How should I study the Bible?
The best method to learn materials is to quickly skim or read like a novel, then study everything a second time, finally reread in a regular repeating pattern that covers the entire bible. Here’s a suggested order of reading:
Read the epistles (the letters to the church from Paul, James, Peter, and John + Hebrews) the most. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John + Acts) the next most. Then, in order of frequency, I recommend Psalms, Prophets, Proverbs, the books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), and least often the history books.
It’s all important, but this type of order will build up foundational knowledge and understanding the quickest.
A practical order of reading to start
When you begin this quest, an order of study is very helpful. I’ll give you what my father gave me in 1974. It worked very well and I highly recommend it. He suggested this for beginning to study and for your lifetime habitual study of the bible.
- Begin with the Gospel of John
- Then a few Epistles: Galatians, Philippians, & James would be good
- Then Acts
- Then I & II Corinthians & Romans
- Then Mark
- Then Ephesians, Colossians & both Thessalonians
- Then Luke
- Then the three Johns
- Then Matthew
- Then the rest of the epistles
After that you can go to a regular routine of epistles, gospel, psalms, epistles, gospel, prophets, epistles, gospel, revelation, epistles, gospel, books of Moses, epistles, gospels, proverbs, and so on.
The basic idea is that you need to focus on the New Testament—especially the letters and the gospels. Don’t read Revelation until you have read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, & Daniel.
There is a lot of good information in the history portions of the Old Testament. You need to read them, but only after you have a solid background in the gospels and letters.
Above all: talk to the author first!
Before you study the Bible, every time, ask the Holy Spirit to use the words to speak to you clearly and to keep you from error. You want to know what God said. The only way to do that is to ask God to teach you as you read. Always contact the author first!