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For starters, it is important to realize that the Bible is not an ordinary book that reads smoothly from cover to cover. It is actually a library, or collection, of books written by different autho...
There are several Bible reading calendars which will take us through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in one or two or three years. Choose a plan that suits you and be regular to read the daily portion. Early hours of the day are the best because your mind will be fresh enough to absorb a lot. This is just reading. Close meditation can be on a few verses from the daily portion or from elsewhere. When you read through the Bible again and again, comparing Scripture with Scripture becomes easy. Thomas Watson has interestingly said, "Nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture!" There are two outstanding benefits of this method of studying the Bible. One, very difficult passages suddenly become clear when other passages throw light on them. Second, we can be saved from wrong interpretation leading to false doctrines. False doctrines, like false witnesses, agree not among themselves! The unnamed Ethiopian government official had the habit of reading through the Scripture even if he didn't understand it. He had picked up the Book of Isaiah for his recent trip to Jerusalem. See how a brief exposition by Evangelist Philip could bring him to a consummate understanding of Gospel truth! (Acts 8:26-40). Keep a fine ballpen or pencil, whenever you open the Bible, to underline words, phrases and sentences which have a special appeal to you. Because the Bible paper is thin, don't use poor quality ballpens which bleed and smudge. Leave a question mark on the margin against a verse or passage you don't understand. You will have the joy of striking out some of them in your next reading! Questions will disappear one by one in subsequent readings. God reveals His truths to us in stages according to our level of understanding and maturity. Once Jesus told His disciples, "Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now!" (Jn 16:12). Growth in Biblical understanding will be in proportion to our response to the illumination of the Holy Spirit (v 13). On another occasion Jesus said, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; someday you will" (Jn 13:7). Keep a notebook exclusively for jotting down points which make your heart glow. Laziness will prevent you to do this, and the loss will be heavy. Holy Bible, Book divine, Precious treasure, thou art mine; Mine to tell me whence I came, Mine to teach me what I am! (John Burton, Sr., 1773-1822)
This is a good question and there are a number of answers that will meet the needs of everyone wanting to actually read and study the Bible. My take on this is from personal experience. When I accepted Christ in my life and wanted to know more about him I felt overwhelmed with the information that I was getting from the Brothers in the Church. Scripture reference is always helpful if you know the Scripture. When you need to understand what God is telling you, its best to start from the beginning. Understanding the beginning and that is the story of Genesis is where I would start and recommend anyone to begin reading and studying the Bible. However don't just read it, eat it and work to understand what the Scripture is telling you. From the foundation of Genesis and Exodus you get the true Beginning of the entire Bible and history of Christianity. When we believe that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" Then we will take the rest of the story of Christ as God intended for us to know and follow. I dare say all of the Books of the Bible are essential for proper Christian growth and knowledge and you can't have the Old Testament without the New Testament. Like wise we have to keep in mind that the New Testament is riddled with mentions of the Old Testament. Jesus often quotes the Old Testament and we need to get a full knowledge of the fulfilling of the prophecy that He actually is. While the Bible is a series of Books within a great Book its important to know how they come together and relate to each other. When looking at the mistakes of man in the past through the Eyes of God we can see how it was totally necessary for God to give His Son so we could be saved. Now back to the question and its relation to us, The Bible is not a novel as we would think. Each book can stand on its own. However it is alive and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand it when we allow the Spirit to use us as God would have Him do. Most of us never start reading a book from the middle and as such we should not treat the Bible any differently. In the Beginning is always a great place to start reading the Bible.
The Gospels are always a good place to start. It also depends on where you are in your walk with the Lord. If you are a more mature believer get a reading plan and read through the bible. It will bless you tremendously.
Christians believe the bible is the Word of God. John ch 1 describes Jesus as the Word of God who became flesh. Therefore the bible is all about Jesus. There are at least 3 essential things we need to learn about Jesus: He is our Saviour - described in the 4 gospel books - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John He is our Creator - book of Genesis He is our soon and coming King - book of Revelation The Psalms teach us how to pray and how to give praise and thanksgiving to God - this is very important to our Father in Heaven. The book of Proverbs provides a lot of practical wisdom for everyday life. The remaining books of the New Testament teach us Christian theology - why we believe what we believe. Then a venture into the Old Testament would be in order. You may also want to do some word and character studies using a good study bible. Ebible provides a bible reading plan that enables you to read through the bible in one year. Personally I use "Alpha Bible in One Year" which includes a brief commentary by Nicky Gumbel, the founder of Alpha. Takes me just 30 minutes a day.
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