I love all the Bible, but the books of it which are most important to me are, in no particular order: Genesis, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Jonah, Job and Psalms. What about you?
Probably Psalms. And Philippians. And Luke.
I like Ecclesiastes as well, and developed an affinity for Habakkuk as well, not only because I think it’s surprisingly relevant to modern times, but because I grew up listening to a cassette my dad had of a presentation Intervarsity did of the book (back in the 80s, I believe).
James because it is so practical ( though I am not that practical); or 1 John because of his kindness and optimism.
Ephesians. And then some of the others already listed here.
Here’s my justification:
Genesis- An epic section of stories which are timeless in their messages and their influence on western society. Just as epic as Gilgamesh and Homer in quality, yet much more relevant to the modern world.
Ecclesiastes- Perhaps the greatest work of philosophy ever written. Encourages an excellent, realistic view of life, and to not let worldly things bother you, they are meaningless.
Proverbs- Some of the greatest poetry and wisdom known to man.
Jonah- A clever, light hearted parable which intelligently subverts cliches, and is excellently written. I suggest you listen to this podcast.
Job- A timeless treatise on the problem of evil and suffering. Like Ecclesiastes it has a very realistic view of life.
Psalms- Same as Proverbs. My favourite Psalm is probably Psalm 104.
Im a huge fan of All the red letters , sometimes I just read them by themselves .
I like to read proverbs regularly.
I find I bounce around the rest of them with regular frequency , seemingly as I need them .
I read everyday , I suppose I tend to hang out in the NT most frequently.
I’m sorry , it’s probably not much of an answer .
Good insight. Food for thought.
The masterpiece that is Isaiah. The Gospel of John. Ephesians.
And a quick shout-out to my favorite neglected books, Hosea (a heartbreaking metaphor of God’s unrequited love for his people) and, like @Elle, Habbakuk for one of the greatest statements of faith in the Bible:
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.
Probalby Job is the one I refer back to most often. As a medical doc, seems that death dying and suffering is a daily thing, and Job helps bring some sense to it, even if no definate answers are given. Walton has a good little book on “How to Read Job”
I agree with you.
I like The Gospels of Luke and John. I also like the Book of Isaiah and the Apocryphal Book of the Wisdom of Solomon 3:19.
I also like Ecclesiastes. In every sense it’s a timeless truth.
I like Mark for its distinctive highly active voice – but part of my affinity in that regard is in how it complements the other gospels, which I couldn’t appreciate without all the other gospels there too. I like Acts for its stories of the early church that we wouldn’t have anywhere else. 1 Corinthians and Romans are great too.
Anybody want to put in a good word for Leviticus? Revelation has been left out in the cold thus far too. Jude? Somebody should preach a sermon on Jude some time.
Jude is really short. I’ve written about Revelation …
There are too many good options to choose a favorite. John. Romans. Mark. Job. Ecclesiastes. Genesis. Leviticus is probably not the most exciting book, to say the least, unless you seriously understand it and its historical context.
It is a book that most clearly offers a Jewish interpretation to a rather unsettling period within the Persian Empire. Herodotus tells us of the Magophonia: the slaughter of the Magi!
It was apparently an authentic “day” of the Long Knives, when Farsi-supremacists systematically hunted down the religious “levites” of the Medes: the zoroastrian Magi.
In Esther, the class that is ultimately wiped out appears to be these Magi … but Esther presents the story in a way that the Jews take the credit for the victory against the Magi.
It is rare when a Biblical book so closely parallels actual history in a way that we can actually detect it. Who can say how many other story lines are based on the real thing … but a mirror-inversion of it. We are very lucky to have the account from Herodotus!
Some words which I live by, from Qohelet:
Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.
So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including[i] every secret thing, whether good or evil.
And some other great advice begins the final chapter …
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”