Many Christians believe that the Bible should be read from beginning to end. Others say that each book has its own value and purpose. But which is correct?
The Bible has been around since the 4th century BC. There are over 30 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
Each book was first written in Hebrew or Greek, then translated into Latin, and finally translated into English.
While some scholars argue that the Bible was written to be read in chronological order, others claim that it was written in topical order.
Some scholars believe that the Bible should be read in chronological order because they believe that God intended us to read it this way.
They also believe that reading it chronologically helps us to better understand the message of the Bible. So if you want to know what order to read the Bible, then you have come to the right place.
In the article below, we are going to teach you about the different ways the Bible can be read, while also explaining the meaning of each book and its importance to the overall text.
What Order To Read The Bible?
If you have never read the Bible before, then you may be wondering what order you should read it in.
While it is possible to read the Bible in any order you want, there are some methods that are recommended due to their impact and teachings.
However, when it comes to reading the Bible for the first time, it is advisable to read the core books in their original order, as this helps to outline the themes and characters established in the text.
These core books include the following 15 titles:
- Samuel i
- Samuel ii
- Kings i
- Kings ii
By starting with these 15 books, you will gain a better understanding of the Bible’s themes and messages. The remaining 51 books can then be read in any order, as these will help to fill in any missing details.
While this is considered the best way to read the Bible, there are other methods that are recommended for first-time readers.
For example, if you have never read the Bible and don’t know where to start, then you can read the Gospel of Mark to get a feel for the text and its themes.
Not only does this book represent the core beliefs of the Bible, but it also presents a conclusion to the narrative that illustrates the Bible’s purpose.
While we recommended the Gospel of Luke in the section above, the Gospel of Mark presents a more clear idea of Jesus Christ and his teachings.
However, any of the first 3 Gospels in the New Testament can be read to illustrate the Bible’s point. It just so happens that the Gospel of Mark is the most influential and the shortest, with the Gospel being composed of only 16 chapters.
What Are The Core Books About?
In the following section, we have provided a brief overview of each book on our list, so that you can understand the timeline of the Bible’s narrative. This will also prepare you for what each book holds:
Genesis follows the creation of God’s perfect world, which includes the creation of Adam and Eve and their departure from the Garden of Eden.
Following this, God chooses Abraham to redeem the human race, setting his plan in motion to crown Abraham as the father of the nation of Israel.
Exodus sees God release the Israelites from their Egyptian oppressors, leading them to make a covenant with him on Mount Sinai.
God promises to bless the nation if they follow his ways and his rules. This leads to the construction of the Tabernacle and its concealment of the Ark of the Covenant.
(Both Genesis and Exodus are considered 2 of the 5 Books of Law)
Joshua tells the story of a man chosen by God to lead the Israelites from the wilderness, where they had been lost for 40 years.
Through Joshua’s guidance, he is able to lead God’s people to the land of Canaan – the promised land.
Samuel tells of a young man chosen to be a prophet by the Israelites, who tell him to bring Israel to God. Saul, the first king does not follow God’s teachings, and so he is replaced by David, a man chosen by Samuel for his good heart.
Following his crowning, David rules over the nation of Israel for 40 years. In that time, David names Jerusalem as the capital of his new kingdom.
During the height of Israel’s power, Solomon is crowned king and rules the nation until his death. Following this, the nation of Israel is divided into two factions: the Northern region of Israel and the Southern region of Judah.
God chooses Elijah to call the nation of Israel back to him, as the kingdom no longer follows God with the exception of some notable factions.
During this time, the Northern Kingdom is conquered by the Assyrian army and the Southern Kingdom falls to the Babylonians. Because of this, the people of Israel are punished with exile and are sent to Babylon for 70 years.
Ezra tells of a young prophet who leads a group of Jewish people back from Babylon to rebuild the temples of Israel. Ezra then uses his influence to call the nation of Israel back to God’s ways.
Nehemiah follows another prophet who also brings back a group of people from Babylon, where they work to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
(Joshua to Nehemiah are considered to be the Books of History)
Habakkuk follows a group of prophets who call the people of Israel to remain faithful to God.
Some prophets believe that judgment will come down on Babylon and Assyria, while others believe that God will return them to Israel following its invasion.
Habakkuk calls the nation back to God and warns of a Babylonian invasion.
Proverbs is a book of wisdom and beliefs, which is considered to be one of the 5 books of Hebrew poetry.
Luke is the first book from the New Testament on our list. It follows the ministry of Jesus Christ and his disciples.
It was through Jesus that God would demonstrate his power, as Jesus would die for our sins and be born again.
Set after Jesus’s resurrection but before his final ascension, Jesus calls his followers to continue his mission on earth. Once his message has been spread across Israel, then good will triumph all over the world.
(Acts is considered to be the early history of the Christian church)
Ephesians is an example of Paul’s perspective on the Gospel, as it calls people to follow his example and live their life under God’s light.
Revelation is a book of prophecies that follows Jesus’s leadership after the end of the world.
In this book, Jesus returns as a bridegroom to claim his bride (his followers) and to judge the nations of the earth. Following this, Jesus restores God’s original plan and creates a new heaven and a new earth.
Are There Other Ways To Read The Bible?
Another common way to read the Bible is by going back and forth between the books of the Old and New Testaments. For example, you can start with Genesis and then read Luke before starting Exodus, etc.
However, it is also possible to read both the Old and New Testaments simultaneously, such as reading a few chapters of Genesis before reading a few chapters of Luke.
Through this method, you can learn more about both Testaments and gain a better understanding of the Bible’s core themes.
Of course, if you want to read the Bible in chronological order, then that is also a viable option.
However, we do recommend purchasing a Bible that has been structured in chronological order if possible, as this will make the overall reading process a lot smoother and more educational.
So what is the best order to read the Bible?
Well, there isn’t one. While some believe that you have to read the Bible in its original form, this is not a belief held by all Christians, as the text can be approached from various angles and viewpoints.