For a Beginning Reader – How do you read it?

Starting today my wife has begun to read the bible with more depth. Today she read the first chapter of Luke and gave me her feedback on what she read – which I find totally awesome of her. She has never read the bible for herself – so for her this is a major step in formulating opinions about the stuff she reads. So what does it all mean?

How should she read the bible? What do you suggest she do in reading the bible? Which book is a good place to start – and then where to next? Just some questions – but basically – how should she read the bible?

I suggested she start at Luke and read a bit at a time. Why Luke? Well it’s a gospel coated in really colorful language and has many a parable to learn from. Also my perspective is the gospels are of great importance and reading them (or even one of them) is a good introduction to this faith. I also feel Luke was a great writer and tried to encapsulate the whole story of Jesus’ life – originally to Theophilus – but I told my wife ‘imagine he wrote this to you to read’. I think that makes some sense.

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17 thoughts on “For a Beginning Reader – How do you read it?

  1. I try to read the scriptures from a spiritual perspective. In other words, not everything is literal in the physical sense. But hey, that’s just me!

  2. I think Luke is a great place to start. I also enjoyed Psalms and Proverbs a great deal when I first started reading the Bible. It was also helpful for me to begin my reading with prayer and asking the Holy Spirit’s guidance in understanding. I think Paul’s writings were the most difficult at first and now those books written through him have become like my own thoughts.:0) I’m excited for your wife and for you too. My husband was not a believer for the first ten years of our marriage and when he accepted Jesus and that spiritual dimension was added to our relationship, it made a world of difference.

    Pam

  3. Hello SocietyVs, thanks for directing me here to your site. I think Luke is an ideal place to start reading the Bible – thank goodness she is not trying to start in Genesis. Many people crash and burn by trying it that way.
    I suggest a sampler at first. Luke is good for a gospel. Maybe one of Paul’s letters next like Galatians. In the Old Testament, maybe Genesis, Ecclesiastes and Daniel. Then back to the Gospels. Or something like that – I have always recommended skipping around to get the essentials.

  4. Hi society
    Good choice of a starting point. Since John’s gospel was written last, it reads better after the others. So I recommend reading Matthew and Mark, then John, and then Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, and then Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah. Paul’s letters were predicated on a thorough understanding of all that came before, so his letters are best read last.

    But Pam said it best, ask the Holy Spirit; let Him guide you. And don’t forget to read a whole chapter at a time. Individual verses can be misinterpreted by a new believer.
    Good luck.
    BTW, MOst scholars believe that Theophilus was not a real person. It means simply “lover of God”. Luke and John are indeed writing the letter and addressing it to us.

  5. Jim Jordan, you make an interesting selection. I once read the New Testament in the (approximate) order that it was written, and tried to understand how the New Testament as each new part was written. Start with Paul – Galatians, 1 Thess, Romans.. etc, then move to Mark, Matt, Luke, and go from there. It was very illuminating.

  6. Thanks for some of the illuminations peeps – I will get my wife to read these comments and so what she thinks. But I like the suggestions – they are unique to each person in some way.

  7. Hey, Heissailing – for some reason on your site I cannot post. It says ‘say it’ at the bottom – I press that – and then it gives me a weird error message of ‘enter e-mail and password’ – is there something I have to do to comment on your site. Besides your my new flavor of the week.

  8. societyvs – lucky I caught this comment –
    Try commenting again – I have a couple of new ones in the last 1/2 hour, and I just tested a bogus comment. Looks like they are all going through just fine.

    And yes – earlychristianwritings.com is an excellent resource, along with earlyjewishwritings.com – I have wasted many hours at both places.

  9. All good suggestions from everyone, and starting with Luke is a good base, I have always heard start with the gospels and then do some basics from the Old Testament…can’t add to anything here, some good feedback already

  10. “Error: please fill the required fields (name, email).”

    HeisSailing – this is the comment I always get when I post – it seems to recognize me as ‘signed in’ already – then I press ‘say it’ and that’s what I get…weird? Is there a solution?

    Bruced and Mygarden thanks for the comments – I appreciate that and I will check out that site Bruced (and I saw Heissailing added a place also – which I will also check).

  11. I agree with My Garden that these are all good suggestions. I usually tell people to start with the gospels, as they do give an account of Christ’s ministry and life, which is fundamental in my mind, but are easier reading as well.

    When I first began reading the Bible I was a duck out of water. No one told me anything in terms of where to begin…I made the mistake of beginning in Genesis…by the time I hit Leviticus and Numbers, I was very overwhelmed. It was only when my husband and I started dating, that he headed me in the right direction of where to begin reading.

    So Society, you are a very good husband, to support and guide your wife, in order for her to get the most out of her reading.

  12. I was just talking to someone and they also said that reading the King James Version Bible can be cumbersome at times when you are a first reader, and that another tip would be to get something like the Message Bible or New Living Translation for a Beginner, just because it is an easier read when reading for the first time…

  13. We use the ‘free’ Gideon’s version – New American Standard Bible – and I actually really like the version.

    Thanks Cinder – I try.

  14. Through a friend’s blog I was introduced to Real Live Preacher and a series of short homemade clips on reading the Bible that I think are very helpful. There’s about seven (I think) seven minute clips now and you can access them all on this page… http://www.reallivepreacher.com/taxonomy/term/102. I found them both enjoyable (he has an interesting fun approach) and helpful. They are made with the person who is coming to the Bible for the first time in mind. On one video he diverts and gives a teaching on demons that I’m still thinking about, but otherwise it is all on reading the Bible.

    Awesome that your wife is wanting to read the word and I’m impressed with the way you understand and support her!

    Blessings!

  15. People have written good things here. I won’t single anyone out, but I liked reading the comments, and I was excited to hear about your wife getting into the word.

    The Bible needs to be read in such a way where one continually asks, “Do I agree with this? … Is there enough room to live my life in this? … Do these writers understand life and do they have life? … Am I willing to live my whole life this way? … What does this mean for me in my life?”

  16. Hey, doing some catch up reading here. I would like to make one quick comment. My comment to someone who is just taking a serious interest in the Bible is to read it as if you have nobody else to help you understand it. Of course you are going to be influenced by what you already have heard preached and what those you associate with believe but I think it is important to let the Bible speak to you directly rather than through the “filters” of the interpretations of others, at least for little while.

    Others have given great suggestions concerning the order of reading. It is great that your wife is now taking up reading the Bible and I can feel your excitement for her also. Great stuff!

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