Where To Start Reading The Bible (the 4 BEST places to start)

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Where to start reading the Bible? Where should I start reading the Bible?

The Bible is a unique book. It’s not like any other book that’s out there. Therefore we should approach it differently. Knowing where to start reading the Bible is key to learning and growing from it.

In this blog post we are going to look at 4 books of the Bible that are great places to start.

One of the things I often harp on in many of my blog posts is understanding what the Bible actually is and how to read it. I’m not going to go too much into that in this blog post, but I would encourage you to check out some of the posts I’ve written on that. They will help you better understand the Bible and get more out of your time in God’s word. 

If you want more information about what the Bible is and how to read it I’ve written several blog posts on those topics. You can find them here: 

The 5 Best Tips To Help You Read And Understand The Bible
Who Wrote The Bible (and why that question matters)
How To Choose A Bible Translation
8 Tips To Help You To Starting Reading The Bible More

Why You Shouldn’t Start From The Beginning

Conventional wisdom tells us when we pick up a book to start at the beginning. It’s how you read a book, from front to back. But the Bible is different. And I think it’s best to NOT start in the beginning. 

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t read the beginning of the Bible. You should. In fact, I think you should eventually read the whole Bible. Just not at first. 

Why? 

Well for starters, the Bible isn’t a single book. It’s a collection of 66 books written over sixteen centuries by over forty authors. It is a diverse collection with different styles, unique voices, different purposes, and incredible stories. 

Because the Bible is a compilation of books I think it’s best to start with some of the most central books in this collection. That way you can get a proper framework to engage with the rest of scripture. 

So, where to start reading the Bible? Let’s take a look. 

Again, if you don’t have a good basis of what the Bible is and how to read it check out some of the blog posts I’ve written on it. You can find more under the category How To Read The Bible

Where To Start Reading The Bible?

Where should I start reading the Bible? I get asked that question regularly. Below is a what typically recommend. Reading in this order will help give you a good framework of what the gospel is about and how to live in light of what Jesus has done. 

1. The Gospel Of John (or any Gospel)

I think starting in the Gospels is the best starting point for anyone wondering where to start reading the Bible.

I recommend the Gospel of John. While in complete unity each Gospel shows Jesus from a different angle. John spends much of his time talking about Jesus’ identity and the implication this holds for us today. This Gospel also highlights many unique interactions Jesus had with people. 

It’s a powerful Gospel that I find myself reading through several times a year. And I think it’s the perfect Gospel to start with if you are picking up the Bible for the first time. This book will give you a solid foundation and understanding of the life and work of Jesus. 

Again, you could start with any of the Gospels. Matthew and Luke will give you a great overview of Jesus’ life from birth to death. Regardless of which Gospel you start with it will help you get to know Jesus and see who he was. 

That’s important because the whole Bible centers around Jesus. So before you read any other book of the Bible you should get a solid understanding of who Jesus is. 

Where should I start reading the bible? The Gospels, in particular the Gospel of John is a great book to start with. 

2. James

While the Gospels tell us about Jesus and what he has done. Much of the rest of the New Testament focuses on how followers of Jesus should live in light of what Jesus has done. 

While I think the Gospels are the best place to start if you are wondering where to start reading the Bible. James is a great book to read after you have a good understanding of who Jesus is. 

James highlights the necessity for followers of Jesus to act in accordance with their faith.  Being a Christian isn’t something you believe in, it’s a person you follow. James challenges believers to make sure what they believe aligns with how they are living. 

This is one of the most practical and challenging books in the Bible. It’s a book that followers of Jesus should continue to go back to time and time again. 

Where should I start reading the bible? After reading a Gospel or two, James is a book that will help you live out what you learned about Jesus. 

3. Paul’s Letters 

Paul wrote much of the New Testament in the form of letters written to specific people and churches in the 1st Century. 

Many of these letters center around reminding his readers of what Jesus has done and challenging them to live in accordance with what they believe. Paul’s letters build off the foundation found in the Gospels. These letters will help followers of Jesus continue to grow in their faith. 

If you want a systematic approach to the basics of the Christian faith Romans is a great place to start. It’s one of the most theologically rich books in the Bible. 

Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians are also great letters to read through. They each take a unique approach and deal with specific issues that we should lean in on. 

Where should I start reading the Bible? Paul’s letters contain a lot of truth and challenges that followers of Jesus should not ignore. 

4. Choose A Reading Plan

When you are trying to figure out where to start in the Bible it can be tough because there are so many options. If you feel paralyzed by all the options I recommend starting with a reading plan. 

YouVersion (Bible App) is one of the most popular apps and is on half a billion phones around the world. This app has thousands of plans to help you know what to read. It will help keep you track and show you where to start reading the Bible. 

At first, I was hesitant to read the Bible on my phone. However, after going through several YouVersion reading plans I changed my mind. The reading plans and notifications have helped me stay on track with my time reading God’s word. With the help of YouVersion, my time in God’s word has grown more and more consistent and rich.

If you are like me and get easily distracted, forget to read the Bible, or just don’t know where to start I highly recommend YouVersion

Where should I start reading the Bible? A Bible reading plan can help you stay on track and give you multiple options on where to start reading the Bible. 

Closing Thoughts On Where To Start Reading The Bible

This post focuses on where to start reading the Bible, but it’s not the sum total of what you should do when read in the Bible. The above will give you a good foundational understanding of the Bible to launch from. But don’t stop there. 

I’ve written many blog posts about how to read the Bible. These posts are what you should do once you know where to start reading the Bible. You can find more under the category: How To Read The Bible

Here are some of the top posts: 
The 5 Best Tips To Help You Read And Understand The Bible
Who Wrote The Bible (and why that question matters)
How To Choose A Bible Translation
8 Tips To Help You To Starting Reading The Bible More

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on where to start reading the Bible. And I hope that it helped you rethink parts of your life and faith. If you did would you share it with a friend or on social media? That way more people can benefit from it as you have. I would love to hear from you! You can comment below or email me here: jeff@rethinknow.org

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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