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Start Reading the Bible  and free PDF guides

Here's a plan to begin reading the Bible.

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TRUTH & ERROR
Reading the Bible for yourself will greatly help you understand what is true and what is not. Many false claims about the Bible get circulated by people who are ignorant or worse, people who will deliberately mislead you for their own purpose. If you have done some reading for yourself, then you are considerably protected against such errors.
Congratulations on your desire to read the Bible for yourself.  Countless Christians have found that the most common way God speaks with them is directly via His Word, the Bible.  If your heart's desire is to genuinely seek God then you will surely find that He speaks to you also.

 

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Beginning to read the Bible seems a big project at first.  The Bible is a large book (actually 66 books) and reading it all takes time and persistence.  Here is a suggested Beginners Bible Reading plan.  It aims to enable you to understand quickly the main Christian beliefs.  There is also a free downloadable PDF guide that details this plan as well as having boxes to tick each time you read a chapter.  This makes it easy to continue and/or resume from where you last read.

What's the Bible all about?

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Jesus Christ
through the Bible
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The Bible is about God's great love for man.  God created man to live forever with Him.  But because of sin, everything was ruined.   God sent His Son Jesus into the world to pay for our sin so that we can be restored to God and live with Him forever.  The Old Testament contains the important events leading up to the coming of Jesus.  The New Testament records the fulfillment of His coming.  Jesus died on a cross for sin, then rose from the dead.  He will return shortly to close earth's history.

What Bible translation should I use?

Given that you are reading this page, it is best to use one of the many simpler translations that are available in English.  We suggest the New Living Translation, but other simple ones like The Good News and the New International Version are satisfactory.

Literal translations like the New King James and the New American Standard Bible are technically more accurate, however the reader must understand a higher grade of English plus be familiar with the idiomsAn idiom is a figure of speech.  For example, in 1 Kings 18:27, Elijah is making insults about false gods.  The New King James Bible translates Elijah's words:- "he (the false god) is on a journey", as a possible reason why the false god is not responding.  All those who heard Elijah on that day would have understood his words as "your god maybe be at the toilet"! The New Living Translation translates this idiom and says "perhaps he ... is relieving himself.  used in the original languages.  If you are unsure, stick to the simpler translations, or better still, read both types.

Someone is bound to ask "What about the old King James Bible (Authorised Version) that was passed down to me by my great, great, grand-mother?"  Well, the King James Bible was a truly magnificent translation for that period, but you will be much better served with a newer translation.

apogWhat if my Bible has an APOCRYPHA?

No worries.  It is probably an official Roman Catholic Bible.  These contain all the Bible books of the Old and New Testaments, and with the same words as any Protestant Bible of the same translation.  The difference is the addition of The Apocrypha,The Apocrypha was written in the period between the Old and New Testaments.  The apocryphal books were not recognised as Scripture by the Jews or by the Christian church, but in 1546 AD the Apocrypha was added to Roman Catholic Bibles at the Council of Trent. 14 additional non-Scriptural books, often placed between the Old and New Testaments.  You can use these Bibles with any Bible reading plan.

 

A Beginners Bible Reading Plan

12 minutes daily for 20 daysreed_box
or flexible to suit you
The following reading plan with all it's details, plus chapter boxes (for a visual progress reminder) can be downloaded free as a PDF file.

Here’s a short Bible reading plan that will give you an understanding of Christianity by reading 3 chapters a day, about 12 minutes for 20 days. You can read more or less as you desire.  If you use the downloadable guide, simply put a tick in each numbered box in the column on the right as you read each chapter and the column will visually remind you where you are up to and of your achievement.

1. Read the first 3 chapters in the Bible, Genesis chapters 1, 2, 3. This is the story of:-
  • God’s creation of the world and the first people, Adam and Eve.
  • Everything was beautiful and perfect at creation.
  • Adam and Eve then sinned, they rebelled against God and ruined everything.
Here we begin to understand why we need Jesus: to fix the problems of sin and restore everything to perfection.
2. Turning to the 5th book of the Bible, read Deuteronomy chapter 5. This contains The 10 Commandments (verses 7 - 21) which are repeated from Exodus 20. God requires all people to obey these laws. These commandments reveal our sins, our crimes against God. We need someone to save us from our sins – Jesus Christ.
3. Now move to the story of Jesus in the New Testament. The New Testament (the last 25% of the Bible) begins with 4 biographies of the life of Jesus. These are called gospels (good news) and were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • Matthew emphasises the fact that Jesus is the Jewish King and came in fulfillment of all the Old Testament Scriptures.
  • Mark emphasises the fact that Jesus came to serve mankind and to suffer.
  • Luke, a medical Doctor, emphasises the fact that Jesus was totally human.
  • John emphasises the fact that Jesus is fully God.
Read all 16 chapters of Mark. Mark is the shortest gospel and will give you a good understanding of the true life of Jesus and His teachings. This will also clear up many partial truths you may have.
4. Read Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7. In these chapters, Jesus teaches how life should be lived in His Kingdom while living on earth. Jesus also corrects many misunderstandings about God and the Old Testament.
5. Read the whole gospel of John. John emphasises the fact that Jesus is fully God. The purpose of this gospel is to encourage the reader to believe in Jesus Christ and consequently gain eternal life. (see John 20:31)
6. Finally, read the book of Romans. This is the 6th book in the New Testament. It’s about the problems of sin and how Jesus makes it possible to be restored to God. Anybody (Jew or non-Jew) can become one of God’s children and have a great eternal future.

Read all the Bible
with chapter boxes
Many people find it's helpful to mark off each chapter as they read the Bible. This method is entirely flexible to suit you. Click this link to download a free read-all-Bible-boxes PDF file. (One A4 page printed both sides, 44Kb.)

Click on this link to download the free PDF Bible Reading Guide. (One A4 page, 74Kb) You can then print the guide which contains the above steps and will keep track of your achievements.

Don’t try to read all this plan at once. Read a little and mark it off and think about it; listen spiritually for God’s voice speaking to you. Finally, you will have many questions. Please write them down and ask a good local church or email them to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

May God richly bless you as you read His Word, the Bible.

 

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Produced by Monash Christian Fellowship, Melbourne, Australia. Author Pastor Bill Wheaton 2010, revised 2013. This document may be freely reproduced and used for non-profit evangelism provided that it is unchanged and carries this credit.