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A Guide To Read The Holy Bible For Non-Christian Beginners

Written by
Ngoc Bui
and
and
February 8, 2023
A Guide To Read The Holy Bible For Non-Christian Beginners
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I started reading the Bible around Christmas as a way to kill time. So far, I have finished Genesis and I am at the beginning of Exodus. I grew up non-religious. Therefore, I have met many atheists and non-religious people having prejudices against God and the Bible. Personally, I found stories in the Bible captivating. Even though I did not want to convert to Christianity, I read the Bible to educate myself on other people’s beliefs and religion. It could also be useful to me as a Humanities and English Literature student because there are many literary texts referring to biblical events and characters. My Christian friend, Angel, guided me through and explained many abstract verses to me. Based on what Angel has taught me (huge thanks to Angel!) and my own experiences, this is my guide to non-Christian and non-religious people who want to begin reading the Bible.

1. You may ask, “what if I don’t have a physical Bible?”
The app I am using to read the Bible is YouVersion (introduced to me by Angel). YouVersion is an online and mobile Bible platform available for both Android and iOS. The app has 2,863 English versions (Wikipedia) ranging from Amplified Bible (AMP) and New International Version (NIV) to Young’s Literal Translation 1898 (YLT98). YouVersion features the Bible in 1,868 different languages (Wikipedia). Besides English, you can read the Bible in your native language if English is your second language. The app also has audio Bibles, so if you do not have time to read, you can still listen to the audio. With YouVersion, you can highlight a verse you like, share it, and write down your prayer below the verse you highlight. 

I personally preferred YouVersion over the physical book because I could click to see notes made by the translators right beside the words. With the physical book, the notes are footnotes, and I would have to move back and forth to read the footnotes. This sometimes made me lose track of what I was reading.

2. Translation versions of the Bible
There are many English-translated versions of the Bible. However, The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University and Purdue University published a study in 2014, which found that the two most popular versions among Americans are King James Version (KJV) and New International Version (NIV). According to Cambridge University Press, KJV uses early seventeenth-century English, while NIV “marries meaning-for-meaning principles with word-for-word renderings.” New International Version (NIV) uses contemporary language which is very clear and straightforward.

The version I am using is the New International Version. It was more approachable to me because the language is easier to understand. Angel prefers the King James Version because she likes the classic style. If you are interested in getting a book but do not know what its version is, you can find a book’s version labeled on the spine (see fig. 1).

Fig. 1: The name of the version is labeled on the spine (source: Beyond Today).



3. Books, chapters, and verses
The current English Bible contains sixty-six books categorized into two sections: The Old Testament (thirty-nine books) and the New Testament (twenty-seven books). The Old Testament is the first section of the Bible that is written prior to the time of Jesus Christ. It “explains the creation of the world, the exodus of Israelites, and the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God” (Diffen). The Old Testament contains books such as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, etc… Meanwhile, the New Testament emphasizes the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Christian Church (Diffen). The New Testament has books like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, etc…

Each book in the Bible is broken down into chapters and verses. On the top of a page, you can see something like Genesis 1:10. Genesis is the name of the book; 1 is the chapter of the book; 10 is the verse of the chapter. Thus, you can find the formula of book-chapter-verse written on every page of the Bible (see fig 2).

Fig. 2: Book-Chapter-Verse (source: JW.ORG)

I hope my guide will help to solve some of your questions and confusion as beginners. Reading the Bible was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had. It will be worth your time regardless of who you are, a religious or non-religious person.

Arthur Spring Elections 2024
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Arthur Spring Elections 2024
Miracle Territory April 20th
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Arthur News School of Fish

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