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Where Do I Start in the Bible? Are Your Kids Bored With It?

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Women Living Well Blog: Where Do I Start in the Bible? Are Your Kids Bored With It?

Women Living Well Blog

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where Do I Start in the Bible? Are Your Kids Bored With It?

Yesterday there were two commenter questions I want to answer.

The first one came from Christy and she asked how am I keeping my kids from getting sick of me reading the Bible to them over breakfast and lunch.

My children are now 5 and 7 and I have been doing this for at least 4 years now and truly they love it! I don't think they know anything different and they have never once been bored - I think I keep it fresh - or I try to anyway ! We have fantastic discussions and they eat it up. I always read straight from the NIV and we do small portions and define the words to be sure they understand it.

For example on Wednesday, we discussed I Corinthians 5:33 "Bad company corrupts good morals." I had to define - "company, corrupts and morals" and then explain how this passage is useful when we apply it to playing with the neighborhood children.

We have a "Kitchen Bible" -this Bible never leaves the kitchen and it's always on the table or counter ready to go! My children see the joy it gives me to learn and read it and they follow right along! I also pray that they will always love God more than anything this world offers. Pray over your children daily that God will give them a hunger and thirst for him and then be faithful in reading with them - if you don't - who will?

The second question came from Anonymous:
"I would love to be able to sit down and memorize some scripture and spend time learning about God's word. I am a very new beginner and my question is - where do you start? I don't belong to a church and have been intimidated on how to get started along this journey. I feel like if I just open up the Bible and begin somewhere, I'll be lost or extremely confused since I have not read the Bible before at all. Any suggestions for me?"


Oh Anonymous - I am so glad you asked! Bear with me - my answer is LONG (I apologize in advance lol!):


The Bible can be a challenge to read because it does not read like an ordinary book from cover to cover. It was written over thousands of years, by nearly 40 authors and in several languages. To put it in simple terms, the Old Testament gives us a foundation for who God is, his character and the foreshadowing of Christ's coming. The New Testament is about Jesus' life, crucifixion, resurrection, the spread of the gospel and instructions for Christian living.

So where do you start? Let me go book by book in order of where they fall in the Bible and explain it - I will give you my recommendations as I go. Hold on to your seat - cause here we go on a ride through the entire Bible!

The Book of Genesis tells us how God created the world, how mankind fell into sin, and the impact of the fall. This book is necessary for a complete understanding of God's word.


Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are filled with the Jewish law - which can be difficult to read...so you may want to save those books for later in your journey. But don't miss them because all of God's word is meant to be read!

Joshua through Job gives a lot of Jewish history. When I studied these books I kept a "Character of God" journal - where I wrote down all the things I learned about my God. I learned so much about how my God works in the lives of real people. These are not hard to read but they are not the place to start. Once you have a good foundation - head over to these books.


Then there's Psalms - which I LOVE - as history and poetry collide, again the character of God shines brightly. This is what I am reading in my quiet time currently.


Next comes Proverbs. It's a favorite of mine. It is filled with God's wisdom for relationships - marriage, parenting, friends and neighbors. This is a great book to commit to memory.


Ecclesiastes is a wisdom book and Song of Solomon is a great book about having a loving marriage...if you want to read some hot stuff - read here lol!!!

Isaiah through Malachi are prophetic books and again a very difficult read...don't avoid them - but save them for later.

Then there's the gospels - This is where you start!!! If you want to know more about Jesus, his life and teachings you MUST start in the gospels - the book of John is the most common book people refer beginners to - and I agree. All four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are wonderful - but they overlap each other - so you may not want to read all four in a row. Start in the book of John!

In Acts - we see Jesus ascend into heaven and the beginning of the Christian church as we know it today. This is the sequel to the gospels so I recommend you read this after you read a gospel.


Then there's the book of Romans - this book clearly defines salvation and grace - I love this book. So after reading the Gospel of John, then Acts, read Romans. If you read these three books -you will have a very strong foundation for what you believe!


From there we delve into the epistles - they are all helpful for how to apply the principles of God to practical life - but some are easier to understand than others.


My favorites are Ephesians, Philippians, James and I John. I recommend you read these next after reading John, Acts and Romans.


Then finally we come to Revelation - a book of prophecy about the end times. This is a hard book to understand but certainly a fascinating one. Read it when you feel comfortable with some of the other readings above.

After you've finished these New Testament books - I'd go back and hit Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs but my mom would say don't miss the solid doctrine in Hebrews and Revelation. Oh girlie - it's all fantastic - open it and just enjoy the meat of God's word! It's delectable!

And for my seasoned Christian Bible readers - please chime in - what are your favorite passages and what would you recommend for those who are new to Bible reading? There is no right or wrong answer to this question so it's okay if you have a different suggestion.


The key is - Walk with the King!




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19 Comments:

Blogger Ryan and Jenna said...

Hi,

Just wanted to share a tip with the anonymous commenter who asked about where to begin. I have a close friend who also has never read through the Bible and would get a little discouraged when she heard all these references to OT stories that she never even heard. Our accountability group suggested she read through a children's Bible to get basics of the main stories in the Old Testament. I just started reading the Big Picture Story Bible to my baby (http://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Story-Bible/dp/1581342772/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275050270&sr=8-1) and its great how it summarizes the stories and also shares how it points to the coming of Christ. There is another really good one called "Every Story Whispers His Name" and has the same idea. It's a good refresher for me and I hope will be beneficial to my little one :) So whether you have kids to read it to or not, I think it can be a nice supplement to reading the Bible. I don't think it should replace your reading of God's Word, but I think it can aid you in it!

Hope that helps :)

Jenna

May 28, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Regina said...

Hello! When I started reading the Bible, I just randomly chose areas to read. Then I decided that I needed to experience it all and I read it straight through from the beginning and I've done that twice. Now, I enjoy choosing random books again. Like you said, there's no right or wrong way! I love Isaiah, Psalms, Proverbs and of course the Gospels!
Regina

May 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Last weekend I got married and my Maid of Honor gave us a couples bible. I was very excited for it because I've been wanting to get a new bible, and she picked it out for us! Anyway, I wanted to get back into reading the Bible, but agree with the person who wrote to you--it is overwhelming! So THANK YOU for putting this out there because now I have a place to start!

May 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Courtney, I just read about a great resource for learning more about scripture. It's called www.scripturedig.com and starting June 7th the theme will be "Bible Basics" which sounds awesome! I read about this resource on the blog called "Come Have a Peace." Thanks for all your great info!!!

May 28, 2010 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Another good idea for helping to understand what your reading is to use an audio bible. The one I have is from Zondervan, an NIV. (There are many bible websites that have audio features, as well) It uses different voices for different people speaking and that helps me understand when there are conversations going on. Its very easy to listen to, like a story being read to me. I would agree with the recommendations that Courtney has made. Also, I would really recommend that 'Anonymous' get involved with a good bible based church to take advantage of studies of different books of the bible. I know for me, the old testament was a lot easier for me to read after I had been involved in studies of (so far) the books of Exodus and Nehemiah. I was able to ask questions and hear feedback from my pastor about why some of that stuff is in there and why its important in defining the character of God. The important thing is...keep reading from God's word every day and commit scripture to memory and you will be blessed!

May 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger The Aspenberg Family said...

Hi Courtney I wanted to comment to the annoymous ready on where to start in the bible! Last year I was the Co-coordinator at the MOPS group at our church and we were asked that last year and taught alot on that! I think one of the best places to start are in the books of either James, Ephesians and Philippians! I feel as though Paul writes sooo clearly in those particular books that are not only enjoyable but also very relevant in todays world I often find myself back in there so often!! Also with ready the bible to our children we have several Childrens bibles around in their rooms and read them. My children are 5, almost 3 and 5 months so it very important to us to read to them in "their" language now I'm sure this will change in years to come as they get older.. Just some thoughts I thought I would share!
Blessings,
Stacey

May 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Skip's Girl said...

I agree with your suggestions, I just wanted to add that I like trying to read a Proverbs every day...there are 31 so it's great to have that wisdom in consistent little chunks. I also think it's good to remember that some days you might come across a verse that you just need to stop and meditate on. If something really 'hits you' in your spirit, pause, open up to God and allow him to teach you in that before feeling like you have to finish a chapter or book by X date. Finally, I hope Anonymous would know that while you start reading on your own, God uses the church to do many things, including providing mentors in your life and spiritual growth. May God bless your time in His Word!

May 28, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Jami Balmet said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this! It makes my heart happy to know that christians have somewhere they can ask these questions that normally can be dificult to ask...especially to seasoned Christians. Thank you :D And I 100% agree with your recommendations. I agre, start with John and Romans!

May 28, 2010 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Johnna Hurt said...

I know that reading the bible can seem frustrating sometimes if you aren't understanding what you are reading. A great pastor visited our church when I was in my 20's. He had read the bible so many times and was very well versed. I was in awe. During his sermon and he talked about reading God's word. He said people ask him how he knows and understands so much much of it. His reply was so fascinating. God tell's us to READ his word, it doesn't say we we will understand every word. His point was to read the bible with faith and an open heart. That God will give it to us as we go. He also mentioned that every time he went back through the bible to read it again, he always learned something new. As our journey with the Lord grows, so does our understanding. So start with the books recommended by Courtney, and if you find yourself not understanding something, put your bible down, pray and come back to read it again. God is our greatest teacher!

May 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger suzel said...

Dear Courtney,
I don't want to bored you but since you give us tip for quiet time I'm try them and it miraculous!!!!!!!
I'm going better (I was fine but now I feel better I cannot explain but my quiet time with the King is what I need for my own stability!!!!!!!!)
You know in France people go to the church but I not find people who really live (like you or other american girl) with God.
Next week, I will beginn to read my children some bible verses and have a discussion with them. I'm sure that will good for our family.
Thank a lot, my dear Courtney, I'm walking better with the King since I'll find you.
Blessing and serving with Joy.

May 28, 2010 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Coffee and a Mop said...

After walking with God for about 9 years I still struggle with reading God's Word...it can be hard!! It's not like any other book.

What I do, is I use a "regular" book about studying a certain book in the Bible.

Right now I'm studying 1 Peter and using Elizabeth George's Book to guide me along. My goal is to find a study type book for every book of the Bible. I wish Elizabeth George came out with one for every book...she brings out so much that I would never figure out on my own. Here's a link to her website with those books:
http://www.elizabethgeorge.com/george/books.asp?catid=2

May 28, 2010 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Coffee and a Mop said...

I love the fact that you read the Bible to your kids at Breakfast time. I never thought to do that.

My son is 5 and anything "religious" turns him off. I don't understand why. He doesn't even like Veggie Tales!

So what I was thinking is following what you do, but use a Kid's Bible and read a page or 2 and make a rule that that is ALL I will be reading at Breakfast. Other books will be at a different time.

Thanks!

May 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Thou Art Jules said...

Thank you so much for answering this question today! I have struggled with reading the Bible my entire life. Since returning to church in the last year (thank God!) I have tried and tried. I keep trying and I don't give up but still find it a struggle. I'm glad to hear this advice!

May 28, 2010 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Stam House said...

My husband have been reading the bible and praying after each meal since we have been married, so I could say that our daughters have heard the Word of God long before they were born:-)

No wonder that their first word were AMEN LOL

Our oldest is now 3 and have the privilege of getting the bible after we ate and giving it to Papa to read, she just loves doing it!

She also love when Papa ask her "The bible is the ?" and she will proudly say "Word of God" when ask "Jesus is?" she beam saying "Son of God"

She is very young but lean to pray on her own since she was 2, we don't fully understand her baby talk bit she has folded hand and we can make out some word like Papa, mama, food sleep and of course Amen.

It's amazing seeing how much God as touch our little one heart, seeing from our own eyes a child like faith is wonderful :-)

Renee

May 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I think the NIrV version is great for newbies and veteran Christians. Last year I bought a copy for my daughter and we love it. Sometimes I pull hers out to help me understand. I also use www.biblegateway.com to cross reference different versions of the Bible.

I have been a Christian for over 18 years, I guess, and this is the best reading recommendation I have seen. The only thing I think I might change is to go ahead a start with reading some passages of Genesis first. Specifically, I would start with Creation, Adam & Eve, & Noah's Ark. I would skip over anything that confuses you for now, but I think those three stories are so common that you need to be familiar with them. Also, I think we need to know God's love for us in creating this world and us before we can understand why He would send Jesus to save us.

Anonymous: You need to find a church. God's Word tells us to congregate with a body of believers. There are many reasons, but the obvious is that they can help you and they will be the influences you need in your life as a Christian.

Coffee and a Mop: You say that your child is turned off by anything religious.... that is the example the world sets unfortunately. A year and a half ago I started homeschooling my kids (Pre-K & 2nd)"just to be with them more and have more quality time with them", but it did not take me long to realize that my daughter thought I was ridiculous when part of her schooling involved scripture writing or reading. It can be changed, but the sooner you do it the easier it will be. You have to keep trying (even if you do not homeschool). Now my kids just see religious things as part of school and life. It has changed them completely. We now make God the basis of all the academic choices we make for teaching them. I don't want them to waste time with handwriting practice writing "The dog ran down the street." if they can right a Bible verse instead. They then get a two for one deal out of it. Start with making religion a natural part of your life and it will be a natural part of their life in a very short time. Kids adapt quickly to changes. Have them take part in simple prayers. Read a couple books and throw in one that is a Bible story. Buy little Bible crafts at the Dollar Tree, etc..

May 28, 2010 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger K Lynne Designs said...

Thank you SO much for your very detailed advice and to all the commenters who also shared.

I was the one who posted the question yesterday about where to start. I must have not logged into my account before posting, oops!

I so appreciate the advice and support. I did have bible study time with my grandmother for a short while and became overwhelmed at feeling like I needed to know "everything" right away (even though she broke it down into tiny steps with me).

This is embarrassing to admit, but for a while I had nightmares when I started reading through certain sections of the Bible on my own.

I think for some reason the Bible has seemed very scary to me and even in some ways I've had fear issues related to God, but I am trying to let go of those things and to realize that is not the truth of the matter.

I really enjoy your blog and so appreciate you responding to my question so thoughtfully!

Kristen

May 28, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Out Back said...

Hi, I am new to your blog Courtney and I felt I should comment.

I am also new to bible reading too and I am really enjoying it, sometimes there are bits I don't understand but it does not deter me. I look forward to my time with God everyday.

I use this site http://www.wholesomewords.org/

it has daily bible reading schedules so this is where I got started.

http://www.wholesomewords.org/family/bibleread/biblerea.html

Thought this might help some others as I find it easy to use.

I am loving your inspiring blog, I have learned so much that I wish I had known before, so for this I thank you so very much.

Tania

May 29, 2010 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Amy @ Finer Things said...

Reading the Bible is HARD. Thank you for the practical tips. :)

May 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

So glad you posted my question - I feel honored! Right now my kids love it, and I do pray that they will continue to. I just also know I don't want them to feel like I am beating them over the head with it. It is also hard that we have to fight with the media on this one, that even at church their lessons are somewhat media driven! Anyway, appreciate your time with this one! :)

May 30, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

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