If you’ve never read the Bible before, getting started can seem daunting. Overwhelming, even. It’s easy to have no idea where to begin.
A while ago, someone asked me that very question. “Where should I start reading the Bible? What book of the Bible can you recommend?”
The question caught me unprepared. There were so many books to choose from! So many that I love and would recommend. I started listing various options and why I’d suggest them.
The thought didn’t leave me, though, and I wanted to be prepared the next time someone asked me where to start. So, I decided to make a list.
It was difficult to narrow it down, but I managed to reduce the list to six books I recommend you start with if you’re reading the Bible for the first time, or if you’re at a loss of what to read next. Of course, every part of the Bible is a good place to start, but some places may be easier to begin with than others.Every part of the Bible is a good place to start, but some places may be easier to begin with than others. Click To Tweet
1. Start at the Beginning: Genesis
Genesis is (as the title says) the beginning of the Bible. It tells of the beginning of time, starting with creation, the fall, the flood, and then goes on to tell the stories of the fathers of the faith. Accounts of Abram/Abraham to Joseph can be found here. Even if you grew up going to Sunday school every week, I can guarantee there are details you don’t know!
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1, ESV
2. Start with Jesus: The Gospel of John
Any of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are a good place to start, but John specifically wrote his eyewitness account so that the reader may believe that Jesus is the Messiah (John 20:31). Although not necessarily in strict chronological order, the Gospel of John is where Jesus is clearly presented as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus is the “I AM”; He is Yahweh.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6, ESV
3. Start with the Basics: Romans
The book of Romans is by no means an easy read, but it is a good place to start, since in it, Paul covers the gospel in detailed steps. First, he addresses sin in man and what the consequence of sin is. This is followed by what salvation is and how we attain it – by grace, through faith.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24, ESV
4. Start with Practical Application: James
I know a number of people who say that James is their favorite book of the Bible. This was actually the book of the Bible I started with a few years ago when I decided to start reading the Bible for myself. It was perfect because I could read even just a few verses and find something I could apply that day. James touches on so many topics: what to do when trials come, how to act upon faith, how to tame the tongue, and so much more.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:19-21, ESV
5. Start with Mentor Advice: 1 Timothy
Both 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy were written by Paul. Paul was in some ways a mentor or spiritual “dad” to Timothy, and these letters were his advice to his mentee or spiritual “son”. One of the most well-known verses in this letter shows just how perfect of a read it is for teens.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12, ESV
6. Start with Worship: Psalms
The Psalms were originally songs that people sang or chanted. This book has both the shortest chapter (Psalm 117) and the longest (Psalm 119) of the Bible in it, and Psalms contain verses about any feeling you might be going through. You can find Psalms where the writer was angry. You can find Psalms that were written in good times. You can find Psalms that were written when someone sinned. You can find Psalms that were written when someone was over-the-moon-happy. In short: no matter what you’re going through, you can probably find a Psalm for that. And the main message of the Psalms is that no matter our situation, we are most satisfied when we are doing what we were created to do: worship God.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6, ESV
Tell me below: What would you say if someone asked you where to begin their Bible reading? Which book of the Bible would you recommend first?