You may be a new Christian, or you may have received your first Bible. But do you know how to Navigate a Bible? And by ‘navigate’ I mean “find your way around”?
I think mature Christians have forgotten what it is like to open a Bible for the first time. We give a Bible to someone and say ” Here’s a gift for you. Start by reading John’s Gospel!”!
Wowzer! Whilst the intention is great, the understanding is zero.
” John who?”……… “What’s a Gospel?” ……….Why aren’t the Books of the Bible alphabetical?”
So where do you start? (The answers to the above questions are the end of this post!
How to Navigate a Bible – finding your way around
Open your Bible at the beginning and after the Title
Next, you will see either a page explaining the different notations and abbreviations of the Bible you have OR an Index of the Bible contents. (Your Bible might be Thumb-Indexed ie marked down the side of each page – which is super helpful) The Bible is divided into 66 books 49 of them are in the Old Testament (ie Books that were written before Jesus was born) and 27 books in the New Testament (ie written about Jesus life and the events afterwards) Now THIS is the page you will want to access a lot until you learn which books are where in the Bible. So mark it with a sticky note or edge the page with Washi tape. Basically, anything that will help you find it quickly. Go to the Honey Resource Library for additional helps
Familiarize yourself with that list of Books in the Bible it will save you the frustration (not to say embarrassment) of not being able to find a book mentioned in a Sermon or Bible Study.
When you turn to the main text of the Bible, you will see that the individual books are divided into Chapters. Each Chapter is then divided into verses ie about the length of a sentence. Chapters and verses are really there to help you locate information referred to by others in Sermons, books or Bible Study groups. (For Bible book abbreviations -read about them here)
How to Navigate a Bible – What’s all this other stuff?
If this is your first Bible it may also have other notes and helpful information in it, so really take time to explore those too.
But don’t get overwhelmed.
There can be a HUGE amount of information in those pages. Just take your time to Navigate your Bible, to look around it. Whilst the Bible can be read like any other book from cover to cover, it is not a ‘once-and-done’ kind of read. It is a book that will occupy you for the rest of your life. The more you read it (and study it), the more you will see, and learn, and understand.
Navigate your Bible Maps
At the back of your Bible (depending on which copy you have) you may see a Map section. These are super-helpful in tracking the journeys of the characters written about in the Bible. Some maps will also show the Border changes through the span of history in the Bible. There may be some maps showing plans of significant buildings and of Jerusalem too.
How to Navigate the Concordance in your Bible – What’s that?!
Also in the back of your Bible you may find something that looks like a Dictionary. This list of words guides you to the places where you can find the words used in the text of your Bible, using a system of abbreviations for the Bible Books. In the Concordance will be listed the most significant uses of the word you are looking up (See the Honey Bible Study Glossary for more information about Concordances here)
Conclusion- How to Navigate a Bible
In answer to the questions at the beginning of this Post
Who was John? He wrote the book called the Gospel of John. You will find that it is the fourth book in the New Testament. “Gospel” simply means good news. John was a disciple of the Lord Jesus and was inspired to write his history of Jesus’ life, and death as well as the words He spoke.
As for why the Bible isn’t alphabetical? Well, that is partly – but not entirely – because it is arranged historically! Confusing I know but that’s the reason!
Just one last thing before you go. When you look at the Bible Contents page you may have noticed John’s name also as 1 John, 2 John and 3 John those aren’t his Gospel, those refer to the letters that he also wrote.
FURTHER INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE:-