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Reading the Bible—A Library of Books

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If you had 66 books written about automobiles sitting on a shelf, some would make sense to a beginner and others would be understandable only to someone who had read most of the other books already. The Bible is the same way, since it is essentially a library of 66 books. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is a great foundation for the “library,” but it is not necessarily a good starting place for a “beginner.”

We recommend starting with the book of Mark. It is the second book in the New Testament, toward the back of the Bible. Basically, it is a “biography” of Jesus, as reported by the writer Mark. It is one of four such books in the Bible. (You can come back and read the other “biographies” later.) By the way, do not let some words or terms you do not understand frustrate you. Please realize you just started reading in the “library” and will not understand everything. If you understand 80% of what is going on, you are doing fine.

Most experienced Christians will pray for a minute or so before reading the Bible. We know that may sound strange. The idea is that although the writings can be hard to understand at first, God will help you understand His book if you ask. If praying makes no sense to you, just go ahead and read. If you try prayer and it helps, then keep doing it!

After reading Mark, we recommend reading the book called “Acts,” the fifth book in the New Testament. It describes the adventures of a number of the people who walked the Earth with Jesus. You will find that Acts is an interesting book.

After reading Acts, we recommend reading the next book in the Bible, the book of “Romans.” You will notice that this book is quite different from the first two you read, yet it will “tie in” with what the other two books covered. If you read terms you do not understand, ignore them for now. Keep reading and learn what you can. You will understand more as you go through the rest of the Bible “library.” Remember, you are getting a peek into the mind of God. If God is really God, you will not be able to understand everything perfectly the first time through!

Then we recommend reading the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. We understand that reading it fourth may not make much sense now, but it will later.

After you complete these first four books, read a book of your choice in the New Testament. Then go back to the Old Testament and read a book of your choice there. Keep on going back and forth. Note: some premium bibles have two bookmarks (ribbons attached to the spine of the bible), allowing you to keep one bookmark in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.

Note: Perhaps knowing the subjects and stories covered in each book of the Bible would help. If you would like to learn more, click here.

You will finish the “books” in the “New Testament library” first, since there are fewer books in the New Testament. That is not a problem. Start reading the New Testament books again. Remember when we told you not to worry if you did not understand everything the first time you read it? You will now be able to understand much more, since you have read most of the “library” by now. (Going back to our example of a library of automobile books, does it make sense that you will understand each book—and automobiles—better after you have read the entire library of 66 books? The same is true of the Bible.) Once you have read the Bible all the way through, it becomes amazing how well everything fits together and applies to your life.

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