Most non-believers would assume that Christians read the entire Bible. Most Christians have not read the Bible. I learned this after I took on reading cover-to-cover beginning in October of 2016.
A Christian friend of mine invited me to Church in the early part of October 2016, and she gave me a Bible following the service. I own several Bibles, but I decided to read the Bible she gave me.
Seven Weeks to read the entire Bible
So, a few days later, I started reading, and seven weeks later, I finished reading over 1,100 pages of small print. Finally, I am on the same page with other Christians, or so I thought.
Ironically, I discovered that few Christians read the entire Bible, cover-to-cover. I would have thought that people who teach in Bible study would have read in its entirety, but that's often not the case.
You don't have to read the Bible to become a Christian. I have personally always been a believer, but I now have an entirely different perspective.
I've learned that it is incredibly easy to misinterpret a verse to fit your needs, especially when you lack the foundation or the context of the verse.
Bible verses are subject to interpretation, so much so, that Bible Study groups, and Sunday school classes will spend an entire session on a single verse.
And, the Bible repeats the same stories over and over, with slight variations according to the person telling the story. So, we often end up with different interpretations of what the Bible says.
Reading the entire Bible is reading a series of books in a book
The Bible contains a series of Books inside of the Bible. Each book contains numbered chapters with each Verse having a unique number.
Most people will suggest you start with a particular book, such as John which is in the New Testament. I chose to read cover-to-cover, making it easier to know where to find the context in the Bible when talking with others.
What I learned is the Bible jumps around and is not in Chronological order. That the stories repeat themselves with slight variations, and that the Old Testament is not such a feel good story!
In fact, the Old Testament kept me feeling very uncomfortable knowing that I would not have survived during this period. Finally, I arrived at the New Testament and discovered that there is hope for me despite my past. That today is a new day, and that it is possible for me to be saved by my actions today.
Only God will judge me when it matters most
I've learned that there is only one who will judge me when judgment matters most, and that is God. We know that Jesus died for our sins and that anyone is capable of being saved, no matter what deeds you have done in the past.
We need only look to the criminal Jesus saved moments before they died on the Cross.
Luke 23:42-43 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
There are so many messages in the Bible I find important in my life, including those in the Old Testament. Therefore, I believe that reading the Bible cover-to-cover is the way to read and understand what the Bible says.
Then go back and study what is most important to you.