Just as it’s helpful to know something about the culture and history of Jane Austin before you read Pride and Prejudice, it’s helpful to know the culture and history of each book of the Bible. These resources will give you the big picture.
I need a quick history lesson:
What is each book of the Bible about?
Book by Ray Stedman: Adventuring Through the Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to the Entire Bible
Ray Stedman: Highlights of the Bible : Genesis to Nehemiah
Ray Stedman: Highlights of the Bible : poets and prophets
Audio series by Ray Stedman: Panorama of Scripture
Blog posts by John MacArthur: An Introduction to each book of the Bible
Dust to Glory by RC Sproul; gives the basic structure of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
What’s in the Bible? by RC Sproul; for the person who has never had a simple introduction to the Bible.
Where should I start reading?
For someone brand new who has never read the Bible, RC Sproul suggests reading through the Bible in this order:
The Old Testament Overview:
- Genesis (the history of Creation, the fall, and God’s covenantal dealings with the patriarchs)
- Exodus (the history of Israel’s liberation and formation as a nation)
- Joshua (the history of the military conquest of the Promised Land)
- Judges (Israel’s transition from a tribal federation to a monarchy)
- 1 Samuel (Israel’s emerging monarchy under Saul and David)
- 2 Samuel (David’s reign)
- 1 Kings (Solomon and the divided kingdom)
- 2 Kings (the fall of Israel)
- Ezra (the Israelites’ return from exile)
- Nehemiah (the restoration of Jerusalem)
- Amos and Hosea (examples of minor prophets)
- Jeremiah (an example of a major prophet)
- Ecclesiastes (Wisdom Literature)
- Psalms and Proverbs (Hebrew poetry)
The New Testament Overview:
- The Gospel of Luke (the life of Jesus)
- Acts (the early church)
- Ephesians (an introduction to the teaching of Paul)
- 1 Corinthians (life in the church)
- 1 Peter (an introduction to Peter)
- 1 Timothy (an introduction to the Pastoral Epistles)
- Hebrews (Christology)
- Romans (Paul’s theology)