This year I am reading the entire Bible in one year. So far I am on track, and quite honestly, a revival is breaking out in my heart. I have already considered buying one for myself every Christmas and spending my life enjoying God’s Word over and over again. I am thinking different verses and themes would resonate with me each year based on what I am going through. The Bible is unsearchable and eternal, so I might as well start learning as much as I can now.
I believe large portions of the Scriptures should be read at a time to understand how things string together, but is there a recommended order? What if someone came to me as a new Christian and asked what to learn first? Here is my answer today:
Read the first three chapters of the Bible, the last three chapters of the Bible, and the gospels in between.
Why read the first and last three chapters of the Bible?
Reading the first three chapters of the Bible (with help) and the last three chapters of the Bible (with some help) provides the fastest basic understanding of the larger story God is telling with history. These are the “bookends” that hold God’s entire story in place, so to speak. Knowing the beginning and the end of history helps me understand my life in between. It helps me understand, for instance, that I am not here for myself. I have eternity to enjoy God, so He can have this small life-span of mine to use for His glory. Without knowing God’s larger story, I might think God is here to serve me, or example, or I might think I am overly responsible for making my life count instead of realizing that it already does because God created me in His image and for His good purpose.
Why read all four gospels?
- They form a hinge.
There is a natural hinge in the Bible between the Old and New Testament, as well as a hinge in our secular history between before-Christ and after-Christ. In both cases, the gospels are located at that hinge. It makes sense, then, to know on what God’s Story is swinging. It makes sense to know this major source of connection in the Bible and history.
- Why get to know Jesus?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) Funny how Genesis 1:1 starts the same way, In the beginning… You are reading this blog post right now because I am taking my invisible thoughts and putting them in words that you can see and understand. Jesus was God and man. How kind of God to give us a physical Person to see and interact with so we could learn about God the Father. Jesus communicated God to us. To learn about Jesus is to learn about God.
- Why isn’t reading one gospel enough?
If you interviewed four of my friends, asking each to describe me, the accounts would differ. Each of my friends has different needs, finds different things about me enjoyable, and recounts shared stories differently. All of them are valid witnesses of my life, but hearing from only one friend would provide a limited account of the available information about me. Four people wrote what it was like to live life with Jesus, so get to know Jesus and God the Father from all available angles.
If you haven’t read these portions of Scripture and have been struggling to understand the Bible, consider making these parts of the Bible a priority.
Picture Explanation: Spring is happening around here to match the revival in my heart. It’s fun to watch the same blooms return year after year.
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