BibleProject | How to Read the Bible


Day 2: The Story of the Bible

The Bible is a really large book made up of the Old and New Testaments, which themselves are made up of many books. There’s a lot of ancient history, poetry, and letters written across the span of 1,500 years. On top of that, there’s a cast of hundreds of people over this period of time. Who can keep it all straight?

It can be easy to get lost, not only because it’s an ancient text but also because the book is large and complex.

Despite this variety and diversity, the Bible shows a remarkable unity. The most dominant type of literature in the Bible is narrative. The Bible opens with “in the beginning,” and the second to last paragraph concludes with “and they reigned forever and ever.” Narrative makes up 502 chapters—or 43 percent of the text. That’s nearly half the Bible! On the other hand, poetry makes up 33 percent of the Bible (387 chapters).

Although the Bible is diverse and may appear fragmented at first, it ultimately presents itself as a unified epic narrative that leads to Jesus. There is one main plotline weaving the different books and stories together.

Once you grasp this core storyline and how all the books fit together, you can open the Bible at any point and you’ll know right where you are and what’s going on.