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‘Read This First’: A Helpful Handbook to Enhance Your Bible Reading

Studying the Bible takes time, and learning from all that it teaches can be significantly helped by applying strategies that facilitate deeper understanding. The book Read This First: A Simple Guide to Getting the Most from the Bible is a brief, easy-to-read handbook that provides specific instruction for discerning what God is saying in the most important book in history.

Given that the Bible is more like a library of books than a single volume, it’s important to distinguish between the various genres represented within it. For example, our approach to reading the Psalms should be different from our approach to learning from Old Testament narratives, which in turn should differ from our approach to learning from the Gospels, and so on. And because the Bible was written by more than forty authors over two thousand years, it’s also important to understand the context of the text. Knowing when each book was written, the author’s intent, and the author’s original audience is also key to maximizing your understanding. Read This First explains how to do all of this! And to help you apply what you’re learning, the book provides excerpts from many different books in Scripture along the way to show you how to put the principles it recommends into practice.

Read This First offers accessible strategies to help you not only grasp the individual books in the Bible but also trace the broad storyline that runs from Genesis to Revelation. You’ll learn to appreciate God’s careful attention to detail as you improve your study methods. In addition to the practical exercises at the end of each chapter, Read This First also includes information in the appendix explaining interesting historical information about the Bible and additional recommended resources for further Bible study. At the end of the book, you’ll even find a six-step guide that you can use for ongoing reference to help you apply the Bible’s teaching to your life.

Of this book Alistair Begg says, “I recently provided new believers with study Bibles filled with notes, maps, quotes, and explanations. Instead of finding it helpful, they were bewildered. If only I could have given them a copy of this excellent book. From now on, I will definitely recommend that they read this first.”

Whether you are new to reading the Bible or are a seasoned believer who wants to disciple others, you’ll benefit from the instruction in Read This First.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.