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Where do I Start Reading the Bible?

Written by Dianna Wiebe on .

Beginning your journey through Scripture can be a life-changing experience, but for beginners, it might be challenging to know where to start. In this guide, we’ll explore a recommended starting point that takes you through key narratives in Genesis, Exodus, Mark, Luke, and Acts. Let’s delve into these foundational texts to help you build a solid understanding of the Bible.

1. Genesis: The Beginning of All Things

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and it lays the foundation for the entire narrative. It introduces us to God as Creator of all things, and layout the foundation for time with the seven days of Creation. During this first week, Adam and Eve are introduced as the first man and woman. As more people are born, corruption takes over, and finally God sends a worldwide flood, saving only Noah and his family. In Genesis, Abraham is introduced and the following chapters of Genesis tell the story of his family.

  • Key themes: Creation, Sin and its consequences, and the beginnings of God’s covenant with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
  • Why Genesis: Genesis answers many of the questions of the Bible. Where did we come from? Why do we need a savior, why did God flood the earth, and why did God make a covenant with Abraham. God began telling us His story in Genesis, so it is a good starting point.

2. Exodus: Freedom and Covenant

Next, the book of Exodus continues the story of the family of Abraham, focusing on the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. It highlights God’s faithfulness in fulfilling promises and establishing a covenant with His people at Mount Sinai.

  1. Key themes: Freedom, the Ten Commandments, and the establishment of the covenant.
  2. Why Exodus: Like Genesis, this books gives us key events that set the stage for the understanding the rest of the Bible. In Exodus, a covenant is made between God and the children of Israel that is still in effect today. Part of the covenant involved God’s rule for how to love Him and treat others.
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3. Mark: The Gospel of Action

Mark is the second book of the New Testament and the shortest of the four Gospels. It provides a fast-paced account of Jesus’ life, teachings, and miracles. Many scholars believe this book was the first Gospel written. Mark emphasizes Jesus as a man of action.

  1. Key themes: Miracles, parables, and the significance of Jesus’ identity.
  2. Why Mark: Mark is an easy Gospel book to understand and read. Unlike John which focus’ much of his story on Jesus’ final days, Mark gives a bigger picture of Jesus life and ministry. Mark’s original audience was mostly Jewish.

4. Luke: The Gospel of Compassion

  1. Luke, one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, provides a detailed and compassionate account of Jesus’ life, teachings, and parables. It emphasizes Jesus’ concern for the marginalized and the outcasts. Luke’s account was written with a Gentile audience in mind.
  2. Key themes: Compassion, parables, and factual accounts
  3. Why Luke: The books of Luke and Acts are companion books, written by the same author. Reading them in order helps those new to the Bible see the opening decades of the New Testament era. Luke’s original audience was mostly Gentiles.

5. Acts: The Early Church and Spread of the Gospel

  1. Acts is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke and details the early days of the followers of Jesus. It follows the Apostles (Disciples) as they spread the message of Jesus, encountering challenges and witnessing the growth of the early Christian community.
  2. Key themes: The Holy Spirit’s indwelling of Believers, missionary journeys, and the formation of the early Christian communities.
  3. Why Acts: Acts covers the events after the death of Jesus and how the Apostles began to share Jesus’ message and how they overcame the challenges from those who did not believe.

Starting your Bible reading journey with Genesis, Exodus, Mark, Luke, and Acts provides a well-rounded introduction to the overarching narrative of the Bible. As you explore these foundational texts, you’ll gain insights into creation, bondage, freedom, the life of Jesus, and the growth of the early Christian church.

Finally, remember the Bible is a living document that continues to inspire and guide us today. Enjoy your journey!

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