Bible Reading: Order of Books to Read?

When asked where someone “new to the Bible” should start reading, I suggested that they begin with the Gospels, specifically Mark and John. But, they also wanted to know where to go from there.

Scripture Testifies About Jesus
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I don’t believe there is any one set right order of the books of the Bible someone unfamiliar with Scripture should follow.

But, I do believe it helps to first understand God’s central theme and gain a big picture before getting into some of the more detailed or harder to read books.

The Gospels of Mark and John

By beginning with the Gospels of Mark and John, we get a picture of the One around whom the Bible revolves, Jesus.

Genesis and Exodus

Next I would suggest going to the beginning of the Bible to read Genesis and Exodus where we learn why Jesus dying on the cross was necessary. The last half of Exodus gets into some details of the law and tabernacle.  For this reason some would say people new to reading the Bible should not get into this book already. But, I believe it gives you a backdrop for the next books I suggest reading. Bear with it to give yourself a concept of the tediousness of keeping the law.

Romans and Galatians

After reading Genesis and Exodus, you might want to go back to the New Testament to read the books of Romans and Galatians. These books lay out how keeping the law which you just would have read about in Genesis and Exodus was not sufficient to save people.

1 John

Maybe it’s now time for gaining some assurances of life in Him and God’s love for us. Since second and third John are short, you might want to just finish reading through them.

Matthew and Luke

From there we might want to take in some more details about Jesus.

Acts

Luke ends with Jesus being taken up into heaven so why not read about what happened next. The book of Acts provides a historical account of the beginning of the Church.

Ephesians

The book of Ephesians gives more understanding of the Church as well as our identity in Christ.

Colossians

Continue on to Colossians to reinforce the supremacy of Christ.

The Rest of the Books

Reading the above mentioned books should give you a good basis for then getting back to all the other New Testament and Old Testament books. Keep in mind that there will be some harder to read, more detailed parts, but having already read the books listed above, you have a better foundation.

You might also want to read through the following articles to get a big picture flow of the Bible which could give you an idea of where some of the harder to read books of the Bible fit God’s plan.

The above articles are geared to Bible teachers but anyone can gain a fairly good overview of the Bible by reading through these articles.

15 Replies to “Bible Reading: Order of Books to Read?”

    • You are most welcome, Jessica. Blessings in our Lord!

    • Wonderful, Anastasia! I pray you get to know God better and better as you read His Word!

  1. Thank you so much. As just coming into my faith, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. This is a great starting point for me.

    • Praise God for that, Dan. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus as you read His Word and get to know Him more and more. He will be faithful!

      • Reading your response brought tears of joy. Thank you very much. On a side note, do you offer Podcasts? I spend a lot of time in the car for work.

        • You are most welcome, Dan. At this time there are no podcasts. But, if you do an Internet search using a term like ‘Christian Podcasts’ you will find some good ones. May God bless you!

          • Thank you for taking the time to help me. This is a great site that actually cares about the people that visit it. I thank God for giving you a voice to help those that are seeking guidance on their journey to having a more intimate relationship with God. I truly thank you Ministry Tools Resource Center.

  2. Wonderful.. This is really a great information. God bless you and continue to use you

    • Praise God for your assessment, Daisy. May God bless you as well and continue to grow you in your walk with Him as you spend time with Him through His Word

  3. Thank you so much, I will give it a go and hopefully I will get a better understanding of the Bible.

    • Wonderful, Amy! As you read, especially the first time through, try to look at the big picture rather than get caught up in all details and things you maybe won’t quite understand. Try to grasp more about the character and ways of God as you read and why He is worthy of your trust and worship.

      • I will do. Thank you very much for the advice. I have also been praying, asking God to help me to understand His ways and the words of the Bible. I’m not a Christian as i wasn’t Christened as a baby & left school early. But i have always been interested in Religion and I am in the process of trying to become one. So hopefully I’ll succeed in my learning. Thank you again.

        • You are welcome, Amy. Another thing to look for as you read through the Bible is how God does for us, what we can’t do for ourselves. Over and over we read how people just couldn’t cut it trying to be good enough for a holy God on their own. The Bible is actually a love story about God understanding this about us but still wanting to be in a relationship with us. It’s why when you get to the New Testament that you read how God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die to take the punishment we deserve. It’s the biggest example in the Bible of how God does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. It’s called grace. We read verses in the Bible similar to, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” — So, being a Christian is more than having a religion with creeds and a set of rules to follow. It’s about coming into a relationship with God, made possible through Jesus. As you read through the Old Testament, you’ll see how their religious activity ultimately didn’t work. They needed God to do for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. And so it is with us too!