BEGINNING YOUR JOURNEY WITH THE BIBLE
The Bible can be a very intimidating book, especially if you aren't familiar with how it is put together or what you should be reading. So we offer a few helpful tips for first-time readers and those just beginning to get to know God's word. We'll also offer some help finding your way around it's many books. We trust you will soon find it a companion you do not want to live your life without.
The Bible is a collection of 66 "books" which were written by more than 40 authors over the course of roughly 1500 years. These are the writings of men specifically chosen by God, who's lives all have the mark of His supernatural hand on them. These books record their journeys and God's words to them. Because the Bible holds a record of actual events, its trustworthiness can be checked against archaeology, science, prophecy and history.
For an in-depth discussion on the trustworthiness of the Bible, go to:
The 66 books of the Bible fall into 2 categories.
The Old Testament:
The first 39 books belong to the Old Testament. This spans the world's history from Creation to around 400BC. The Old Testament contains all the written instructions for the Jewish religion.
The New Testament:
The next 27 books form the New Testament. These were all written by Jesus' disciples after His death (between 40AD and 100AD). They contain the story of the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of Christianity. So the New Testament contains all the written instructions for the Christian faith.
HOW DO THE NEW & OLD TESTAMENT FIT TOGETHER?
Judaism, with its countless symbols, ceremonies and hundreds of prophecies, pointed towards the promised saviour of all mankind – Jesus Christ. When Jesus finally came, according to God's plan, Judaism then gave way to Christianity – which focused on Jesus Christ (His death and resurrection), who came to save a fallen world. In other words, the New Testament is the fulfilment of the promises of the Old Testament.
In truth this is a very rich discussion and one which deserves our attention. We answer it much more fully in our discussion about the covenants. We feel that every Christian will be enriched by a deeper understanding of the Biblical covenants.
For a clear explanation of this topic, see:
WHERE AND HOW SHOULD I BEGIN READING?
If you want to become familiar with the Bible for the first time, it is best to begin with the New Testament (since this is where the teachings of Christianity are to be found). The first four books all tell the story of the life & death of Jesus Christ from a different disciple's perspective (we call these four books "gospels"). We suggest you start at the fourth one, the Gospel of John. It can be found about 3/4 of the way through the Bible. Read John's gospel and keep going all the way through the New Testament until you reach the book of Jude. Revelations (the very last Bible book) can be avoided for the first few times you read through the New Testament. Though it is a very important book it is also tricky, even for more experienced Christians. We have dedicated "The End-Game" section of this website exclusively to topics related to the book of Revelations.
For more on Revelations and the prophecies being fulfilled in our days, click:
The End-Game – (link not active yet)
When you sit down to read your Bible, begin with a short prayer, asking the Lord to reveal the meaning of the text to you. Then read only 1 or 2 chapters per sitting, taking it slowly as you go. There is no use in speed-reading just to get through it, or you will be past a scripture before you have given it time to speak to you.
The Old Testament can be added to your reading list once you have been through the New Testament 4 or 5 times. But this is not a must, the Old Testament and Revelations can be left for much later your journey if you prefer. When you feel ready to delve into the Bible in a deeper way, we have a section that will walk you through the Bible study process. Here is the link:
WILL I BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE?
The Bible is a spiritual book that can only be properly understood with the help of the Holy Spirit. Fortunately, when we are "re-born" the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and as a result He is with us when we read God's Word and will help us to come to a true understanding of it – if we allow Him to. In short then, yes, you will be able to increasingly understand the Bible as you grow as a Christian. If, however, you are not completely convinced that the Holy Spirit is already in you, we suggest that you read the following page.
We should also mention that we have taken great effort on this website (particularly "The Living Word" section), to give you all the help we can in properly understanding the Bible. So the more you look through the material we have available, the easier things should become.
IS READING THE BIBLE ANY FUN?
The short answer is absolutely YES! But many people do not enjoy reading the Bible because they do not know that they need to be "re-born" before the Bible will come to life in their hands. The Holy Spirit in us transforms the words into something that is alive, and its very exciting when this happens to you the first time. When God is both in us and active, reading the Bible should feel inspiring. You should be able to notice you were spiritually fed afterwards – much like a conversation with someone close to you leaves you feeling lifted up on the inside.
If you are a re-born Christian and you have not experienced this yet, the following article will help:
Feeding on the Word
6 - WHAT ABOUT THE CONFUSING BITS OF THE BIBLE?
There are sections of the Bible which are hard to understand, especially as a young Christian. Don't let that dishearten you. Leave them alone for a while because, unlike other books, the Bible is spiritual. That means that God must reveal its meaning, not to your mind, but to your spirit (your inner-most being). The result is that you will only be able to receive certain truths when your spirit is matured enough to understand them. But as your walk with the Lord goes deeper, and your life gets cleaner, and your spirit gets stronger, you will notice how much more of the Bible makes sense to you.
Interestingly, reading the Bible (specifically the New Testament), is what helps prepare your spirit to understand the Bible. You may find yourself in conversation or driving your car days later, when suddenly the words you read will come back to mind and God will show you something of their meaning. So don't try too hard to mentally figure out the Bible's teachings. Read the scriptures and let God reveal their meaning to you.
But we should also add that much of this website is dedicated to helping you understand the teaching of scripture. Please read through our "Clear Christianity" section, for an overview of the Christian walk that will put you on a helpful path.
Clear Christianity – (link not active yet)
7 - WHICH BIBLE SHOULD I GET?
There are many Bible version available when you start looking for one, but only a handful we happily endorse.
We highly recommend the Geneva Bible and the King James Version. If old-English is a challenge, then consider an Easy-Read King James Version (ERKJV) or the ever-popular New King James Version (NKJV). In Afrikaans we recommend the 1953 translation or "Ou Vertaling". For other languages we suggest you look online for which Bible in your language is based on the "Textus Receptus" original text.
We go into depth on why this is the Bible text we recommend in: