July 10, 2009
What starting place would you recommend to someone who's never read any of the Bible?
One of the four gospels, almost certainly?
Those cover the Rock Bottom Essentials of Jesus' life, teachings, death, and resurrection. Perhaps the Gospel of John? It's got all those great "I am..." statements like I am the Good Shepherd, the Gate/Door, the Life, the Truth, the Way, the Resurrection, the Bread of Life, etc. But the beginning can be a little mystifying without some orientation, referring without explanation to Jesus as "the Word" (though mystery can be good, too).
Or maybe the Gospel of Mark because it's the shortest and most straight-forward/simple? Or the Gospel of Luke followed by Acts because they go together and continue the story of the early believers in Jesus, by the same author?
Or what about Paul's letter to the Romans? It has so much great explanation of the basic state of humanity and how exactly the good news of Jesus affects us.
Genesis would start from the very beginning with the foundations of humanity and what went wrong and how God dealt with it...
Would you consider Psalms? Maybe one a day, gradually (along with other readings)...such a deep collection of human emotions poured out to God unashamedly and boldly, acknowledging His sovereignty and care about what we're going through. But then that's a really long book.
Proverbs has a lot of really great wisdom to offer on very practical matters...
Hebrews could be a very interesting way to start for Jewish people wanting to understand Christianity.
Philippians is short and sweet and has those great parts in chapters 2 and 4 about Jesus' mission and the flavor our lives can have with Him...but really is better with a gospel understanding first.
Ephesians is truly rich and thick with description of how God sees us and what He offers us if we bow to Him, the deep blessings that accompany kneeling at His feet in surrender...
Let's just face it - I love it all. If you haven't tasted it, or not in a long time, maybe this is the summer to go for it.
If you have already been feasting on the Bible, what book do you recommend for first-time tasters?
July 10, 2009 | Permalink
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Excellent question, Katherine. I started out with Genesis, but I do recommend Mark and the Psalms. when I first studied the Psalms and they were the "Messianic Psalms"....I really could see how the Bible has Jesus as the main thread from beginning to end. Counting the minutes until you arrive!
Love to all, Mom
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Jul 13, 2009 8:37:28 PM