It’s getting harder and harder to find anyone who can tell you how many books there are in the Bible. Even then, those who know the answer have a hard time breaking that number down between the Old and New Testaments. Spoiler alert, there are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. But does it end there? No it doesn’t, the Catholic Bible has 7 additional books, more on that later.
Where to start
I am not alone in the belief that a new reader of the Bible should start in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with the book of John. John gives a new reader and hopefully a new Christian an easy to read introduction to Jesus Christ. John starts with looking back at Genesis and moves thru the Resurrection of Christ.
Versions of the Bible
There are more versions of the Bible than my fingers will allow me to type here, but when it comes to starting fresh and being unfamiliar with the Bible, there are versions to steer clear of. Let me be clear about this next statement, the King James Version (KJV) which is my preferred version is not for the new reader of the Bible. It uses terms and phrases that will not be understood by new readers. When I think back to my youth, I remember picking up the KJV and then putting it back down because it was too hard to read and understand. I wonder how many future Christian’s we have lost because of this.
Make learning easy
I always suggest starting a new reader out on something they can easily understand. The New International Version (NIV), and the Common English Bible (CEB), are good places to start. These two versions among others offer the new reader an opportunity to learn, grow and become deeper in their faith without having to struggle with words and phrases that can be hard to understand. One last thing, make sure new readers have a medium to large print Bible, it will make their learning experience much easier.
As soon as we become aware of a new reader, it’s our job and our responsibility as learned Christians to come along side and assist them in their growth. Invite them to discuss what they are reading, and if they have no questions for you, ask questions of them to ensure they understood what they read. I was a member of Sunday school class taught by a man very well versed in the scripture, he was a great teacher. Charlie walked his Sunday school class thru every verse in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. His class didn’t just read the Bible, we discussed it. I made several trips thru the Bible with Charlie and learned more with every journey. Charlie was my training wheels, and now it is my turn to come along side and be bolted to other bikes.
Don’t take off the training wheels
Once you become a proficient reader, it’s time to make the move to the King James Version. You will still need your training wheels, because new words and phrases will be introduced, but you should easily pick up on most of theses new words and phrases based on your reading of an easier version. The KJV is a literal translation of the Bible while the NIV and CEB are close to the original but use modern language. A proficient reader will find the KJV rich in history, meaning, relevance, tradition and opportunity to become closer to the scripture and closer to God.
Give a Bible
If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, give them a Bible, just be sure to give them one that will not only start their journey, but keep them on the right path. The wrong path will find that gift tucked away on a shelf or in a drawer.
According to BibleGateway.com the 10 most popular books of the Bible are:
- 1 Corinthians
According to BibleGateway.com the 10 least read books of the Bible are:
- Obadiah (least popular book in the Bible)
- 2 John
- 3 John
- Joel and
In addition to the 66 books of the Holy Bible and 7 more in the Catholic Bible, there are many more books that didn’t make it into the Holy Canon of Scripture, but I’ll save that for another day.