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A Reader's Guide to the Bible

If you're relatively new to the Bible, here are some simple pointers to encourage and help you decide where and how to begin your personal discovery of GOD'S WORD.

Like many people, you may have always considered the Bible hard to understand... or just plain boring. You'll be glad to discover it's neither. You may, however, find some parts to be difficult depending on your interests, background, and previous experience with the Bible. If you encounter such sections, simply skip over them for now. Return to them as your interests change.

Also, you'll find the Bible unique because the author is always available to help.

This is God's word -- his carefully recorded message to you. He wants you to understand what you read. So, every time you pick up the Bible, ask him to help you understand. And he will!

Don't give up if you don't completely understand everything you read the very first time. God will speak to you in new ways each time you read his life-saving, life-changing word.

This is not one Book - it's a Library.

👉The Bible is 66 books recorded by numerous writers written over a period of more than 1,500 years.

👉The Bible is divided into two sections: God's relationship with humanity before the birth of Christ (the Old Testament) God's relationship with us since Christ's birth (the New Testament).

👉The Bible is a sampling of poetry and drama, history and biographies, speeches and stories of adventure, and promises and predictions about the future.

To get an overview of the Bible read these books in this order: Genesis, Exodus (chapters 1-20), Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Mark, and Acts

For a basic introduction to Christ and Christianity read: Mark, John, Acts, and Romans

The Bible is the story of God establishing relationships with people.

The Christian Bible is arranged as follows:

The First Five Books (the "Pentateuch") describe God's relationship with humanity from our very beginning then, with Abraham and his descendants then, with the Israelites before they became a nation. Some of the great adventure stories you heard as a child are here... but, so is a lot of law and ceremony that you may decide to come back to later.

The History Books record how Israel conquered the land God had promised it set up its kingdom was taken captive and lived in captivity then returned to its land.

The Wisdom and Poetry Books reveal the inner emotions of writers telling what they've learned from life, from love, and from their relationship with God.

The Prophets warned Israel of the consequences of turning away from God and his promises made major predictions about Israel's future and the promised deliverer (the Christ) predicted the end of human history Read the History Books before the Prophets so that you can relate their messages to the events and times in which they lived.

The New Testament Books and Epistles (letters). The first four books of the New Testament - the "Gospels", or "Good News" - are newspaper-like accounts of the life and teachings of Christ written from the unique perspectives of four men who loved, followed, and documented Christ's life, death, and return to life.

The Acts of the Apostles (apostle ="sent one") tells how the Christian 'church' began and spread to all of the known world.

The Epistles (letters to various 'churches' and a few individuals) were written by the earliest Christian leaders. They elaborate on the teachings of Christ and how they impact our relationship with God -- and our relationship with people around us.

The Book of Revelation reviews human history and its final end -- as well as God's amazing promises to us about our life beyond the end of time and this world.

Read GOD'S WORD. Think about it. Trust God to speak to you.

You don't have to be a scholar to understand the central theme of the Bible: God's love, his desire to know and be known by you, and the unbelievable price he paid to establish a personal relationship with you now... and for eternity! The more you read GOD'S WORD -- the deeper you go -- the better you will understand him, the world, and yourself!


NOTE: When books or other writings refer to a particular place in the Bible, that reference is usually cited this way: The Book (or its Abbreviation) and the Chapter:Verse (or Verses) -- for example: Genesis (or Gen.) 40:6-18



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