I get asked a lot what part of the Bible one should begin reading when one first starts reading the Bible. Maybe somebody is wanting to get to know God for the first time, maybe somebody has just given their life to Jesus, or maybe somebody is finally done with religion and “playing church” and wants to begin an intimate relationship with God. Whatever the case, I get asked this question a lot.
Almost 100% of the time I answer, “You need to read the book of John.”
John is one of the four gospels in the New Testament that tell the story of Jesus while he was on this earth. I think as Christ-followers our main job is to know Jesus and follow Jesus. It is hard to follow Jesus without diving head first into the gospels.
So why John over the other gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke? Let’s put it this way…
Suppose you were interested in learning more about Abraham Lincoln, but you were allowed to read only one of the many biographies about him. Which book would you select out of these options?
- a book written by a modern historian who knows about Lincoln only from books that other people have written
- a book written by a journalist who lived at the same time as Lincoln and actually saw Lincoln at public events
- a book written by one of the men who served in the cabinet of Lincoln’s presidential administration
- a book written by Lincoln’s best friend, who was a close advisor to him from the time he was a struggling lawyer until his assassination
I would guess that you would pick the biography of Lincoln that was written by his best friend. You would want to learn about Lincoln from the guy who knew him personally, intimately, and knew him best. In the same way, John is the book for you if you want to know about Jesus.
The Gospel of John gives you an up-close-and-personal encounter with Jesus because it was written by the man who (many Biblical scholars believe) was probably Jesus’ closest friend. John paints a picture of Jesus that goes far beyond just the facts of Christ’s life. You will see an intimate portrait of Jesus that you can find nowhere else when reading John.
John and Jesus were BFFL (you know, Best Friend For Life).
If you want to know Jesus on a deeper, more personal level, I strongly recommend you crack open your Bible to the book of John and start reading.