Do you want to read the Bible but just don't know where to begin? Or have you resolved to read and then fizzled out after? You're not alone, and this is a struggle that most, if not all of us have. But struggling does not mean we give up in despair! In this post, we've put together some practical helps and resources to get us started. 

Bible reading – where to begin?

Here are some good books to get started with: Philippians, Colossians and Mark. These are relatively short and manageable books of the New Testament that will give you a good handle of Bible reading one on one. If you’re reading the gospel of Mark, a natural division falls between chapters 8-9, so you might want to plan meeting your friend to read that first half before plowing on.

Together with the introduction articles from a good study Bible as a help (we
recommend the ESV Study Bible), you’re all set! 

How to do it?

If you need a refresher for Bible reading, you can read more about the 4R/OY method or the Swedish method. David Helm has developed an excellent online course to accompany his book “One to One Bible Reading” (also a good book to read!). 

Here', we've put together a breakdown of some of the books of the New Testament to get you started. So grab your Bible, a pen, a paper and even a friend, and start reading. 


PHILIPPIANS (7 sessions)
Theme: The chief theme of Philippians is encouragement: Paul wants to encourage the Philippians to live out their lives as citizens of a heavenly colony, as evidenced by a growing commitment to service to God and to one another. The way of life that Paul encourages was manifested uniquely in Jesus Christ; it was also evident in the lives of Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus (ESV Study Bible).

  1. Phil 1:1-11
  2. Phil 1:12-26
  3. Phil 1:27-2:11
  4. Phil 2:12-30
  5. Phil 3:1-11
  6. Phil 3:12-4:1
  7. Phil 4:2-23

COLOSSIANS (8 sessions)
Theme: Christ is Lord over all of creation, including the invisible realm. He has secured redemption for his people, enabling them to participate with him in his death, resurrection, and fullness (ESV Study Bible).

  1. Col 1:1-14
  2. Col 1:15-23
  3. Col 1:24-2:5
  4. Col 2:6-15
  5. Col 2:16-23
  6. Col 3:1-11
  7. Col 3:12-4:1
  8. Col 4:2-18

MARK (26 sessions in total, 14 sessions for Ch 1-8, 12 sessions for Ch 9-16)
Theme: The ultimate purpose and theme of Mark is to present and defend Jesus’ universal call to discipleship. Mark returns often to this theme, and as the narrative unfolds he categorizes his main audience as either followers or opponents of Jesus. The outline demonstrates that Mark’s central effort in presenting and supporting this call is to narrate the identity and teaching of
Jesus. This fact implies that discipleship for Mark is essentially a relationship with Jesus, not merely following a certain code of conduct. Fellowship with Jesus marks the heart of the disciple’s life, and this fellowship includes trusting him, confessing him, taking note of his conduct, following his teaching, and being shaped by a relationship to him. Discipleship also means being prepared to face the kind of rejection that Jesus faced (ESV Study Bible).

Part 1

  1. Mark 1:1-15
  2. Mark 1:16-39
  3. Mark 1:40-2:17
  4. Mark 2:18-3:6
  5. Mark 3:7-35
  6. Mark 4:1-34
  7. Mark 4:35-5:20
  8. Mark 5:21-6:6
  9. Mark 6:7-29
  10. Mark 6:30-52
  11. Mark 6:53-7:23
  12. Mark 7:24-8:10
  13. Mark 8:11-30
  14. Mark 8:31-38

Part 2

  1. Mark 9:1-29
  2. Mark 9:30-50
  3. Mark 10:1-31
  4. Mark 10:32-52
  5. Mark 11:1-25
  6. Mark 11:27-12:27
  7. Mark 12:28-44
  8. Mark 13:1-37
  9. Mark 14:1-25
  10. Mark 14:26-72
  11. Mark 15:1-39
  12. Mark 15:4-16:8

We've also made this reading plan available as an image, for easy reference on your phones and electronic devices. So take up and read!