Summary: Many "mature" Christians have never read their Bible except for passages for Sunday School or other lessons. I was one of them. When I opened my Bible and began reading the Bible for myself, that is when God started revealing himself to me.
Most Bible scholars would recommend the Gospel of John as the first book a new Christian should read.
-- John records the seven “I am” statements of Jesus.
1. I am the bread of life. John 6:35,48,51
2. I am the light of the world. John 8:12
3. I am the door of the sheep. John 10:7,9
4. I am the good shepherd. John 10:11,14
5. I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
6. I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
7. I am the true vine. John 15:1,5
-- John records only seven miracles or signs. Most theologians agree that these seven best show that Jesus is the Son of God.
1. Water to wine – John 2:1-11
2. Nobleman’s son - John 4:46-54
3. The helpless man at the pool of Bethesda – John 5
4. Feeding the 5000 – John 6:5-15
5. Walking on water. John 6:16-24
6. Healing a man blind from birth - John 9
7. Lazarus raised from the dead - John 11:1-46
-- John gives the most detail of the week leading up to the crucifixion. John 12-17
However, John is the deepest of the gospels, so it’s not my first choice to read, just because it takes some foundation to understand all that you’re going to find there.
MARK, THEN MATTHEW
I’ve become a fan of Mark as the first gospel to read.
-- Mark focuses on Jesus as a servant.
-- He doesn’t linger on a lot of details but gives you enough to be interesting.
-- He moves quickly from one event in the life Jesus to the next.
-- Mark is short and a quick overview of the life of Jesus.
-- It is also a good book to read with a special needs individual because of the concise stories.
-- If you read a chapter a day, it will take 16 days. A new Christian will be encouraged that they have made so much progress and know so many stories about the life of Jesus.
-- If you want to linger on an event, you can read what other gospels say about it; or you can wait until you finish Mark and go to another gospel that gives more detail and add that to what you have learned from Mark.
I would go to Matthew next.
-- Matthew lines up with Mark the best as far as what is told and the order of events but Matthew adds more details. So you have more detail for study after your quick overview from Mark.
-- It is also encouraging for a new Christian to recognize a story and recall some details about it.
When we read the four gospels, we have a full picture of the different aspects of Jesus.
-- Matthew shows us Jesus as the Messiah that Israel was waiting for God to send. He pulls in Old Testament scripture to show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah.
-- Mark shows us Jesus as the servant.
-- Luke shows us Jesus as a man. He was God but he was also man. He got tired. He got hungry. He experienced our physical limitations.
-- John shows Jesus as the Son of God, as God.
At any time that you say, "Ok, I need a break from this," you can jump over Acts to the letters written to the churches. I’m a fan of the letters. They are short and packed with information on the daily life of a Christian. Most are written by Paul to churches he had started. Romans is a letter to the Christian church at Rome, Corinthians is to the church of Corinth, and so on. There are also letters from others that are named for the writer: James; 1st and 2nd letters of Peter; 1st, 2nd and 3rd letters of John. The letters don’t have to be read in a certain order to understand them. Pick a short one and you can read it in a day. You can initial and date the books as you read them or checking them off on the list of the books in the front of your Bible.
Can you tell I like short and packed with information?
At some point you’ll want to go back to Acts.
-- Find out what was happening after Jesus was resurrected.
-- Learn about Peter, Paul and the early church.
-- It also tells how we were offered the salvation of the Jews.
-- Have you ever seen the maps of the journeys of Paul? I would see them and wonder how anyone could know all this stuff? The answer is Acts. Acts is very detailed about the cities Paul visited and the events that took place at each.
-- It even tells of his time in the Roman prison.