Hello! In January, I made a commitment to read the Bible every day. It’s been an amazing experience, and I like to share some of my thoughts on what I am learning here on Sundays.
I’ve blogged about this before, but before I started reading the Bible in January, I did some googling on what the recommended starting point was. Most people suggested to either start reading the Bible in Genesis at the start of the Old Testament, or they suggested starting with the New Testament. After spending the last 10 months reading the Bible daily, I wanted to back up and share my thoughts on how I suggest you should begin reading the Bible.
My advice would be to begin reading the Bible in the New Testament. The Old Testament is quite valuable, but I think you can fully appreciate its value after first getting a solid handle on the writings of the New Testament. Personally, I started reading the Bible with Genesis, then Revelation, then Exodus, then I went to the New Testament and read it through. At first, I found the New Testament to be more relatable and easier to understand. But as I began to get a better understanding of the New Testament, it actually helped me understand the Old Testament. This is why I suggest reading the New Testament first, getting a solid handle on it, then reading the Old Testament.
One thing I am noticing as I continue reading the Bible…this is an absolutely amazing piece of literature. It has so many layers! You have to understand, I am notorious for not reading books. I just don’t do it, I simply cannot find a book that can hold my attention long enough to finish it. Yet I’ve been reading the Bible every day for the last 10 months AND…I’m spending MORE time with it daily in November than I did in January. That is mostly because on my second and third readings of passages, I am discovering a key word or phrase and what it actually means that I totally missed the first time I read it. It’s almost like a treasure hunt, you do research on the text, and you discover that a phrase means something that you didn’t realize. Then you discover 3 other references to that same phrase in three OTHER books of the Bible, that all link together to form a larger story that you totally missed on your first reading. As I said, the Bible has many layers.
So if you are ready to start reading the Bible, here’s what I would suggest you do:
2 – Watch the Bible Project Video for the Book of Matthew.
4 – Repeat these steps for the books of Mark, Luke and John. First watch the Bible Project video for each book, then read the book.
5 – After you have read the four Gospels and watched the videos for each, then go and watch The Chosen. Through the end of season three goes about a third of the way through the gospels.
What’s interesting about the four gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is that they are essentially telling the same story (the birth and death of Christ, then His resurrection) from 4 different viewpoints. So by reading all four gospels, you get a pretty developed picture of Jesus’ life on earth. And each gospel is slightly different, and told in a slightly different way. One gospel may describe events in chronological order, another highlights events to tell a larger story. There’s a slightly different theme and voice that each gospel is told in.
By watching the Bible Project video for each of the 4 gospels, then reading each and watching The Chosen, it gives you a very solid grounding in understanding the first 4 books of the New Testament.
From there, I would continue through the New Testament and finish it. At that point, the choice is up to you as to where you go next. You may want to start reading the Old Testament at that point, or you may want to read the New Testament again. Either way is fine, I would just go with whichever feels better for you.
I will say this: The Old Testament is absolutely worth reading. In fact, the more I learn about the Bible as a whole, the more I appreciate the true value of the Old Testament. An interesting tidbit: Once you watch The Chosen, I think that will help you appreciate the audience that the Old Testament was written for. The Old Testament was mostly written for the Jewish people in and around Israel. The New Testament is written for everyone, but it’s important to understand the entire Bible, and how the Old Testament transitions into the New Testament. In very simple terms, I think the Old Testament is about God’s Covenant with Israel, and the New Testament is about the new Covenant that God created with all of mankind through Jesus.
As I stated when I first started reading the Bible, I was amazed at how different the Bible was from what I thought it was about. I assumed the Bible was mainly a collection of stories about amazingly righteous believers who rarely, if ever, sinned, and who lived near perfect lives. I assumed these people and their lives would be provided as examples of how we should live our own lives.
Instead, the Bible, if anything, is a collection of stories about how God uses sinners to achieve His will. It’s a wonderful testament to how God can do amazing works through anyone, and how no one is lost that wants to be found. If you seek out God and let Him into your heart, you will be saved. Some of the most amazing stories in the Bible come from people who committed sometimes horrific sins.
When you begin reading the gospels, one of the earliest stories will be about Jesus having dinner with tax collectors, sinners and harlots. The religious leaders discovered this and where outraged that Jesus would do this! They asked Him what in the world He was thinking associating with such filth?
Jesus responds that He did not come to save the righteous, He came to save the sinners. One of the parables that Jesus tells is about a shepherd who has 100 sheep. If one of those sheep goes missing, the shepherd will drop everything till he finds that one lost sheep and brings him back. Jesus said in much the same way, Heaven rejoices over one lost sinner being saved. Perhaps the key lesson from the Bible is that if you think that you aren’t ‘good enough’ for God, you don’t understand that you are the exact person that Jesus came to see.
So please consider reading the Bible if you have not. I think you will be amazed at what you discover. Follow the above plan of watching the Bible Project videos, then reading the gospels, then watching The Chosen, and I think you will be hooked. It’s an absolutely amazing story, and perhaps the best part of all is, the story is still unfolding, and each of us plays a role in its development.