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4. Read a re-ordered Bible.

When you’re ready for longer stretches, try The Books of the Bible, a version that tries to correct for some odd choices made long ago. The order of books in most Bibles doesn’t always make sense chronologically, narratively, or in terms of authorship. This version tries to present the Bible as a more coherent reading experience.

It also does away with those distracting chapters and verses, which have transformed the Bible into a long list of standalone verses that get put to all sorts of misleading uses.

5. If you have to read just one book, read Genesis.

You can spend a lifetime thinking about Genesis, and people do. Genesis shows up everywhere, all the time — in controversies about science and education, pressing social and political issues, and all sorts of great (or not so great) movies, music, and novels.

6. But don’t just read one book. At least read the Gospel of Luke, too.

Or one of the other gospels — Matthew, Mark, or John. Each of these accounts of Jesus’ life and teaching is distinct, which is why all four are included. Luke has the best opening story — it’s the Christmas story, basically, but with an awesome preface — and it also folds really neatly into Acts of the Apostles, which was written by the same author, which is pretty dramatic, and which may lead to reading at least three Bible books.

 

Stay tuned for part 3...