Reading the Bible the First Time

What Order to Read the Bible for the First Time [All Explained]

When approaching the Bible for the first time, there are various reading orders to consider. You can read chronologically, traditionally, by narrative, book by book, or through a topical approach. Select the order that resonates with you and encourages your exploration of this sacred text.

Approaching the Bible for the first time can be an enlightening and transformative experience. Whether you come from a religious background or are simply interested in exploring one of the world's most influential texts, determining the best reading order can be challenging. 

This article will delve into various approaches and provide guidance to help you make an informed decision.

What Order to Read the Bible for the First Time?

What Order to Read the Bible

The Chronological Order

One approach to reading the Bible for the first time is to follow the chronological order of events as they unfolded in history. By arranging the biblical passages in this way, you can gain a deeper understanding of the historical timeline of the Bible. 

This method allows you to trace the development of biblical events, from the world's creation to the birth of Jesus and beyond. 

As you progress through the Bible chronologically, you will gain insights into the progression of God's plan and how it unfolded over time.

The Traditional Order

Another widely used approach is to follow the traditional order of the Bible. The Bible is traditionally divided into two main sections: the Old and New. 

The Old Testament contains books written before the birth of Jesus, while the New Testament focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus and the early Christian Church. 

Following the traditional order provides familiarity with the commonly referenced passages and helps you discover thematic connections across different books.

The Narrative Order

Reading the Bible in narrative order emphasizes the flow of biblical stories. Instead of focusing on historical or thematic order, this approach allows you to engage with the overarching plotlines presented in the Bible. 

Beginning with the creation of the world, you will journey through the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and ultimately the life of Jesus. 

By encountering biblical characters in their historical context, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the narrative structure and the lessons it imparts.

The Book-by-Book Order

If you prefer a more focused study, approaching the Bible book by book might be your best option. Reading each book individually allows you to delve deeply into its unique themes, messages, and historical context. 

This method provides a comprehensive understanding of each book's purpose and how it contributes to the broader biblical narrative. 

Whether you start with Genesis or one of the Gospels, exploring each book individually can lead to a richer experience.

The Topical Approach

A topical approach is worth considering for those interested in exploring specific themes or topics within the Bible. This method involves studying particular subjects, such as love, forgiveness, or prophecy, by gathering relevant passages from different parts of the Bible. 

By focusing on specific themes, you can gain a targeted understanding of personal areas of interest or curiosity. This approach allows you to build a comprehensive understanding of specific subjects while still appreciating the interconnectedness of the biblical text.


Personalized Reading Order

Ultimately, the best reading order for the Bible is the one that aligns with your personal preferences. Everyone has different learning styles, interests, and objectives when approaching the Bible for the first time. You can customize your reading order based on what resonates most with you. 

Whether combining elements from different approaches or creating a special order, the key is maintaining your motivation and enthusiasm throughout your reading journey.

Is it good to read the Bible in Chronological order?

Reading the Bible in chronological order can be a beneficial approach for many individuals. It allows readers to understand the historical and cultural context in which events unfolded, providing a more precise narrative flow. 

By following the chronological order, one can witness the progression of God's plan throughout history. It also helps connect the dots between books and passages, offering a comprehensive view of the biblical storyline. 

However, it is essential to remember that the Bible is not solely a historical account but contains various literary genres and themes. Therefore, combining chronological reading with thematic and devotional approaches can provide a well-rounded understanding of the scriptures.


Should you read the Bible from beginning to end?

While reading the Bible from beginning to end can be a rewarding experience for some, it may not be the ideal approach for everyone. The Bible is a collection of diverse books and genres, and reading it cover to cover can be challenging and overwhelming for newcomers. 

It may be more beneficial to start with foundational books such as the Gospels or Psalms and gradually explore other sections. Additionally, incorporating thematic studies or utilizing study guides can provide deeper insights into specific topics. 

The key is to find a reading plan that suits your learning style and helps you engage meaningfully with the scriptures.


Embarking on the journey of reading the Bible for the first time is an important and worthwhile endeavor. The order in which you read the Bible can shape your understanding and experience of this sacred text. Whether you follow the chronological order, the traditional order, the narrative order, the book-by-book order, or a topical approach, the most important thing is to dive in and start exploring the depths of the Bible. As you embark on this enriching adventure, may you find inspiration, wisdom, and guidance within its pages.

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Please Note: Nothing replaces having and reading your own Bible. Therefore, the purpose of these articles is to help strengthen your desire to read scripture daily and learn how to seek and find answers to your spiritual questions there. Through reading God’s word, we begin to understand HIS love for us and develop a personal relationship with HIM. If you are not a Chistian and would like to know more about Christianity or the Bible, we encourage you to start by finding a local Christian community, visiting a Christian church and seeking out ways to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his ministry.