A lot happens all at once when you become a Christian – the commitments and priorities in your life have just entirely changed. That’s a really big deal, and we’re so excited to celebrate that with you!
But aside from the obvious, there are a lot of questions and changes that happen after committing your life to Jesus.
Thankfully, we have an ancient text from God to guide us in our life with Him. But the problem is, we have an ancient text from God to guide us in our life with Him. And it might (understandably) feel overwhelming to know where to begin.
First, we want to make clear that because you are a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. And when you read the Bible – which is the living and active word of God (Hebrews 4:12) – the Spirit works to reveal the truth of scripture to you. In other words, you’re not on your own in this – your job is simply to show up and make space for God to work.
That leads to our biggest piece of advice about the Bible when we’re asked “where do I start?”
Our response? “Just start.”
Here are some facets of Bible reading to understand so that you can get started:
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. There are a lot of English translations of the Bible to choose from, because there are a lot of different word choices that can be used to translate Hebrew and Greek to English.
Ready to hear which English translation is best?
Whichever one you’ll read. Seriously.
Mission Hills mostly uses the New International Version, but we truly are happy for you to read whatever translation will get you started and keep you reading.
You can branch out and read as many versions as you want until you find the one that makes the most sense to you!
The Bible is made up of 66 books that are divided into two major categories: the Old Testament and The New Testament.
The Old Testament tells the story of God’s relationship with His people before Jesus came to earth, and the New Testament tells the story of God’s relationship with his people during and after Jesus came to earth.
There are a lot of different kinds of books in the Bible – not only stories about Jesus and God’s people, but poetry, wisdom literature, and letters to and from followers of God. The way that the books of the Bible are organized doesn’t always follow the timeline of events as they actually happened, so don’t worry if you need to skip around a bit for the story to all make sense.
You can read the Bible in order from start to finish, but you don’t have to.
We would recommend starting in one of the first four books of the New Testament – these are called the four Gospels.
Those books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and they’ll give you a great starting place for understanding more about Jesus and His people.
There are a lot of resources out there to help Christians read about, analyze, and study the Bible. It can be helpful to use a Study Bible or a Bible Study book that will give you additional information about what you’re reading and help you learn helpful ways to think about God’s word. But it’s also extremely beneficial to just open your Bible and start reading. You don’t always have to have a Bible study as an aid.
If you start reading your Bible and you have a lot of questions – good! That means you’re digging in.
Our advice is to write your questions down as you read, and focus on what you do understand in the moment. Hold the questions in tandem with the truth you can act on today. Then take those questions to a trusted source – friends who are mature believers or a pastor or elder in your church. They can walk with you and show you tools for understanding scripture over time.
Now it’s time to close this article and get reading!
When you’re ready, consider joining the Mission Hills Discovering Jesus Experience for more education and guidance on this part of your new Christian life.