Ever wonder the best order to read the Bible for the first time?
(Or maybe you’re not a new believer and just want to know the best way to read the Bible. You’re welcome here too!)
When I first started trying to read the Bible, I wanted to know the best order to read the Bible for new believers. Even after I believed for a while, I still had big questions about the Bible such as what book of the Bible such as what book in the Bible I should read first. I looked up several new believer’s Bible reading plans without luck on one that worked for me.
Why was that? Because I was (and am) an easily distracted soul.
First, I tried starting with Genesis and reading it like any other book- front to back. I would do great until about Genesis 4 when it came to the list of names…and then I would lose steam and give up.
I then tried a chronological reading Bible. Which is AMAZING if you’re disciplined. Me? Not so much. I struggle to stay consistent and create healthy habits.
Finally, after many attempts, it dawned on me…if I was going to read the Bible, I would need a plan that was mostly ADHD-proof. There were none I could find out there so I had to create my own.
And now that I’ve tried it and it’s worked, I want to share it with you.
But before I start I want to make one thing clear: this Bible study reading guide, while it gives order to read the Bible for new believers, keeps two things in mind:
- This was written specifically for people like me who struggle to easily find a rhythm in life and get distracted easily
- This gives a LOT of room to invite God in just in case He calls you to read a different part of the Bible. God knows best.
- This is not a conventional order to read the Bible for new believers. It is unconventional on purpose- I had to try something new, and so if you’ve tried other reading plans and have given up, this one is for you.
The Best Order to Read the Bible for the First Time: Where to start reading in the Bible for new believers
“Where in the Bible should I start reading first?” This is a common question and with good reason. Almost all of us have asked this at some point in our Bible-reading lives.
Before we can even jump into the order to read the Bible, it is important to know where in the Bible we should start reading first.
Most people recommend either at the beginning (Genesis) or one of the gospels. The reason that most people recommend the gospels is that they show the whole story of Jesus, which can help a lot of questions for a new believer.
Yet, when most of us come to the faith, we have deeper questions than just things that have to do with the life of Jesus.
In the midst of trying to figure out what book of the Bible to read, and intense Googling, God answered the prayer that I hadn’t prayed. My friend texted me a website in which a Jesuit man went deep into this.
I wish I knew who gave me this piece of advice. If I ever figure out exactly who it was, I will 100 percent make sure to give them credit here.
But this man recommended to start with the Book of Job.
If we start our reading of the Bible with one of the world’s biggest questions, the rest of the Bible can be used to help us seek the godly answer.
Think about it. One of the biggest barriers to us accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is that we can’t help but wonder: why do bad things happen in the world?
Spoiler alert: the Book of Job doesn’t give an exact answer to it.
Actually, the first time I read the Book of Job, it was a bit of a letdown. I go through all of these chapters with these horrible things happening to Job- and God letting it happen!- to basically be told at the end that God is God. (Okay, it’s actually a lot deeper than that. But that’s how I felt the first time I read it. Hopefully one day I can write a whole thing on Job, but that’s not the focus of this right now.)
Yet, Job is packed with wisdom on how to respond to situations that don’t seem right. And then the rest of the Bible is a light that explains why God works the way that He works.
So if you’re trying to figure out where to start reading in the Bible, I recommend starting with Job. Tackle one of life’s largest questions first and then let job, and then the rest of the Bible, answer it.
Best order to read the Bible for the first time
But then that leaves a bigger question…After Job, what is the best order to read the Bible for the first time?
And again, my answer is going to be a bit different from most people’s answer. Be sure I found what works best for me and my scatterbrained procrastination lifestyle.
Ever heard of Dave Ramsey? Dave Ramsey is a Christian personality that teaches people Baby Steps to Financial Freedom.
In the second baby step, he teaches people to pay off debt by “snowballing the debt.” (Stick with me here.) This means instead of paying things off by interest level, you start with the smallest debt, and pay off smallest to biggest.
To many financial advisors, this does not make mathematical sense. Wouldn’t we want to pay off which debt has the highest interest rate, as it would save the most amount of money in the end?
According to Mr. Ramsey, no. The reason that he has people pay smallest debt to largest debt is that “it’s not about math.” He believes that if it was about math, we wouldn’t have gotten into debt in the first place. We as humans need to feel successful crossing off something, and as we do that our momentum increases.
And that friends, is how I approach the Bible.
Before, it wasn’t a heart matter for me that I didn’t read the Bible daily. It was because of time, distractions, sickness, you name it. Anything the enemy could throw at me to stop me from reading God’s word, He would.
I would read the Bible for a few days, then miss a day for whatever reason, then feel defeated. Then, all the lies would creep in. One day became a few, and then eventually I would just fall out of a habit.
But what if, for the first time reading the whole Bible, we did it differently?
What if we had a snowball method of Bible reading success? What if we started with the shortest books of the Bible, until we proved to ourselves that we could do it?
Now I don’t mean snowball the whole method, because that would leave all the large books for last.
But what if we could jumpstart that way?
With Pray With Confidence’s plan to read the Bible, it starts with Job, and then the !,ten shortest books of the Bible. If you want that for free, download the bookmark here.
New believer’s Bible reading plan
To read the whole Bible though, we only start with the snowball method. From there, I intertwine a short book, then a longer book, then a handful of Psalms. I also include how to pray the psalms as an included bonus so we are praying as we read the Bible.
We are waiting until we have enough interest to start this as a group. Join our email community to be notified when this starts!
To summarize- if you are looking for what book of the Bible to start when reading the Bible for the first time, I highly recommend the Book of Job. The rest of the Bible can be used to answer the biggest questions in Job.
After Job, I recommend reading the 10 shortest books of the Bible first. You can download this free printable bookmark here that lists them.
Jessie Synan is a Master’s student in Biblical Studies who helps other women find their prayer focus in a distracted world. She went from her ADHD interfering with her prayer life to finding her own unique rhythms for prayer and encouraging other women to do the same. She is the founder of Pray With Confidence, which has helped over 5000 women focus on prayer through the real and vulnerable advice she gives to those on her email list when they sign up for the free guide “How to pray [when you can’t focus.]”