One of the most transformational (and overlooked) discipleship techniques is reading the Bible one-to-one—simply sitting down with another person and walking through the text of Scripture with them.
While all of Scripture is God-breathed and relevant for every person, some books of the Bible may be especially useful for certain people or situations. What follows below is a dozen books of the Bible recommended for non-believers, new believers, and more mature believers.1
1. Mark – Mark is a great book to introduce people to Jesus. It’s short and punchy and forces readers to answer the questions “Who is Jesus?” and “What does it mean to follow Him?”2
2. Ecclesiastes – This poignant and relevant book amazes some non-Christians because of how well it describes human existence.
3. John – This gospel’s very purpose is that readers may believe Jesus is the Christ and have life in His name (John 20:31) and is a favorite place to start for many.
4. Genesis 1-12 – The Bible’s first chapters explain creation and God’s purpose, why the world is the way it is, and the promise of blessing fulfilled in Christ.
5. Luke – Luke’s detailed and orderly account of Christ features some of Scripture’s most-known stories/parables and focuses on Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament. Luke clearly presents the human condition and magnifies the work of Jesus.
6. Colossians – How easy it is to forget the gospel in lieu of more ‘advanced’ techniques and religious ways that promise a still deeper relationship with God? Colossians reminds Christians that they are complete in Christ but still called to grow in maturity.
7. 1 Peter – This short and practical book explains the implications of salvation, the new identity of a Christian, and encourages perseverance during suffering.
Bonus: Genesis – Genesis helps develop a Christian worldview and could answer questions that still nag at a new believer relating to creation, human nature, the essence of faith, election, etc.
8. Romans / Ephesians– These two doctrinal epistles unpack the gospel in detail and share practical implications of believing in Christ.
9. Deuteronomy – Deuteronomy provides a helpful summary of the first five books of the Old Testament. Introduce people to the riches of the Old Testament with this book that urges readers to choose life or death.
10. Psalms – The Psalms lead God’s people to God’s praise by walking through the various emotions and experiences of a believer’s life in dramatic poetry.
11. Isaiah – Isaiah, one of the harder books to read on this list, is one of most quoted Old Testament books quoted in the New Testament and will give readers a deep look into Christ’s identity as the Suffering Servant and the Bible’s grand story of salvation.
12. Micah – This minor prophet warns of judgment for sin and preaches the Shepherd-King’s salvation to those who repent.
1 After jotting down a few books of my own, I asked Marty Sweeney of Matthias Media, and two others (Scott Polender who contributed to One-to-One Bible Reading, and WordPartners’ Sean Martin) for some suggestions.
2 John Piper recommends two paths to take after reading Mark: Acts or Romans. Acts serves as the continuation of the story while Romans unpacks the theology behind Mark and systematically defines the gospel.
Paul commands Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13 to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture. . . .” Why be devoted to…Read more