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Studying the Bible Where to Begin

Studying the Bible: Where to Begin

May 14, 2019

I remember the feeling very well. Sitting on my bed with my Bible in front of me. I had gotten out of the habit of having a quiet time, and it had been too long. I was trying to make the right choice; to get back in the Word. The obstacle that I didn’t expect was staring me right in the face. I didn’t know where to start.

The awesome part about his problem, if you are facing it, is that it doesn’t last. Once you get into a routine of studying the Bible, you will crave it. You will always have a ‘next’ in mind. Now I have the opposite problem- too many things I want to know and study and not enough time.

However, this really is a big problem when you are starting out. Especially if you allow it to derail you before you get started. It can keep you from opening the Bible that first time. It can trick you into popcorn study- opening the Bible to a random passage without ever considering context or digging in.

Where do I Start Studying the Bible?

This is what I was grappling with and what many believers grapple with. There can be a little guilt in the fact that you are holding God’s word in front of you and don’t already know it better. It feels overwhelming since it is so large. There is sometimes a feeling of fear- what if you get stuck in a book that is too hard to understand? What if it’s boring? Then guilt at thinking it might be boring!

Start With a Gospel

If you are a new believer, or if you are new to studying the Bible. Even if you simply haven’t studied a Gospel in the past year or two, start here! As Christians the Gospel is the air we breathe. It is the epicenter to our understanding of Scripture.

My favorite Gospel is John, but you can’t pick a wrong Gospel. Mark is the shortest and may appeal to you for that reason. Luke was written by a doctor, so if you are a details person, that may appeal to you. It doesn’t matter, because eventually you should get to all of them. This is just a decision of where to begin your lifetime journey.

Where to begin to study the Bible

Chronological Study

I go into what it means to study the Bible in this earlier post, but if you aren’t ready for an in depth book study, you may want to consider reading through the entire Bible. I love to read through the Bible chronologically. It helps put the big picture story of the Bible in order in my head. I love that a chronological reading of the Bible can show how God was planning out redemption from the days of Adam and Eve.

Starting With the Issues You Face

It may be that there is a certain issue that is bringing you back to Scripture. While I don’t like pulling verses out of context from all over the Bible to address an issue, I do love studying a specific book that sheds light on my struggles. The book of Job is comforting in hard times. Ephesians can help if you are struggling with spiritual warfare. If you need assurance of your salvation, study 1 John. It is a great idea to study a book that speaks to something you need guidance on and then memorize key verses that highlight the main points.

Something is Better Than Nothing

No matter what you choose, the important thing is that you choose something. The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Don’t worry about starting incorrectly, worry about not getting started. When you finish the first book, start a new one. Do it again until you have read the Bible entirely and then start again. Do it until you know the Word as well as you know the lines from your favorite movie.

If you are interested in learning more about how to study the Bible effectively, check out my course How to Study the Bible, here.

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  • Anne-onedeterminedlife

    I love that you ended with: something is better then nothing. I think that’s the best advice. In the end, God wants to spend time with us, He will speak to us in any piece of scripture we read.

    May 15, 2019 at 4:28 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      For sure- I feel like the most dangerous thing is that someone can get overwhelmed and instead of opening the Word to read something, they sigh and set it aside with nothing!

      May 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm Reply
  • Carolyn

    Yes and yes!! I will be sharing this with all of my Bible Study gals! This is a wonderful resource to reminder one another and keep each other accountable!

    May 15, 2019 at 4:48 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      Thanks so much for sharing it!

      May 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm Reply
  • Sandy Davis

    I love the chart you provide especially where to study for certain issues we may be struggling with! Thank you for this!

    May 15, 2019 at 5:33 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      So glad it was helpful Sandy!

      May 15, 2019 at 9:36 pm Reply
  • christa sterken

    Wonderful ideas, I love the idea too of starting with an issue you struggle with. I think as a new Christian, it took me a few years to understand even what the concordance was at the back! Have a wonderful day

    May 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      It’s so easy to forget the things we learned those first few years as believers- that’s such a good point.

      May 15, 2019 at 9:36 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    Thank you for this! I’ve pointed people to John before, but this resource will be so helpful!

    May 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      May 15, 2019 at 9:37 pm Reply
  • Jenna | Peaches & Prayer

    Awesome advice! I love starting in the Psalms or Proverbs 💜

    May 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      I circle back to those often!

      May 15, 2019 at 9:37 pm Reply
  • Sarah Althouse

    I’ve done all of the above and recently decided to read through chronologically. It amazes me how much I forget from the old testament!

    May 15, 2019 at 8:58 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      Yes! there is something new every time I go through! I have a soft spot in my heart for the Old Testament.

      May 15, 2019 at 9:38 pm Reply
  • Casey

    Great chart! Definitely something I’ll pass along the next time someone asks me where to start.

    May 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen


      May 17, 2019 at 3:49 pm Reply
  • Nicole B.

    Super helpful post! Love the graphic, too! I’m pinning it now!

    May 23, 2019 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • danellsteffen

      Thanks Nicole!

      May 24, 2019 at 4:35 pm Reply

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