Where To Begin In The Bible... Even If You Hate Reading
Jamey Escamilla • October 29, 2020
The number one question from people who want to begin reading the Bible is:
“Where do I begin?”
I’ll answer that in just a sec.
But if no one has told you yet, let me tell you…
I’m proud of you.
For whatever reason you want to begin reading it, it’s never a bad idea to do so.
We all know that the Bible is full of some valuable stuff.
You might not even fully believe in God yet.
But you’re doing something awesome by saying, “Let me at least be open to it, and see what all the fuss is about.”
There’s nothing wrong with that.
So, you probably already googled it – where do I start??
And that means you’ve probably gotten 100 different answers.
So which one is right? Where do I begin reading my Bible?
Tip: Don’t start at the beginning.
Why starting at the beginning might not be a good idea
The natural tendency is usually just to pick it up and start reading on page one.
Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning…”
Seems like a natural good place to start.
This is how I first read through my Bible – Genesis to Revelation.
But here’s why this method might not be a good way for you.
It’ll take a long time, and time is something that not a lot of people have today.
It can be discouraging at times, because you have such a big task in front of you.
The Old Testament is full of books that you might find boring, like Leviticus.
You might not like to read at all, so reading the WHOLE Bible might turn you off.
Since this will be a lot of reading, you might spread your reading over several months, which is an unrealistic schedule. The longer it takes, the more likely you won’t do it.
The Old Testament can be confusing, because it’s not always in chronological order. It jumps around.
New readers can get confused as to how different the Old and New Testaments are.
So if you’re a new reader, I would actually not suggest to start reading in Genesis.
Now remember, this is not set in stone. This is just my opinion.
You might find some other weird Bible reading plans such as these:
Start with Proverbs or Psalms, then go back and start at the beginning.
Reading the first five books of the Old Testament and then skipping around to other stories.
Again, it doesn’t really matter where you start.
But here’s how I wish I would have began reading the Bible when I first started:
Read the New Testament first.
Start with Matthew, and read to the end.
Once you’re finished with the New Testament, and when you get time, begin a reading plan to read the Old Testament.
Then, if you have time, read the New Testament again.
Why is this a better way to read the Bible?
I think of it as watching a prequel to a movie, like the Lord of the Rings.
They first came out with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
At the end of this trilogy, it was the absolute end. No more story to be told.
But next, they came out with the prequels – the Hobbit trilogy.
This trilogy told the story of the events that happened before the Lord of the Rings.
When you lay a series of movies out like this, the entire story is more easily understood.
Like in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit story.
Because we began with the latter part of this entire story, the events in the old days made more sense.
We were able to connect the dots in a unique way, and the story seemed to flow easier.
That’s my theory about reading the Bible as a beginner.
If you start with the New Testament, the Old Testament might make more sense.
You’ll be able to connect the dots and say, “OK, this is why Jesus said that.”
So, read the New Testament first, which begins in Matthew.
Then, read the Old Testament all the way through.
Then, when you get time, read the New Testament again.
Then the Bible will REALLY make sense.
Also, beginning with the New Testament is a more realistic goal for new readers.
It’s significantly shorter and easier to read.
And the New Testament tells the story of the New Covenant, which is where we’re at now.
So it kind of makes sense to first understand where we’re at NOW, and then look at where we’ve come from.
You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment once you read the New Testament all the way through.
It will give you the confidence to go on into the Old Testament afterwards.
Which Bible translation should I use?
Again, this is just my opinion.
But I would go with the Christian Standard Bible, if you’re just starting out.
There are tons of translations out there, and people will fight over which one to use.
But don’t fight, just read.
Look, there’s two things Christians should look for in a Bible translation:
Readability and Literal Rendering.
Readability is how easy a Bible translation is to read for us American, English Christians.
Literal Rendering is how true the translation is to the original Greek text.
Some translations are harder to understand than others.
So as a beginner, you should care about both factors in a Bible translation, but put more emphasis on the readability for now.
Because you just need something easy to read.
However, the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a nice balance between readability and literal rendering.
Look at this chart:
The NLT (New Living Translation) is the easiest to read.
But honestly, I hate the way it translates some things.
Look at how far away it is from being true to the original text (Literal).
“But didn’t you say to choose one that’s more readable?”
Yes. And you CAN use the NLT if you’d like. I have one, and use it sometimes.
But there are some places in it that I feel are VERY poorly translated.
So much so that it completely distorts the original meaning and gives another meaning.
Now look at the KJV (King James Version).
It’s very true to the original text, but hard to read for beginners.
If thou willest read it, verily, verily, thou shalt comprehend what I doeth speak of.
The NIV (New International Version) is good for beginners, too.
But just start with the CSB. It’s a nice balance.
I use this one a lot, and trust me, it’s very easy to read, just like the NIV.
But the CSB is also truer to the original text.
So go with the CSB, for now.
Now just to let you guys know, we've created a New Testament reading plan that starts at the beginning of the 2021.
We’ll start reading January 4, and end on February 26.
This is going to be a cool reading plan.
We’re just going to read the New Testament, and it’ll take only 40 days.
Also, you won’t have to read on weekends.
Doing it this way, you’ll only have to read a few minutes on business days.
If you want to do this with us, click the button below to get the reading plan for FREE:
What better way to start the year than with the Bible, learning about the New Testament?
I hope this blog answers your question!
Let me know what you think!