How to approach reading the Bible in its entirety?

Discussion in 'Questions for Christians (Q&A)' started by Silmarien, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Silmarien

    Silmarien Member

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    I've read bits and pieces in the past, but I'm hoping to do a full readthrough now. My only question is whether to start with the Old Testament or the New Testament.

    My preference would be to start with the New Testament--it seems more foundational than the Old Testament, and I'm honestly really interested in reading it in its entirety right now regardless of how much I end up believing. I do intend to get to the Old Testament too, of course, but... I'm familiar with what's in there and I know picking it as a starting place is only going to cause me problems.

    Would I be missing too much context starting with the New Testament? Is there a preferred order to reading through the Bible that isn't immediately obvious?
     
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  2. Roro1972

    Roro1972 Member

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    I am sure some will disagree with me but I just read it straight through starting at the beginning. once I did that I thought it would help my memory if I read it again. of course it did not help my memory the second time so I read straight through a third time and made notes to any verse or passage that I wanted to find again that I though was important . since that time I have read most every chapter without any order at all.
     
  3. Papa Zoom

    Papa Zoom Staff Member Moderator

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    Some say start with John's gospel. There is a chronological Bible I think that puts things in a different order. One thing I like to do in adittion to reading is listening to it on my mp3 player. Also some of the free apps have the whole Bible recorded. I listen to it before I go to bed and when I'm doing chores or driving.
     
  4. Roro1972

    Roro1972 Member

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    yes you are right I have a chronological bible and also I have the talking bible they are good additions to my kjv.
     
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  5. Pegasus

    Pegasus Member

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    There are great digital Bible reading plans with the YouVersion App.

    I prefer using the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan. It takes you through the NT and psalms twice in a year and the remainder of the OT once in a year. Usually 5 readings a day from both the OT and NT.

    For example, you start with Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Ezra 1 and Acts 1 on the first day and progress from there.

    You can download the App from whatever App store you have or at Bible.com

    You can then read from any device including your lap top, cell, tablet or desktop. The YouVersion server keeps track of your progress and records your highlights, bookmarks, notes and you can share and cut and paste. Really neat App. Oh and the best part is there are several Bible versions to choose from. I believe they have every English language Bible on their server and you can download quite a few of them and use them when you do not have an internet connection.



    I would add this is reading through the Bible. It is still important to also conduct a Bible study at the same time with your church group. This is slower paced and you learn more.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. Edward

    Edward Member

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    My thoughts are that it's one book, not two. So I started at the beginning. The old testament is the new testament (concealed), and the new testament is the old testament revealed.

    The old testament, to me, is very foundational. I think the best approach is to start at the beginning.
     
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  7. JohnDB

    JohnDB Staff Member Moderator

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    There are several reading plans for someone wanting to do just this.

    How fast did you wish to finish this project?

    There are one year plans and 7 year and 9 year and 13 year plans. (The longer ones being more study than flat reading)

    Whichever one you choose...it's always good.
    Things like context, occasion for writing, date of writing all are relevant before reading.

    The Jewish method is that you don't simply read it but actually memorize it. They would memorize the first five books of the Old Testament word for word. (In Hebrew it is all poetic so it was easier)

    There are many apps and reading plans out there. Simply downloading a Bible onto your phone is extremely helpful. They have all kinds of things to help you read on a schedule.
     
  8. WIP

    WIP Staff Member Administrator

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    I've also found it helpful to find an audio Bible to listen to it. I especially like the NIV Dramatized Version I found at BibleGateway.com. It really helped bring the Scriptures to life.

    In doing this I especially noticed how often the text, particularly in the Old Testament, is pointing to how God wants us to know Hiim. It stuck out at me so much that I eventually felt a need to give it a little study and using the NKJV I found 134 references in the OT to God, in one way or another, declaring that He is God. I also found 133 references in the OT to God, in one way or another, saying something like, "So you will know that I am God." Finally, I found about 35 references to Jesus making similar statements.
     
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  9. Roro1972

    Roro1972 Member

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    Yes sir WIP; I like mine too. I also bought the Tim La Haye Prophecy Bible It has so much extra information and charts and tables in it about many topics I would recommend it to anyone.
     
  10. smaller

    smaller Member

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    For starters if you just read through, are even able to read through the 4 Gospels of the N.T. you'd be doing good.

    I challenged a friend of mine many years ago to do the above. He wasn't saved at the time. But assured me he could easily read through the 4 Gospels. I gave him one of my Bibles, and paper clipped the 4 Gospels together to mark them for him.

    He said fear not! I read the book Hawaii! It's 700 pages!

    A few months later I asked him how he was doing on the reading. He was seriously, not ABLE to get through those 4 Gospels. He said it was the strangest thing when he started reading, it was like the words just weren't coming to him, he couldn't understand it, and it would almost put him to sleep.

    Didn't surprise me. Romans 11:8 is a working reality to this day.
     
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  11. Silmarien

    Silmarien Member

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    Thanks, everyone! Comments about how the two work together--concealed and revealed and so forth--actually leave me more inclined to start with the NT. It's easier to notice things when you know what you're looking for.

    I do really like the idea of starting at multiple points, though.

    Honestly... as quickly as possible, within reason. My goal isn't precisely to study it right now so much as to have a more complete picture of it in order to make an informed decision. I'm still very much on the fence and am going to need to dig more deeply into theology and apologetics to really be able to start drawing conclusions, but heading in that direction without actually being properly versed in Scripture seems a bit backwards.
     
  12. wondering

    wondering Member

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    Hi Silmarien
    I never would recommend starting with the O.T.
    People who try that end up giving up.
    Once you become interested in the Bible and have come to believe and trust in God, then it's a good idea to do what Roro did and just read thru from beginning to end.

    I would suggest starting with the N.T. since that is where we meet Jesus - the reason we have Christianity!
    I would not recommend a digital Bible. Get a Bible that has a look that is pleasing to you and that you'll enjoy reading. The best version, in my opinion, is the NASB, especially for study - it's the best for translation from the Greek.

    Also, try to get a study Bible and read the introduction to each book.

    Each book of the bible is written for a different reason.

    Mathew was written for the Jews. It has the most references to the OT. It tells of the teachings of Christ, the most important being in chapters 5 to 7, incl the beatitudes. He proves Jesus to be the awaited Messiah.

    Mark tells of what Jesus did, and His miracles.

    Luke writes for the gentiles and is historic. There you'll find the story of Christmas.

    John is the most spiritual and shows how Jesus is God in the flesh.

    Acts speaks about what happened to the apostles after Jesus ascended into heaven.

    Romans contains all the theology we need to know.

    Happy reading.

    Wondering
     
  13. JohnDB

    JohnDB Staff Member Moderator

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    Well there is a thing called halakh...a Jewish word meaning the walk.

    It's a system of YOUR question and answering them...but in the process of answering the question you gain more questions and seeking those answers which then causes more questions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
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  14. WIP

    WIP Staff Member Administrator

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    Pretty much what happens every time I read or hear the Bible.
     
  15. Not_Now.Soon

    Not_Now.Soon Member

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    A few thoughts.

    If you start with Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John; you will get the most exposure of Jesus's teachings, His ministry, and His miracles. I would start there then from there descide between continuing on through the new Testament which is a lot about the teachings and growth for the church, as well as in the book of Acts, glimps of history early in Christianity. Or the other route is after reading the gospels (and possibly Acts) start back at the beginning of the bible for the foundations that Jesus spoke from and the history and prophies that fill in more understanding.

    If you want context of Israel before Jesus came, but not get dulled down with the early books of law, then an alternative thought is to start at the books of the prophets from Isaiah on. They give a good amount of prophesy for both Israel, and for Jesus's coming, but also add the historical context of Israel's transfer from being it's own sovereign nation to being under the rule of empires till Jesus returned. At least that context might help with what the Israelis looked forward to with the promises of Jesus coming. Being under the rule of others for so long. That's the method I'm trying to do now. That said thought I've already read through the bible some time ago, and accepted God some time before that. So if you want to make a descision on Christianity I'd still recommend starting with the New Testiment, expecially if you feel drawn to go that direction.

    Last thought is that I highly recommend for you to pray before reading. The reason is simple. You want to make a decision on Christianity, or at least a descision if the texts in the bible are from God. If both are true, that Christianity is worth pursuing, and that the books in the bible are from God; then asking for God's help while reading it hopefully will only invite God's Holy Spirit to help you as you read it. If you already believe in God this shouldn't be a hard issue and that trust and belief in God might be all you need to get a better picture that The Bible is from God too. But if you don't believe in God, it's expecially more important to try and pray so that God's invited to read with you and show that He shows Himself to you. A simple prayer saying "if you're real, please read this with me and guide my learning," is all you really need. But I really incourage you to do this if your serious about looking having faith in Jesus and being a Christian.
     
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  16. Silmarien

    Silmarien Member

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    Haha, yes, that is what I was worried about. I've read (or at least started) Genesis a bunch of times, and I think I've gotten through Revelation, but everything in between is uncharted territory!

    I think I'll have to stick with my 60 year old family Bible for now. It very much looks its age, but if I bought a new one, I think it'd have to be a Spanish one, and I'd need to take a look at the versions to decide whether I could handle the more antiquated one. I've been trying to read some 16th century Spanish mysticism and the language is wild.

    Thank you for the suggestions, and have a Merry Christmas everyone!

    That is fantastic advice, thank you. You'd be surprised at how difficult it can be to know how to pray even if you do believe in God, though! That part I'm only figuring out slowly, probably because the focus is generally on petitionary prayer instead of contemplative prayer, and I'm much more comfortable with the latter.

    Prayer is a very good idea, though (if I don't completely misinterpret any response), since I am definitely in a tricky situation. Starting as an inerrantist and eventually moving away from that position as a person of faith has got to be hard enough, but falling all the way down the rabbit hole of Biblical errancy as a nonbeliever and then realizing, "Wait, maybe there's something there after all" is the very height of insanity. I can't and won't adopt a literalist view, but... I do want to come back to the faith. I just need to make sure I can in a way that's both intellectually honest and not complete heresy. I think it's possible--I can believe in miracles and Christ as God is not too big a jump for me, but I'm a firm believer in historical context and Scripture having actual human authors who had actual motives and prejudices, up to and including the Apostles, and that is going to be hard to untangle without everything falling apart. So I get to desperately search for footholds right now.

    I did go to an Episcopalian service last night and do plan to go back. If I'm ever comfortable accepting communion, it'll be time to change my status here, but that's going to take a while.
     
  17. ezra

    ezra Member

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    just read it i have read it through one time .i started in genesis finished up in rev. book of john is good to read. i do favor o.t to n.t .as has been stated there are many reading plans. you do what seems comfortable
     
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  18. Not_Now.Soon

    Not_Now.Soon Member

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    Glad you like that. Some things on prayer that I've found that might be worth considering. One thing is that Jesus said for us to call God Father. Apparently the more correct translation is even less formal, calling Him "Daddy" or "dada." If these things are worth considering then coming to God with the same attitude you'd come to you own dad might be a good start for aproaching prayer. Both the respect you would have coming to your own dad, but also the love you know that comes from your dad influence how you approach your dad. If you can imagine God in a simular way it might make it easier to talk to God about any thing. Petitions; joys, sorrows and thanks; praise and contemplative thoughts; even asking God for direction when you don't know what to do, or even ask for help about. That last one asking for God's will and His direction is really important I think, but for me it's been a slow realization about this because I never understood His will, so I didn't know if I was following it or not. So I've come to a conclusion that my understanding is second to my trust. If I trust God then I don't need to always understand everything. Understanding worth it, and very good. But trust in God is of higher value.

    Second thing to keep in mind with prayer is that God is smart and in control. I've heard of at least a few tips and tricks for prayer in order to get what you want. Follow the formula and you can get what you want sort of thinking. If at all possible when (or if) you hear of these methods of prayer, consider what they say that has merit (if anything), and keep in mind that God is smarter then us as well as really in control. So be sincere and stay humble.

    Third thought is about listening. Or even being quiet before God. I don't know much about this aspect of prayer, but I think it's worth considering and looking into. The best I can think about it is like being silent with a friend near by. Sometimes words aren't needed. Trying to clear our mind and be near God while saying nothing might be like it.

    One more thing about prayer is from my Grandma regarding the prayer Jesus taught to pray. If you keep these things in mind it might give more thoughts on other things to include in our prayers.

    The prayer as I know it:

    "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who've sinned against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen."

    As my grandma taught it, she said that the first part of the prayer was not just praying for God's name to be honored, His Kingdom to come, and for His will; but possibly that that was also (or instead) recoginizing that God's name is Honored, His Kingdom has come. And on earth and in Heaven His will is done. The second part of the prayer is for us, so that we are keeping with the first part honoring God, following Him, and being in His Kingdom. First asking for our daily bread, which I've always heard mean providing for our daily needs. But from my grandma, she pointed out that Jesus has said He is the bread of Life. Suggesting that asking for our daily bread is also (or instead) meaning to ask for Jesus in us daily. Then forgive our sins and as we forgive those who sin against us. Jesus already taught more on this, emphizing that we are forgiven by God, only if we forgive as well. Also asking to not be tempted and to be saved from evil is part asking God to guard our hearts from sinning, as well as potentially taking us out of those situtions that have evil in them, or delivering us through those instances that are evil and wrong, or evil and trying to harm us.

    I wish I could say it the way I was told by my grandma, but it was several years ago, and she's no longer here to ask anymore. If you can trust God though I think that's the most important part. In both our faith and our prayers. The more we are able to trust and know how to trust, the easier it is to have faith in God, and to bring anything to God, talking to Him in prayer. You can build trust too. Just like learning how much you can trust another person, and getting to to know them increases this in a friendship, I think it's the same way with God. Trusting Him gets real easy (in my opinion) when you see Him do things that strengthen that trust.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
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  19. th1b.taylor

    th1b.taylor Member

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    My preferred way of reading through kjs to do just that, begin with genesis 1 and finish with Revelation 22. God has seen to how it was written and He saw to how it was bound and assembled together. And then there is the truth that the Bible Jesus taught from is what men have renamed the Old Testament. If you buy a Bible that is extensively Chain Referenced, you can see that the 27 books of the New Testament are Commentaries on the Bible He taught from.
     
  20. Mike

    Mike Member

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    I have a fair amount of drive time in my work week, and I listen to a podcast that pulls chapters from the old and new testament each day. They're all stored up so you can start at any point and take it from there. After the readings, there is commentary. Interestingly, each week he uses a different version Bible. I've only kept up with it for about a month now. Hopefully, he sticks to solid versions. So far, so good.

    I have read thru from beginning to end in a year before. I don't know if I could keep up that diligent schedule with my current weekly routine. I think it's better when you don't have a fixed time frame. Some days it can get to feel like homework.
     
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