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What is the Best Way to Read the Bible? A Bible Reading Plan for Beginners

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

*I want to let everyone know that I have started a brand new podcast. I will be going through a portion of the Bible every day, reading it and then explaining it in easy-to-understand terms. All you have to do is listen. We will be going through the entire Bible, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. If you have trouble consistently reading the Bible every morning, this podcast will be a great place for you to start. Each episode is 5-10 minutes long.The episodes update daily, M-F, at 6:30 a.m. Click this link to follow the podcast and listen to the first episodes.

What is the best way to read the Bible?

Many people say the best way to read the Bible is to start with John. Other people say to start from the beginning and read it as a book. Still others say to start in Genesis, but to skip certain books and go back to them later. Some individuals think it's best to start with the New Testament and then read the Old Testament after that. Then there are those who completely skip around with no rhyme or reason, believing that as long as they are reading the Bible, it doesn't matter what order they read in.

So with all this confusion regarding the Bible, what truly is the best way to read it?

The answer is pretty simple: You can read it however you want.

But if need a little bit more structure than that, allow me to explain my personal favorite way to read the Bible and how it changed my life:

When I had the job at the factory, there was very little I was allowed to do other than work and listen. For eight hours a day, I was glued to my machine, producing as many parts as I possibly could for the day. I was so insanely bored, I thought I was going to crawl out of my skin. I started searching for things to listen to. I wasn't allowed on my phone at all during work, but I was allowed to listen to music. So I needed to make sure whatever I chose was something long enough that I didn't have to pull out my phone to switch to something else. I decided to download and listen to a dramatized, audio-book version of the Bible. I saw that the Bible was around ninety hours long! I remember thinking, "Wow, I will never get through this!"

I got through it in 3 weeks. I listened to the entire Bible, start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation in just over 3 weeks. (Except Psalms. I finished Psalms later on.)

I can honestly say that reading the Bible from start to finish (or listening to it, if you want to get into semantics) changed my entire view on God the Father. Before this point, I never had much of a relationship with Him. I thought that He was distant or mean. After all, didn't He show His anger in the Old Testament? Sure, He sent His Son to die for our sins, but that was after all that mean stuff that He did. (This was truly my belief system.)

But reading the Bible as a book made it come alive for me. I realized that God wasn't mean AT ALL. He was merciful and loving! He rescued His people from enemies time and time again. He protected them and gave them blessing after blessing. And when He did show His anger, it took generations of evil-doing before God did anything about it. Then, after He showed His anger, He showed His love just as quickly and healed His people. If anything, His anger was more like a Father punishing a spoiled child. No, God is NOT mean! God the Father is the most loving, merciful, and beautiful God!

I got so much out of reading the Bible as a book. So much so, that I wanted to share to everyone this super novel, special way to read the Bible! (Which really isn't novel at all, but it was to me at the time!)

So, what is the best way to read the Bible then?

I think it differs from person to person. Though I got the most out of the Bible by reading it like a book, others might get the most out of it by reading it in a different way. Still, I do want to urge everyone to try to read it like a book at least once in their lifetime.

Now if you are a newer Christian, it might feel overwhelming to tackle the whole Bible right away. (Though you absolutely can if you want.) Instead, you can simplify the Bible and still read it like a book. Here's a good, simplified, reading plan:

  1. Genesis

  2. Exodus

  3. Leviticus (optional)

  4. Joshua

  5. 1 Samuel

  6. 2 Samuel

  7. 1 Kings

  8. 2 Kings

  9. Ezra

  10. Nehemiah

  11. Proverbs

  12. Isaiah

  13. Daniel (optional)

  14. Luke

  15. John

  16. Acts

  17. Romans

  18. Ephesians

  19. Revelations

Now, please don't misunderstand what I am doing with this list. I am not trying to say that the other books of the Bible aren't important. They absolutely are. In fact, one of my favorite books of the Bible is Judges! The reason I didn't put it on this list is because it is kind of heavy, even for seasoned Bible scholars. If you are a new Christian, it might be sort of hard to process that book so early on.

The ones I put "optional" next to, are books that are good to read if you want more of the story. Leviticus is the "Law Book." It is basically the Jewish law. It might be hard to understand if you are a brand-new Bible reader, but it is a good book to read if you want to know more about Jewish law as you move forward in the Old Testament. However, the reason it is "optional" is because it is not necessarily required to read it in order to understand the Old Testament. If you choose not to read it immediately, you can go back and read it later on. Same with Daniel. The book of Daniel gives more insight to the exile to Babylon, but it isn't necessarily required to read it immediately to understand what happened.

Remember, this is just a simplified, sequential way to read the Bible. I am not trying to take away from any book of the Bible with this list. I believe that all books of the Bible are important and many things are to be gained from them. I do believe that, if you choose to follow this list, you should go back and read all the other books of the Bible once you have a better understanding of the overall message of the Bible.

My point is, any Bible reading that you do is better than none. If that means reading just a few verses a day, then do that. If that means listening to an audio-book version of the Bible, then do that. If that means reading a chapter over your lunch break, then do that. If that means listening to a podcast, (like my new one, hint, hint,) on your morning commute, then do that. (Though, please don't use my podcast as an excuse to never read the Bible!) If that means doing a Bible study with a group of ladies, then do that. My point is, immerse yourself in God's Word, however that might look for you. Let God's Word work in your life! Let Him speak to you!

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Friends, use the Bible to train yourself for good and for righteousness. Allow God to work in your life! If you do this, you will "be complete, equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:17.

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