You should read all of it!
But seriously, the Bible can be a daunting book, and sometimes kind of confusing, especially if you start with a book like Leviticus (a book of Old Testament laws)!
We can be confident the Bible is God’s word and remember that all of it (even the confusing bits) is useful—meaning God has given it all a purpose.
The Bible is 66 books telling one big story. From the very beginning God hints at his plan for salvation, spoiler alert: it’s Jesus. When we understand each book in context of this big picture we can see how every part of the story points us to Jesus.
So where should you start?
Just like a library has different sections and genres, so does the Bible. For example—some books are history (like 1&2 Kings), some books are poetry or songs (like Psalms), and some books are letters to different churches (like Ephesians).
If you’ve never read the Bible before, a great place to start is with a biography of Jesus. These are called ‘gospels’ and detail the life, message, death and resurrection of Jesus.
I really like Luke’s gospel. Written by a guy named Luke, this book is a thoroughly researched biography of Jesus. Luke presents an accurate and clear picture of Jesus for a friend of his named Theophilus. And there’s also a sequel! It’s called ‘Acts’ or ‘The Acts of the Apostles’ and details what happened to the early church after Jesus returned to heaven.
These pages make Jesus come alive for me—I can read his words and get a sense of who he says he is. Discovering Jesus changes the way I read the Bible as a whole.
For advice on how to live the Christian life the New Testament letters, or ‘epistles’, are a great read. These were written to different people to encourage and instruct them in faith.
Romans is a great letter to start with, but my fave is Philippians. I struggle with worrying too much and forgetting how truly, awesomely great God really is. Philippians is a helpful reminder to focus on God and trust in him.
Reading the Bible changed for me when I stopped reading it randomly—you know, closing my eyes, letting it fall open and then reading whatever was on the open page.
When I realised each book has a genre, an intended audience, and fits into the big picture story it opened my eyes. I prayed for God’s spirit to help me understand and searched for some good commentaries to explain some of the historical background. I began to read books of the Bible from beginning to end, making notes about each one and researching the stuff I didn’t understand.
God is faithful and will help you read the Bible if you ask him—happy reading!