Bible Reading 101
The Wayfinding Bible takes you through the Bible on one of 3 routes. Flyover Route, Direct Route or Scenic Route - you pick! A great option if you are starting out or have been reading the Bible for a long time. Great maps, pictures and graphs to facilitate the visual learner! We have a copy at the Info Table if you want to check it out.
Where Should I Start Exploring the Bible?
We recommend starting with the Book of Mark, it's fast-paced and quick. Next, try, the Book of John which focuses on the claims that Jesus made about himself. Mark focuses on what Jesus did where John focuses on what Jesus said - both written about the life of Jesus. We suggest starting with these books about Jesus because the WHOLE Bible points to and is ultimately about the redemptive story of Jesus.
After Mark and John, move on to the book of Acts and Romans which immediately follow. Acts is an action-packed book that picks up the story at the point of Jesus returning to His Father in heaven (often called His ascension). Acts tells the story of how the early church got started and how the life-changing story of Jesus spread throughout the Roman Empire. Once you've discovered Acts, the letters written to early church communities will make more sense as a result of getting a feel for who they were.
The book of Romans is completely different. It introduces Paul who wrote many of the letters that became books of the New Testament. Romans is written by Paul and describes basic teachings of the Christian faith hinging on the unmerited favour or limitless grace of God.
Go Back to Go Forward
Once you've explored some of these, it's time to explore some stories from the oldest books of the Bible. Genesis and Exodus are at the beginning of the Bible and are the perfect place to start because they are the foundation of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worldviews. If you've already read the books listed above in the New Testament, you will begin to see that the overarching story of God's activity in the world is focused on Jesus.
You may want to explore the Psalms at the same time. Just one Psalm (short poetry or song lyrics) can be an immense encouragement as you learn that people who lived over 2,000 years ago had very similar struggles and emotions as we do. The character of God is revealed as you experience the gamut of emotions throughout the 150 Psalms.
You may want to back to the New Testament, start at the first book of Matthew and go straight through. The same idea for the Old Testament, go back to Exodus and move straight through.
That list again:
- Genesis and Psalms
- Exodus and Psalms
- Go back to the beginning of both the Old and New Testaments and move through to the end!
- Have a FULL Bible in a version that you can understand. Some of our favourites are NLT (New Living Translation), NIV (New International Version), The Message (modern language paraphrase aimed at understanding the overall meaning than word-by-word accuracy). Come to the Info Table on Sunday and pick one up to get you started, if you're a reader. Or check out #7 below for some excellent websites and apps to either listen or read!
- Get into a routine. Choosing some time to set aside to explore the Bible regularly is where the most impact happens. We also reccommend that you spend more time when you really want to, and to supplement the Bible with other enriching God-centred books/input when it's difficult to spend time absorbing the Bible. Allow yourself to ebb and flow within a commitment to keep discovering the riches that are laid out in the Bible for you to discover. The more you explore and expose yourself to the Bible, the more you discover!
- You are not being graded! As exciting as the Bible is, it can be difficult to keep going when you encounter a long list of geneologies or ceremonial laws. Don't worry! The Bible is also a historical record and your ability to recall detail from your reading is not necessary. God has given us the Bible to meet Him, and when you spend time exploring the Bible, inevitably you will encounter Him. It's what makes the Bible completely unique and you'll be amazed at its riches!
- Write down what you discover. Keep a journal! It is incredibly helpful to record your questions, your prayers and the words that resonate with you. Here's some tips to check out.
- Share with a friend. Get together with a friend and share what you are discovering. Consider participating in one of our Life Groups or grab a friend who has been on the journey a bit longer than you for some intentional and fun exploration called FITT (Friends in Training Together).
- Read Broadly and Deeply. If you’re checking out the Christian faith, you definitely don’t need to already be convinced of the Bible’s truths. It does, however, help to be open to what the words are saying, and allow them to be worth your investigation. Reading whole segments of the Bible, provides a broad overview. When you want to dig a little bit, use an inductive approach to the passage:
- Start with observation (“What does the text say?”)
- Interpretation (“What does it mean?”)
- Application (“What does it mean for my life?”)
- Here's a book we like to help learn more: How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth
- Follow a Plan.
- YouVersion A downloadable app to read or listen to the Bible in a multitude of versions. AND, there are oodles of options for guided devotionals under the "Plans" tab ranging from 1-day plans to 365-day plans, audio clips, video devotionals - it's worth browsing!
- Some of our favourites: The Power of Being Thankful, Billy Graham's The Reason for My Hope, Reducing Anxiety, Once-A-Day Bible.
- Through the Word
- Includes both an awesome Reading / Listening Plan for the Bible itself AND an audio accompaniment!
- The Reading /Listening Plan starts with 7 short audio segments with key insights for you as you get started exploring the Bible.
- Download the app or listen online to the 7-9 minute audio overview of each chapter. After listening to the commentary overview, you can read or listen to the Bible chapter that was discussed! (It's in the Beta stage right now, so not all chapters are completed but there's enough here for you to be enriched for several years! A number of different pastors are featured.) Suggestion: start with Genesis or Luke and move on to any books that tweak your fancy.
- Some of our favourites (after Genesis): Ecclesiastes, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah, Malachi - well, every one is good - you pick!
- Bible in One Year This is robust and could be part of your plan at some point when you want to read fast. There is no listening option for Bible in One Year. This plan can totally work to just read part or all of it each day - just don't get discouraged, there's no race! Written by the author of Alpha, this includes Bible passages to read and a thorough explanation of certain sections.