year.

Posts 1216
Matt Hamrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:37 PM

Paul Newsome:

Stick close to Christ by reading Mark! (the shortest of the four gospels)

Yes Simply for this reason is why I start new Bible studies with the book of Mark. It is the shortest gospel. I would start there Priscilla. By the time you are done, hopefully, you will have a love for God's word and will find another book to read.

Posts 1210
Ward Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:40 PM

This is a reason I liked Logos Global Bible Reader--you could join in an accountability group from around the World and get through the Bible in a year.

 

Since that product is dead now, I highly suggest finding a local group of believers--perhaps in your case a women's group--who is reading through the Bible together and join in.  Don't confuse reading and studying--which I'm very guilty of--read the Word so you get a "feel" for it; press on, even when the going gets Job/Ezekiel Wink If you want to stop and smell the roses and figure out how something relates to other things/etc, then that is study.  Study is a good thing, but it is hard work.  Always read--God will speak to you.  If you don't walk in the Word, then it gets a lot harder to hear Him.

Posts 1522
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 2 2012 7:53 PM

Paul Newsome:

Stick close to Christ by reading Mark! (the shortest of the four gospels)

Yes Mark is my favorite gospel. I know many people recommend the Gospel of John to new Christians, but I have always recommended Mark.

Posts 88
Johann | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 12:49 AM

I too would suggest a Gospel. I know many would say start with Mark because it's the shortest, but the only reason I see with starting with the shortest is in trying to teach through a Gospel with limited time. Personally I like Matthew because there is a balance between "what Jesus did" and "what Jesus taught". I would suggest a Study Bible (like the ESV, or MacArthur) for someone who is diving in to Scripture for the first time. When something doesn't make sense after reading it, one of these resources can help explain it, usually with a conservative interpretation. 

I mentioned the ESV and MacArthur notes because I have both of them and they are available on Logos. HCSB Study Bible is also good (free online). 

Posts 1875
Paul-C | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 1:36 AM

This March Madness resource, in particular, might help you to get into the Bible:

How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee - $10.19 sale price.

Here's the write up on it:

Reading the Bible need not be a haphazard journey through strange and bewildering territory. Like an experienced tour guide, How to Read the Bible Book by Book takes you by the hand and walks you through the Scriptures. For each book of the Bible, the authors start with a quick snapshot, then expand the view to help you better understand its key elements and how it fits into the grand narrative of the Bible. Written by two top evangelical scholars, this survey is designed to get you actually reading the Bible knowledgeably and understanding it accurately.

In an engaging, conversational style, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart take you through a given book of the Bible using their unique, progressive approach. How to Read the Bible Book by Book can be used as a companion to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. It also stands on its own as a reliable guide to reading and understanding the Bible for yourself.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 1:53 AM

Definitely with a Gospel and initially without any aids besides a dictionary. I would suggest:

John because of the closeness of Easter OR

Mark because it is the earliest OR

Matthew because of the beauty of the Sermon on the Mount OR

Luke-Acts if you are into history

then Genesis, Exodus and Psalms

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 2795
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 3:20 AM

MJ. Smith Replied:
Definitely with a Gospel and initially without any aids besides a dictionary.

Alex Scott Replied:
The first time I read it through, I read start to finish, 3 chapters a day. When you read it all, it will take you places you probably wouldn't go otherwise. The next time, shortly after that, I read it through at the rate of about 14 chapters a day

[[There are other good points but I should not quote them all]]

At church this week my topic will be read the Bible all the way through. Pick a plan and finish it (don’t worry about how long it takes just keep going)

The first time you read the Bible from cover to cover you are just going to get an overview.  You will see where all of the stories fit in.  You will discover all the references that you have heard in sermons, Bible studies, etc. 

Don’t get discouraged.  When you get to a ‘What does that mean’ make a note and come back latter.  When you get to a ‘that’s not what I was taught’ or ‘they never told me this’ make a note and come back latter.

Pick a plan, any plan, and stick to it.  When you get behind just keep going but don’t try to push to catch up – just keep reading.  When you read the Bible in a short time you are going way to fast to study it.  Take notes and come back latter.  My last read the Bible in a year was 2006 and I am still working on studies triggered by things I read then. 

What plan?  Many do not get through the Gen – Rev plans.  Others like ones that read some here some there.  For a first time through I like ones that have you read a complete book [for the history, gospel or other ‘story’ / 'message' type books] and then on to the next one even if it is not the next in the Bible.  [[John then Genesis then one third the Psalms for example]]  

And as MJ. Smith said – no helps.  Just read, take notes and study your notes latter.

Then, after doing a selection of studies based on your own notes. go back and do it again – maybe with a different plan.  If you get done in one year – great.  If done in three – Ok you got it done.  If more – well that’s OK also –just don’t quit till you are done.  This Book is our Scripture – Read it for yourself.

Every church that I ever investigated had a statement such as these two:

“”The Church “forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’ (Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures.... Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For ‘we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles.’”””

“”Says the Saviour, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” (..) I don't command you to read the Bible—I never shall. I want you to read the Bible because you love it, not because you are driven to it, for then it will be an unpleasant task. But if you neglect the reading of the Bible, you will lose your love for it. Those who love the word of God are those who read it most. By reading and searching out scripture references, you will see the chain of truth, and will see new beauties in the word of God.””

Posts 19252
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 3:29 AM

I had aimed to someday read through the entire Bible but it turned out to be too daunting a task for many years. Then I finally was stuck somewhere where I was homesick for a few months (when I was in high school as an exchange student in a foreign country), and I read through the entire New Testament. That's much more manageable (27 books as opposed to 66).

Having done that once, I did it again a few years later. I finally read through the entire Old Testament at a pretty good clip (whole thing in 12 weeks) when I took an Old Testament Survey class. Getting that sweeping overview of the whole story has been immensely helpful as I've gone back to reread books of the OT since then.

The only other time I've read through the entire Bible straight (in one year) was using a chronologically arranged Bible called The Daily Bible arranged and edited by F. LaGard Smith. That particular version is not available in Logos, but you can use the Reading Plans feature to set up a chronological reading schedule for yourself. A few different chronological arrangements of the passages are presented there on the wiki page and you can choose one: http://wiki.logos.com/Reading_Plans. Just select the entire range of book and chapter references, copy, then go back to Logos and do File > (New) Reading Plan, choose your favorite version/translation, click where it says All Passages and in the dropdown menu, in the "New reference range" box, paste in the text you copied from the wiki, select the frequency you want, when to start, and how long you want to take over it, and the Reading Plan will draw up a schedule for you. Or you could just print out the chronological arrangement and check off the reading portions as you read them, without any pressure to do them to a particular schedule.

Logos sells a couple of books that guide you in reading through the Bible, or at least key chapters of it:

Handbook to Scripture: A One-Year Journey Through 365 Key Chapters in the Bible

Here's a sample page and an excerpt from the TOC:

A Guide to Reading the Entire Bible in One Year (on Vyrso, an eBook publishing brand of Logos; integrates right into your Logos library)

Here's an excerpt:

Posts 19252
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 3:37 AM

David Ames:
Pick a plan, any plan, and stick to it.  When you get behind just keep going but don’t try to push to catch up – just keep reading. 

This is good advice. I remember a friend of mine was once trying to read through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, on a reading plan. Whenever he missed a day, he "punished" himself by starting over again at the beginning. Needless to say he never got very far. Give yourself lots of grace/leniency and just keep plugging away.

David Ames:
When you read the Bible in a short time you are going way to fast to study it.

Yup, this is a different sort of reading than reading to study. Just get the sweeping feel for the whole thing. You'll want to come back and do this again sometime once you've studied more of it in depth, but for now just try to take in the grand narrative. Also, while you're doing this, continue taking some quiet time (perhaps at a different time of day) to do some more in-depth reading/study or meditation on a shorter section, maybe something that jumped out at you while you were zipping through at a gallop.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 4:03 AM

priscilla eastridge:
Does anyone know of a book that might guide you on maybe which books might you read one after another being a Christian that has never read the whole thing. I'm sure you wouldn't want to start in Revelations or Hebrews because you need to know more about old testament things. Please let me know.

Wondered what was in my Logos library that could be helpful so searched for:

read bible "new christian"

Among the results, found Exploring the Basics of the Bible that is included in Bible Study and above base packages.  Chapter 12 has several reading study suggestions, including Gospels (as suggested in this thread) plus Psalms and Acts.  Psalms has many insights about relationship with God.  Proverbs has many insights for wise living.  Later in Chapter 12, historical study ideas include:

In the New Testament the time span is shorter, but the historical background is equally important. An interesting way to study Acts would be to stop at each place where Paul wrote an epistle. Before continuing, read the corresponding epistle. This method interweaves the book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, enriching the interpretation.

Harris, R. L. (2002). Exploring the basics of the Bible (101). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

Chapter 11 has a short overview about English translations.  How to Choose a Bible Version has more information, which is included in base packages (except Original Languages).  Another resource is The Complete Guide to Bible Versions (not in any base package), whose introduction has a question to consider:

Different people have different preferences and personalities.  English Bible translations have a variety of styles.

Personally like a literal translation without chapter and verse numbers => American Standard Version 1901 - Personal Bible without Chapter and Verse #'s Also like using other translations for study and comparison (e.g. The NET Bible has a number of footnotes, which are thought provoking: footnote 84 in John 19:28)

Thankful Logos has many Bible choices => http://www.logos.com/products/search?Resource+Type=Bibles plus Thankful for price drop to $ 10 for a variety of translations.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 19252
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 4:23 AM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Later in Chapter 12, historical study ideas include:

Possibly KS4J meant to include excerpt:

Also noticed that the quote from Exploring the Basics of the Bible ("An interesting way to study Acts would be to stop at each place where Paul wrote an epistle. Before continuing, read the corresponding epistle. This method interweaves the book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, enriching the interpretation.") does not give you any idea how to figure out which books of the New Testament are "Pauline Epistles" (which a newbie to the Bible might not know right off the bat), and which of them fit in where in the book of Acts. This book does have a section earlier in Chapter 5 explaining about Paul's writings and when he wrote them. Here's a brief table summarizing, but the text itself will tell you more about where in the book of Acts the various missionary journeys take place:

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 4:44 AM

Paul Clarke:

This March Madness resource, in particular, might help you to get into the Bible:

How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee - $10.19 sale price.

YesYesYes

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 1812
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 5:20 AM

There has been much good advise given.  Fee's book is excellent, and it would be good to pick it up on the march madness sale now.

The bible is a collection of a lot of different types of material.  For me, the narratives like Genesis, the first half of Exodus, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and the four Gospels and Acts were the easiest to read at first.  After this the essays explaining the narratives, like Deuteronomy and the New Testament Epistles.  It took a while to get a handle of the structure of Psalms and the literary prophets for me, although I must say it has been worth the effort.  Psalms is great for teaching you that it is ok to be honest about what you feel to God, and also to open yourself to pray for what you AREN'T feeling at the time.

Don't worry that you will not understand it all when you first read it.  I can confidently say that you will not get it all the first time.  There will be more to understand later in your walk as well.  So don't stop it you feel like you aren't getting it all.  That said, a decent bible dictionary should be your first tool, and it is always good to have someone to talk to about your journey as well.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Anglican, Lutheran and Orthodox Silver, Reformed Starter, Academic Essentials

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Posts 74
David Betts | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 7:18 AM

I recommend a Chronological Reading Plan (starting at "in the beginning") so you can get an overview of the "complete picture." While "accountability groups" may help some, if you are true to Him and what He has called you to be and to do is better (my opinion). Understand that you are a child of the King, and we are learning how to function as stewards of His Kingdom Mysteries. [Consider it One Book by One Author].

Posts 826
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 3 2012 7:49 AM

Begin here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/part_1._the_god_who_made_everything

It is a free, 14 part, overview of the Bible and its contents called, "The God Who Is There."  You will get not only the central message of the Scriptures but you will also get a very good summary of the whole.  Don Carson is excellent.

Also, available in book form, http://vyrso.com/product/13416/the-god-who-is-there, but I recommend the video first.

JRS has left the building.

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