Bible - General Questions

Reading the Bible: Where Should I Begin?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
This question comes up often, and from very different kinds of people. But our answer to all is the same.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

This question comes up often, and from very different kinds of people. But our suggestion to all of them is the same.

Some who ask this question are long-time Christians who have never really read the Bible systematically. Others are new Christians exploring God's Word for the first time. Others are folks who have not yet come to faith in Christ, but God in His providence has given them an interest in the Book of Books.

Begin at the Beginning - of Both Testaments

Our suggestion to all is the same: Begin at the beginning of both the Old and New Testaments, and read through, reading some of both each day. In that way, you will come to understand, or be reminded of:

  • The unfolding plan of God which extends back into eternity before He created time and the universe;
  • How that originally perfect creation fell into disorder because of man's sin;
  • How God is carrying out a perfect plan to redeem fallen man and the creation itself, centered in the person and work of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ;
  • What it means to be saved from sin and to have the guarantee of a future dwelling place with God in the New Heavens and New Earth;
  • What it means to live in the liberty purchased by Christ here and now, enabled by God the Holy Spirit;
  • How God is bringing His eternal plan toward its consummation in the imminent, glorious return of Jesus Christ.

Begin With Prayer

The key, as we've said before, is to read prayerfully. Ask God to illuminate the Scriptures through the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the Author of every word on every page (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21). Keep in mind these words from First Corinthians:

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:11-13)

One of the most important reasons for reading the entire Word of God is the fact that the Bible is its own infallible interpreter. The words "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" in the verse above literally means, "comparing things from the Spirit with things from the Spirit" - in other words, comparing Scripture with Scripture. Doing that will not only help you understand the Bible more accurately, it is also your best deterrent against doctrinal error. You'll see that passages that are more clear in one part of the Bible explain passages that are, by themselves, less clear in others. And you will see that much of the New Testament is an explanation of the Old.

Begin the New Year Right: Will You Take the Challenge?

It's for these reasons, and many more, that we're encouraging our readers and listeners to take the Bible Reading Challenge. We're praying that you will make a commitment to read the Bible all the way through in the coming year -- or better yet, starting today.

God's Word says you need to hear everything He has to say, the full panorama of His plan and your place in it. God wants you to be strong in the faith by being deeply rooted in the Word. He wants parents to be able to instruct their children in the true faith. He wants Christians to be well-developed in their understanding of the broad spectrum of spiritual truth. He wants us, as Christian soldiers to stand fully armored and fully armed for spiritual battle.

The Apostle Paul said that his goal was that every believer would become fully mature in Christ, by being rooted and grounded in the Word (Colossians 1:28-2:10). That's our desire for you as well.

Will you take the Bible Reading Challenge? If so, we'd like to help you by sending you a free Bible reading schedule that will take you through the entire Word of God in a year, in about 20 minutes a day. Click here to request your free copy. Please be sure to include your postal mailing address.


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