The order of the Bible is a matter of some debate. Some people claim that it should be read in chronological order, while others say they prefer to read it in order by book. The reality is that there are many ways to approach the Bible, and you should decide which one works best for you. This article highlights chronological order to read the bible.
If you’d like to start with Genesis, read through the Old Testament until you get to Malachi, then move on to the New Testament. If you’d like to go through the Old Testament first, begin with Genesis and continue until you reach Malachi, then move on to Luke and Acts. You’ll also see best way to read the bible for better understanding in this article.
If you prefer to read books in their entirety and not jump around as much, start with Genesis and read through Revelation—it’s likely that will take quite awhile! If your goal is simply to get through as much as possible each day, start with Psalms or Proverbs; those books are fairly short but contain wisdom from God that can be applied in many different areas of life.
What Order Should I Read The Bible
The Bible contains two major sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. A range of different authors wrote these across hundreds of years.
The Bible has 66 books in total. There are 39 books in the Old Testament (starting with Genesis) and 27 in the New Testament. Many of them are arranged across different Biblical genres, and you may want to focus your Bible study around these.
It isn’t essential to read the Bible in chronological order, but it can be a fun exercise to try and see God’s Word and events in Biblical history as they occurred in their correct order. There will be sections in the Bible that overlap and where timelines become blurry. This reading won’t diminish the continued relevance of God’s Word.
This article examines how to perform a simple chronological reading of the Bible concerning the literary genres contained within the Scriptures.
Chronological Order To Read The Bible
For a chronological Bible reading, you may want to start with the Book of Genesis first and move to a different Bible reading every day.
The chronological order of books in the Old Testament is:
- 1 and 2 Samuel
- 1 and 2 Kings
- 1 and 2 Chronicles
These books start with Genesis and continue with Abraham’s story and the journey of the Hebrews out of Egypt.
There are 27 books in the New Testament, starting with the Gospels. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), followed by the Acts of the Apostles, then letters or epistles. The final section is the Book of Revelation.
You can develop a reading plan, which introduces you to the key characters in the Bible, starting with Creation and Genesis. You can use this reading plan to customize your reading of the Bible so that on day one, you read John 1 (“in the Beginning was the Word) and move through Genesis on subsequent days.
If you want to develop a reading plan based on the chronological order of the New Testament, start with the books of Galatians and James on the first day. The birth of Jesus appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. From here, you’ll work through to the Book of Revelation by day 27.
How literary genre works in the Bible
The Bible is the most read and studied text in the world, and 3.9 billion copies have been sold over the last 50 years alone.
The Books of the Bible (Old and New Testament) are based upon the literary genre along the following lines:
- The books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
- The books of history (Joshua through 2 Chronicles)
- The books of wisdom (Job through Song of Solomon)
- The prophets (Isaiah through Malachi)
- The Gospels (Matthew through Acts)
- The epistles (Romans through Jude)
- Final prophecy (Revelation)
Another interesting section of the Old Testament is the Book of Psalms, which are essentially 150 Hebrew poems, including Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The Psalms teach us to offer praise to God.
Best Way To Read The Bible For Better Understanding
You can easily develop your own reading plan of the Bible for both the Old and New Testaments. When reading the New Testament, you base your reading upon this timeline of the Acts and the Epistles.
You can start by following a simple historical narrative. Your Bible study can begin with Genesis and then reading in order: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2, Samuel, 1 and 2, Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, followed by Acts.
Daily reading of your Bible can help you with spiritual discernment by reading about the struggles many of these key characters in the Bible had during their lives.
St. Paul wrote 25% of the New Testament, and you can learn a lot by reading his letters to the Corinthians. Paul wrote letters to the Churches, including Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the First and Second Thessalonians. These letters were written over 14 years to over seven churches throughout the world.
In Acts 17, you’ll see Paul setting up the church at Thessalonica. Paul’s letters in 1 Thessalonians tell us about the difficulties experienced in the early days by the Christian Church. Paul’s letter to Philemon is considered an important moment in the Bible.
There are many important prophets in the Bible. The major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations 1 and 2, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The minor prophets all appear in the Bible at different times and include Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
All of their messages cover a large period and deliver a wide variety of Christian instruction.
How to develop a daily Bible reading plan for the year
You can develop your own Bible reading plan, starting with Creation on day one and working through Genesis, the story of Noah’s Ark up to Abraham’s journey.
As you proceed through the Scriptures each day, make sure you highlight verses and make notes in the margins. You may also want to cross-reference other passages of the Bible. By the end of the year (on day 365), you’ll be reading the Book of Revelation, predicting the Second Coming of Christ, which is the logical end of the Bible.
While reading Abraham’s journey, consider the promises God made to him and the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery during the Exodus. The struggles of the Hebrews are well-documented by the prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations 1-3.
Reading the Bible is fun
Many Christians trying to read the Bible in chronological order find themselves disoriented about overlapping times after reading Genesis and Exodus.
By the time they get to later books in the Old Testament, they find themselves completely confused about the major players and where they sit in the historical record.
The reading plan and ideas set out in this article should help to simplify the process. Using a reading plan gets you used to the most important characters and events in the Bible, starting with Creation.
Reading the Bible should be an engaging activity. You can highlight your favorite verses and make notes in the margins as you go.