With last week’s look at the New Testament book of Philemon, our Letters to the Church series has come to an end! If you’ve been following along since the beginning, you’ve explored each of the “Pauline epistles”—the letters written by the apostle Paul to the early Christian communities.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through Paul’s letters to the church! By reading through these letters, you’ve gotten a very thorough look at the state of the early Christian church, and a comprehensive tour of the spiritual priorities that should dominate a Christian’s everyday life. If you missed this series, or if you want to revisit any of the entries, here’s a list of what we covered:
- Paul’s Letter to the Romans
- Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians
- Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians
- Paul’s Letter to the Galatians
- Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
- Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
- Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians
- Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians
- Paul’s First Letter to Timothy
- Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy
- Paul’s Letter to Titus
- Paul’s Letter to Philemon
If you’re ready for a new Bible reading experience, where should you turn next? Here are a few recommendations:
Read Paul’s backstory in the book of Acts.
Paul’s letters provide us many tantalizing glimpses into his life—he traveled all across the ancient Roman world, was threatened and imprisoned regularly… and did we mention that he started his career as an avowed enemy of Jesus Christ and a zealous persecutor of the Christian church? Now that you’ve read Paul’s letters, read his remarkable backstory—it is told (along with other accounts of the early Christian church and its leaders) in the book of Acts. You can start reading Acts by clicking here.
Read the rest of the New Testament epistles.
Paul didn’t write every letter that has been preserved as a New Testament book—there are numerous other epistles (often called the “general epistles”). In order, they are the books of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Jude. The book of Hebrews in particular is foundational to the Christian faith; we didn’t include it in our tour of the Pauline epistles, but some people believe it may have been written by the apostle. As with Paul’s letters, these are generally short and accessible, and now that you’re an experienced epistle-reader, you should find them rewarding to read.
Try a change of pace by reading a different type of Bible book.
The Bible is comprised of individual books from many different genres, of which the epistles are only one example. A natural next step after reading Paul’s epistles is to return to the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—and read them through. They’re not written in the same format as Paul’s letters, and were written with different purposes in mind than Paul had. They’re foundational to understanding Jesus Christ. While they’re individually longer than any of Paul’s epistles, they’re extremely readable and are filled with many famous stories and scenes.
If you’re interested in exploring part of the Old Testament, we covered the different types of literature that comprise the Old Testament in our Tour of the Bible blog series. That would make a good place to start an exploration of a particular Old Testament genre.
Start following a Bible reading plan.
While you can certainly read any parts of the Bible in whatever order you like, many Bible readers find it extremely helpful to follow a reading plan to pace them through God’s Word. Reading plans range from the relatively short (there are reading plans that walk you through the Gospels, for example) to the much more ambitious (read the entire Bible in a year!). The plan that works best for you will depend on what your personal Bible-reading goals are, as well as what you can work into your daily schedule. You can find a wide variety of reading plans on Bible Gateway; you can subscribe to one of our reading plans to have daily email reminders sent to you, customize a start date, and pause or restart a plan that you’ve already begun. You can browse our available reading plans by clicking here.
Wherever your Bible reading journey takes you next, we pray that God will bless your exploration of His Word.