When I decided that I wanted to get closer to God after being a prodigal for many years, I dusted off my family’s BIG Bible. You know that one that sits either on the mantle or as in our house, on a book shelf so it would look good if the priest or pastor came to visit. Nobody actually picked it up and read it. It was a King James version — like I really knew the difference. It was difficult to understand, but God was prompting me to read it. Now, this was in the late 80s — way before the easy Bible apps we have today. I started in the beginning…
The Bible is all about Jesus
We find Christ in ALL the scriptures:
- In the Old Testament, He is Predicted
- In the Gospels, He is Revealed
- In the Book of Acts, He is Preached
- In the Epistles, He is Explained
- And in Revelation, He is Expected
In the Beginning of the Bible
“In the beginning, God created…” Yes, that’s a good place to start, but the Old Testament is a bit daunting for the Bible novice. Eventually, read Genesis, Exodus and others to learn about the old Bible stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Jonah and the whale, Moses and the prophecies of Jesus. In fact, see if you can’t recognize when the Old Testament talks about Jesus.
Playing Bible Roulette
I don’t recommend playing “Bible Roulette” — opening a Bible and reading wherever you land. You should read it systematically. However, usually, Bible Roulette, will open somewhere in the middle, which is where the Psalms are. They are perfect when looking for answers to life’s problems.
The New Testament
The place to start is the New Testament. The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, but it, too, can be a bit daunting. It was written for the Jews of the first century explaining how Jesus is the Messiah that they’ve been waiting for, thus the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter.
Mark is more a no-nonsense story of Jesus’ time on earth as an adult. It walks you from Jesus’ baptism to the cross and then the resurrection.
Luke, the historian, starts with the Christmas story then tells more or less the same stories as Mark., but with a slighly different point of view.
The Gospel of John, on the other hand, is different.
The other Gospels focus on events and facts of Jesus’ life, John tells of Christ’s nature — the meaning of what Jesus said and did — how God spoke in the only way we could understand — by becoming one of us. It clearly explains the basics of the faith.
Related: Who Wrote the Gospels
Then read the letter of 1 John. It describes the nature of God’s Love for us humans.
The Apostle Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament in the form of letters to the churches of the first century. Even though it was written so long ago, he could have been talking about today and what we go through in our lives. I just did a 16-part series through Paul’s Letter to the Romans, which really explains the basics of Christian faith. In Romans, Paul describes the whole scope of Christian beliefs, convincing readers that Christ holds the answers to all of life’s important questions. My series starts with “What is Righteousness?“
Paul’s letter to the Philippians talks about the joy of believing in Christ. Philippians Chapter 4 is one I turn to often for peace.
What version of the Bible is best?
The King James Version (with all the “thees” and ‘thous’) is hard to read, but if that’s all you have in the house, start there then get yourself a newer version like The New Living Translation (NLT), the Good News Bible or the New International Version (NIV). They are written in plain English.
Don’t have a Bible at home?
Here are 2 websites that offer bible studies and a variety of versions in different languages: www.biblegateway.com and my favorite: YouVersion Bible App. As you get deeper into studying the Bible — find a Bible-based church, join a Bible study group and get into the habit of reading a bit every day, you’ll find a version that’s comfortable for you.
Another great, FREE app is ThroughTheWord.org. They explain the Bible chapter by chapter and for newbies, they have “journeys” which take you, in a logical progression, to get to know Jesus personally.
Here are some more tips on reading the Bible…
- Read a chapter of Proverbs or one Psalm a day. Proverbs are the wise sayings of Solomon and they show us how God wants us to live. Psalms are songs and prayers to God. Some praise Him, some ask for help — they all make you feel better after reading them.
- Take notes as you read the Bible and don’t be afraid to ask questions at church. That’s what the pastors are there for. There are many pastors online and on YouTube who teach studies live and are open to questions.
- Reread the passage a few times and ask…
- What does God want me to know from this passage?
- What is God trying to say to ME that will help me grow?
- What does He want me to do?
Life is a wonderful journey and the Bible is God’s road map so we don’t get lost.
God should be your GPS not your spare tire!
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
What about Different Interpretations?
Ah, that’s where it gets messy. Different denominations interpret the Bible differently. Before I was born-again and baptized, I didn’t know the difference. It was confusing. Who was right? We are warned in the Bible of false teachers and false prophets who look good, sound good, and make you feel good, but are really lying to us and leading us astray.
That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in
Having the Holy Spirit in my heart, inside of me, guiding me, helps me see the difference between what is truth and what is not.
How do you get the Holy Spirit?
Growing up Catholic, I knew that the Holy Spirit existed — as part of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). However, I had no idea of the power of the Holy Spirit available to a person, until I became born again, was baptized and I surrendered my WHOLE LIFE to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is only part of the benefits of salvation (besides a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven). Here are 22 benefits of Salvation…
To get the Holy Spirit, you must…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”Matthew 24:14 NLT
Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!
- Part 1: From Catholicism to Prodigal
- Part 2: From Prodigal to a Progressive, Halfway Christian
- Part 3: From a Halfway Christian to a True, Born Again Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ
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