25 Essential Bible Passages

The Bible can be an intimidating book. Part of my mission in life is to help people enjoy and understand the Bible. But most people don’t know where to start. That’s why I’ve compiled below a list of 25 passages that I think every Christian should know.

If you were only going to read one book of the Bible, I would recommend Luke if you want to learn about God through story, or Romans if you want to learn about God through concepts and principles.

Of course, I strongly recommend that you read (or listen) to the entire Bible as soon as possible and as often as possible. But I DO NOT recommend that you start at Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. Here’s a link to a much better reading plan. It will get you through all 1,189 chapters of the Bible in a way that makes much more sense.

You can find the passages below online at Bible Gateway. If you’re new to the Bible, I recommend The Message or the New Living Translation. If you feel more at home with the Bible, then there are many other good choices like the NASB, NKJV, KJV, NIV, AMP, and others.

25 Essential Bible Readings

  1. Jesus’ death and resurrection: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21 (Yes, the first two items on this list contain multiple chapters from more than one book, but I think it’s good to be familiar with all of them.)
  2. Birth of Jesus: Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2
  3. Love chapter: 1 Corinthians 13
  4. Faith chapter: Hebrews 11
  5. Triumph chapter: Romans 8
  6. Sermon on the Mount including the Lord’s prayer: Matthew 5-7
  7. Ten Commandments: Exodus 20 (or Deuteronomy 5)
  8. 23rd Psalm: Psalm 23
  9. Born again: John 3
  10. Jesus’ mission: Luke 4
  11. Prodigal son: Luke 15
  12. Creation and the fall: Genesis 1-3
  13. Crossing the Red Sea: Exodus 14
  14. David & Goliath: 1 Samuel 17
  15. God’s benefits: Psalm 103
  16. Final judgment and heaven: Revelation 20-22
  17. Faith and works: James 2
  18. Suffering: 1 Peter 4
  19. Children of God: 1 John 3
  20. Forgiving others: Matthew 18
  21. Living sacrifices: Romans 12
  22. Upper room discourse and prayer: John 14-17
  23. Prayer of repentance: Psalm 51 (based on 2 Samuel 11-12)
  24. Jesus predicts the future: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21
  25. Return of Jesus: 1 Thessalonians 4-5

A few bonus readings:

  • Conversion of Saul: Acts 9
  • Daniel & the lions’ den: Daniel 6
  • Lazarus raised from the dead: John 11
  • Joshua & the battle of Jericho: Joshua 6
  • Jonah: Jonah 1-4
  • Noah’s flood: Genesis 6-9
  • Elijah at Mount Carmel: 1 Kings 18
  • Righteous living: Psalm 1
  • Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53

Of course I’m leaving out hundreds of important passages, but I think if you read these, you would be off to a great start.

Other people would pick out different passages and their list might be great also. What passages do you think should be on this list and why?

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