We have a supply of Bibles that we give out to students. Recently, I was thinking that simply handing a student a Bible isn’t really setting them up to win. Unless they have parents or older siblings who are Scripture savvy, it’s going to be difficult for a teen or pre-teen to know where to start diving into God’s Word.

Last week, we created a brief “reading guide” for students who want to get into the Bible for the first time. We printed them out, laminated them, and then stuck one in each of the Bibles in our supply. From now on, when students receive a Bible, they will also get this guide to help them get started.

After it was printed, an idea popped into my head to print the text of these guides on bookmarks— that way, students will have a reason to keep them and a place to put them. We will put this into effect in our second edition of our Bible reading guides.

Below is the exact text of the guide. Feel free to steal it or make it better for your ministry context.

What you hold in your hands is more than just a book.

It’s a group of 66 writings, written by more than 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years, that all tell one story!

It’s a story about God, people, and God’s relationship with people. It’s a story that begins with the creation of the universe and still continues today.

For thousands of years, the words of The Bible have guided, inspired, encouraged, and empowered billions of people just like you! Do you want God’s Word to impact your life, too?

Reading The Bible can be intimidating at first. After all, it’s really long, the writing is kind of small, and there are big, hard-to-pronounce names like Nebuchadnezzar (say that five times fast). Luckily, this LIVE Bible is designed specifically for middle school and high school students, with all kinds of descriptions, explanations, illustrations, photos, and more that will help God’s Word make sense to you as you read it.

Still, you might be asking, where do I begin? That’s a great question! Many people have attempted to read the entire Bible cover-to-cover, beginning-to-end, but very few make it all the way through. Instead, what we suggest is to begin at one of the following Starting Points. Doing so will help you get a good understanding on what God has been up to throughout history, without stressing you out or confusing you. Eventually, it would be awesome for you to read the whole Bible, but don’t feel pressured to complete it in the next year or even the next five years. Begin at a Starting Point and see where God takes you from there!

Starting Points – Open to the Table of Contents and look for the following books:

  1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – These four books, also known as the Gospels, describe the life of Jesus, the central person of The Bible. Each Gospel gives a different perspective of Jesus’ incredible life. For any Christian or for anyone who is curious about Christianity, the Gospels are without a doubt the best place to start.
  1. Acts – Directly following the four Gospels, Acts tells the story of the first Christians and how God used regular people like us to spread the Good News of Jesus around the world.
  1. Psalms – Ever wondered how to pray? The book of Psalms (pronounced Salms; the ‘P’ is silent), at the center of the Bible, is a collection of prayers and songs written directly to God and about God. In Psalms, you’ll discover what God is like and what it means to trust him with everything.
  1. Proverbs – Proverbs is a book of wisdom, mostly written by King Solomon, the wisest person who has ever lived. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. A popular technique for getting into the Bible is to read one chapter of Proverbs every day for a month. (For example, if it’s September 1, read Proverbs chapter 1, and so on).
  1. Genesis – The history of the first humans, beginning with how God created the universe. It’s the first book in the Bible, so why is it the number 5 Starting Point? When you read the Gospels and understand why Jesus came to the Earth and died for us, the events recorded in Genesis make more sense.

We pray that your new journey into The Bible will transform your life, changing the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you act for the better. If you ever get stuck or have any questions about what you’re reading, feel free to send us an email at [email protected]!

Taylor Bird is the Middle School Pastor at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, CA. He has been serving in youth ministry for five years.