When I first found my faith as a young woman, I was told that I should read the Bible, but had no idea where to start. With other books, I was in the habit of glancing at the last few pages to find out how the story would end, but skimming the last pages of this book meant plunging into Revelation. That book made no sense to me whatsoever!
Fortunately, some more experienced Christians came to my aid and gave me some good advice on Bible reading. “The Gospels are written in straightforward language and will help you learn about the life and teachings of Jesus. To understand the heart of Jesus’ message,” they advised, “the best place to start is the Gospel of John.” It was also interesting to find out that the Gospel of John contains more of the words of Jesus than any other book. Each chapter reveals another aspect of His character, message, and life.
But soon I ran into a problem. When I read through the four Gospels, it appeared there were contradictions. If this was the inspired Word of God, why did the authors render certain stories or quotes differently? Someone helped me out. “When you describe a film to a friend, you don’t tell the whole story. You just tell the parts that stood out to you. Another person would probably describe different parts, what was most significant to him or her. That’s how it was with the Gospel writers. They each told certain aspects and left out others.” This made sense.
The books of Psalms and Proverbs were the next recommendations. Psalms is an inspired mix of prayers, pleadings, praises, promises, and prophecies. Proverbs contains a wealth of practical wisdom. Conveniently, there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so it’s easy to read through in a month, one chapter a day.
But if you want a blueprint for action—if you want to not only grow in faith but to learn to share it with others—turn to the book of Acts. This book recounts the disciples’ activities during the first 30 or so years following Jesus’ resurrection as they worked together and spread the Good News.
Of course, there is a lot more in the Bible than the books I’ve mentioned here, but this was a good place to start in my journey of faith, and these books are still favorites to this day.