Where do I start in the Bible?
Ask a Pastor
“Ninety percent of church-going Christians don’t read the Bible. … so if you could get them to know a few of the books, which ones would you choose?” — John Preto, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Burbank, Ill.
Brian: I would suggest different books for different people. Certainly one or more of the Gospels — Mark for brevity, John for spiritual depth, Luke for drama and social justice — along with Genesis and Exodus, the core stories of the origins and formative experiences of God’s people; Psalms, the prayer book of God’s people; Romans, the richest expression of Christian theology in the New Testament; and Acts, the story of the early church.
Monica: Thanks for your question! For people unfamiliar with the Bible I like to recommend starting with the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke. After becoming familiar with the story of Jesus, the Old Testament books of Genesis and Deuteronomy are helpful to seeing that the religious tradition we have inherited is a tradition that has deep roots. Which books of the Bible have captivated you? What stories in Scripture keep you wanting to read more?
David: John, honestly, I don’t know that your 90 percent number is correct. However, that’s not really the point.
If I could invite people to read only a few books of the Bible, I would probably choose 1) Mark, because it is the easiest Gospel to read and gives the essentials of the gospel story, 2) Galatians, because of Paul’s clear exposition of the relationship between the law and gospel and the importance of grace, and 3) 1 John, because I find this little letter to be so insightful for my spiritual life and growth as a follower of Jesus.
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