How Do We Read the Bible?
If someone has never read the Bible or is just getting started, the best place to begin is with the New Testament. The Old Testament is always interesting, sometimes confusing, and often sounds strange because we read it without knowing its historical setting, we don't know much about the person who wrote it, or the reason why he wrote it and to whom he wrote it to, and so on. The New Testament is what Christians really need to read, in particular the Gospels. If you want to start reading the Bible on your own we suggest beginning with Matthew, Mark and then Luke, in that order. We do not suggest beginning with John. John’s Gospel was the last written and has a lot more theology than the other three and will require having more than just a basic knowledge or understanding of the Bible. The first three Gospels are called Synoptics, meaning that they tell the “story” of Jesus. John’s Gospel is not written in that same way.
Reading and understanding the Bible involves much more than just opening up the Bible and reading it. If you really want to get everything you can from reading the Bible, it will take possibly using a study guide, attending classes or workshops that help you through the readings, or possibly attending Bible Study groups that read and discuss the Bible as a community, maybe even doing all of the above.
Also – in the New American Bible (which is the version authorized by the Roman Catholic Church), there are notes at the beginning of each of the books of the Bible that give a great introduction and explanation of what each of the following books contain.
Whatever you decided to do, the fact that you feel the calling to open up the Bible and read it is a great first step. Reading the Bible is truly a labor of love and will be there to guide you through life.
May God bless you and bring you peace.
Scripture Study - Understanding The Bible
There are no Scripture Studies Guides created for children, however, you can get help in explaining the Word at a child's level through the use of Our Sunday Visitor's website which provides a Children's section which includes a Question of the Week, Sunday Readings & Background, Activity of the Week, and even Saint of the Week to help explain Scripture to our children at their level.
St. Mary’s Press has the New American Bible for younger and older teens. They have corresponding study materials on their website.
Loyola Press has a series of 6-week Scripture study courses based on specific books of the Bible. These are designed to take young people deeper in their understanding and living of the Word of God.
Our Archdiocese's CCE Office Word of God web page has a lot of good study resources. See the Family Resource section. Many of these are from Catholic catechetical publishers which help families (age specific groups) break open the Sunday Scriptures. Most are free.
There are many Scripture Study Guides available for adults. Here are a few suggestions if you are looking for a study guide.