The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Where do I start?

Where do I start?

If you’re not familiar with the Bible, knowing where to start can be a bit daunting.   It’s huge, of course, and that’s partly because it’s really a       collection of 66 books, all of which contribute to tell the same story. 

As someone who has been involved in teaching the Bible for more than 40 years, let me try and help you by giving a few bits of, hopefully helpful,   advice.

1.  Don’t start at the very beginning!

That may sound like strange advice, and I know there’s an old song that says that the very beginning is “the very best place to start”, but when it comes to new readers and the Bible I beg to disagree. 

What usually happens is that after the drama of Genesis and Exodus, you will get bogged down in, and discouraged by, Leviticus and quite likely just give up — and I don’t want you to give up!

So, don’t start at the beginning, start with one of the books that will act as a key to unlock the big picture of the Bible, so…

2.  Start with one of the Gospels

At the end of the day, the Bible is, believe it or not, all about one person, Jesus Christ.  And that’s why I would recommend you start by finding out who he is and then the rest of the Bible — including Leviticus! – will begin to make much more sense.

The four gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — which come at the      beginning of the New Testament, the second main section of the Bible, give a great introduction to the person of Jesus and, in their own different ways, a great overview of his life and ministry.

And if you want me to pick one of those four, I would go with John’s gospel.

3.  Acts

Once you’ve got a better handle on who Jesus is, the book of Acts is a really exciting and fast moving account of how his first disciples took his message all over the world of their day. You will see how individual lives and whole communities were dramatically transformed by the power of this one man, Jesus.

4.  Genesis

Now would be a good time to go back to the beginning—not just the beginning of the Bible but the beginning of everything.

Genesis gives us an account of how the world and everything in it came into existence.  It’s an eye witness account of the beginning by the only person who was there at the time — God.

5.  A Letter

About half of the New Testament is made up of letters, written to the first generation of Christians and churches and giving them            instructions on how to live out their faith in a world that was very   often hostile to them.  They are full of really practical and down-to-earth advice.  Perhaps Ephesians would be a good one to read, or Romans which will give you an excellent grounding in the basics of the Christian faith. 

6.  Get some help

Just as when you’re in a strange country or place it really helps to have someone who knows it well to show you around, so with the  Bible.  Having a plan makes all the difference, and a plan, written by  someone who knows their way round the Bible, is key to helping you make progress. There are many options out there, but you could do a lot worse than use Explore which is published by The Good Book Company (www.thegoodbook.co.uk).

7.  Pray!

The best help possible comes from the author, and the best piece of advice I could give you is that each time you settle down to read the Bible, just ask God to help you understand what you are reading and help it make sense to you.

If you have any other questions about reading the Bible, or about the Bible itself, please do get in touch with me and I’ll be glad to help you in any way I can. Just email me:  john@route66.org.uk

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