Starter List for Reading the Bible

Here is R. C. Sproul’s recommended starter list for people who have never read the Bible. The list is from R.C.’s book 5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow.

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)

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)

What do you think are the most important books to read in the Bible first?


  1. Margaret says:

    I guess I would choose Genesis for beginnings, Samuel for some of the history, Psalms for praise and worship, Luke for the life of Christ, John for the clear message of salvation, Acts for the history of the early church, Philippians for love, James for practical Christianity, and I John, another book about love.

    I am not a theologian, just an ordinary Christian, and have picked out some of my favorites.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Margaret – You may be just an ordinary Christian, but I like your list. Good job! (By the way, I think ordinary Christians are the best kind!)

  3. Barrie says:

    Margaret, I really enjoyed your list and I concur with your choices and I would add Proverbs for guiding principles and just about any of the books written by Paul. Paul had such a grasp on Christ and how we should Love and worship Christ. I too am an ordinary Christian and am not a theologian but I do Love Christ and love to share his Word.

  4. 3D says:

    Well, this is definitely not a blog article I thought I’d be commenting on… But as someone who’s not a Christian, I recommend that you read whatever you want to in the Old Testament, but in the New, make a point of hitting the Gospel of John and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

    It’s all there in John and Romans: the transcendent divinity of Christ and the repercussions of that for Christ’s follower.

  5. Ray Fowler says:

    3D – Thanks for your input. I agree John and Romans are both key. I’m surprised Sproul left John off his list.

Leave a Reply