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One of the most powerful ways to grow in our relationship with God is to read His Word. It is through His Word that God reveals Himself to us that we might know Him personally. The Scriptures grant us guidance on how to walk out this Christian life and provide comfort when we face times of sorrow. In addition to that, it is the very Word of God that protects us from evil. Ephesians 6:17 calls the Word of God the Sword of the Spirit and urges believers to pick it up and use it to fight against spiritual attack.
The Word of God offers freedom, healing and hope. I have yet to face an issue God did not address in His Word. For this reason, I have made every effort to ensure I make reading my Bible a daily habit because I know how desperately I need God's Word and Truth to make it through each day. Now, I'm eager to open up the Word of God that is alive and active as Hebrews 4:12 tells us, and hear from Him.
Notice I said now. It was not always this way. The Bible can be an intimidating read. Like many good things, the most challenging part is simply getting started. However, once you start hearing God more clearly, increasing your spiritual strength and finding the type of encouragement only God's Word can provide, you will not want to put your Bible down. That being said, here are my top five places to start reading the Bible:
1. The Gospel of John - This is the best place for new believers, especially, to start reading. This book will give you a good understanding of who Jesus is and what His ministry is about. Although the other Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark and Luke) do this, the book of John particularly focuses on who Jesus is rather than just what He did.
2. Romans - This is a good place to start if you want a clear understanding of the Gospel. I suggest every Christian read Romans to build confidence in the faith they profess. Since the entire Bible points to the Good News of Jesus Christ, this is certainly a good place to start.
3. Psalms - This is a great place to start if you're looking for encouragement. The Psalms offer hope, and healing, and help us to better understand that God is with us no matter our circumstances. I often suggest reading Psalms if stress and anxiety keep you up at night because the poetry style of writing is not only relatable, but also very comforting.
4. Proverbs - This book is packed with wisdom. It offers biblical knowledge and instruction to help guide us in our day-to-day life. It's a great place to start if you want practical direction on how to live out this Christian life. The brevity of each verse also make it an easy and light read.
5. Genesis - I generally would not place a historical book of the Bible, like Genesis, as the best place to start but if you want to read through the entire Bible in chronological order, Genesis is the place to go. Doing so will give you a better understanding of the Bible as a whole.
This list is in no particular order. Where you start depends on your personal goals. My suggestion is to pray that the Lord will lead you to the verse, passage or book of the Bible that He desires. If you are ever confused about a particular part of the Bible, pray to the Lord for understanding and discernment. I’m amazed at how many ways the Lord has answered this prayer for me.
As you read, take your time and pace yourself. Start with a verse or chapter a day, and then increase reading as your interest and passion increases. You do not want to rush through the Bible like any other book. You want to read, study, and meditate on what you're learning to leave room to hear from God. Whatever your reason for opening your Bible, I hope you are ready and excited to get started.
Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at www.belovedwomen.org