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32 Best Scriptures: a Guided Tour

32 Best Scriptures: a guided tour of essential and beautiful texts  Presenting the Gospel, God's character, commandments, and His promises.

The Best Christian Literature is in the Bible. All other Christian Literature derives from the Word of God. Without it, there would be no CHRISTIAN LITERATURE. This is true worldwide, but in English, we see the supreme literary accomplishment in the King James Bible of 1611.

All of the Bible (66 books and 750,000 words) is inspired and rightly designated as Christian Literature, but what I have done here is present a guided tour of the “Best Scritures,” the essential and beautiful texts that present the Gospel, the character of God, and His commandments and promises that make the Christian walk the highest good.

Best Scriptures of the Old Testament – Books of Moses

The Bible and the most beautiful story ever told begins in Genesis, the book of beginnings, as recorded by Moses*(1571-1452 BC) in Genesis 1. *means that person's biography is in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES

1. The Creation: Genesis 1:1-31. The powerful and majestic narrative is the foundation of our faith. Its two essential points are that God is the source of all things, and everything HE CREATED WAS “VERY GOOD.”

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:1 & 31

2. The Fall: Genesis 2. Here we meet the Serpent, God’s enemy who corrupts Adam*(4004 -3074 BC), and Eve* whose fellowship with God is broken by sin. But in the midst of this terrible chapter, God curses the serpent but gives the first promise of the Savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15

The New England Primer presents this simply and beautifully: In Adam’s Fall, We Sinned All.

3. Cain* and Abel*: Genesis 4:1-16 The first child born into this world was not the Savior. Indeed, he was a murderer, taking the life of his righteous brother and refusing to repent. Even so, the Lord spoke to him, but he chose to align himself with the serpent’s seed:

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden: Genesis 4:16

4. The Flood: Genesis 6-8 That “little” sin of Genesis 2 soon grew into murder and then overwhelmed the creation:

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Genesis 6:5-7

5. Abram’s Call and Covenant: Genesis 12-23 God saved Noah*(3078 - 2146 BC) and his family from the flood, but the new world soon turned away from the Lord, building the tower of Babel and putting man’s government in the place of God. But the LORD began to reveal His plan of salvation by choosing one man to be the “father of faith.”

Now the LORD had said unto Abram* (1996 -1821 BC), Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3

Abram obeyed God’s call and lived his life in faith, even though he did not live to see the fulfillment of God’s covenant. The rest of Genesis records the lives of 6 generations of his children and the building of that great nation God had promised.

6. Jacob’s Ladder: Genesis 28:10-17. To affirm His covenant, the Lord appeared to Abraham*, Isaac*(1896 - 1716 BC), and Jacob* (1836 - 1689 BC). The most beautiful of these appearances was in a dream where Jacob saw a ladder linking heaven and earth, the ladder representing the Lord Jesus, 1760 years before His incarnation!

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:12

7. Moses’ Song: Exodus 15:1-17 The 70 descendants of Abraham went to Egypt to escape from famine and were enslaved there for 200 years until God gave them a deliverer, Moses. The now 2 million “children of Israel” escaped their bondage, which Moses himself celebrates in this beautiful song.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. Exodus 15:1-4

8. The Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:1-17 Freed from Pharaoh’s rule, the children of Israel had no government or standards to live by. God gave them THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

9. The Bronze Serpent: NUMBERS 21:4-9 After receiving God’s commandments, the children of Israel wandered 40 years in the wilderness, where God revealed Himself through manna from heaven and many other miracles. One of the most beautiful and important was the Bronze Serpent, a prophetic revelation of the Lord Jesus on the cross.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. ­Numbers 21:8

Best Scriptures of the Old Testament – Books of History and Poetry

10. God Commissions Joshua:*(1553? -1443 BC) Joshua 1:1-9. Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land and conquered it, thus beginning the history of the nation of Israel. It begins with God, who appeared to Joshua and gave him this beautiful encouragement and promise:

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:1-9

11. The Book of Ruth* (11th century BC) appears near the end of the judges and serves as an introduction to the future line of kings that would succeed them. It is a beautiful story, a parable about redemption on one level and a lovely romance on another. Ruth’s son Obed was David’s*(1085-1015 BC) grandfather.

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. – Ruth 1:16-17

12. Psalm 23 was composed by David*(1085-1015 BC) while he tended his father’s sheep. The English version below was written by Launcelot Andrewes (1555-1626), who KURT VONNEGUT suggested was “the greatest writer in the English language,” citing as proof the first few verses of the 23rd Psalm. It is, without doubt, the Bible's most beloved and known text.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

13. The Virtuous Woman: Proverbs 31:10-31. The final chapter of King Solomon’s*(1034-975 BC) Book of Proverbs is an important testimony about women and their value in the eyes of the Lord:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

14. Solomon’s Wisdom: ECCLESIASTES: 3:1-8 More well-known than the virtuous woman is King Solomon’s wise observations about time:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1


Best Scriptures of the Old Testament – Books of Prophesy

15. For to Us a Child Is Born: Isaiah 9:1-7. There are more than 300 passages in the Old Testament about the long-awaited Messiah. Two of the most beautiful are from Isaiah*(700s BC:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

16. Man of Sorrows: Isaiah 53:1-12 The most beautiful and powerful foretelling of Jesus’ dying for us. Reading this in my office in 1999, the Spirit of God overcame me, so I had to fall to my knees and just worship our Savior.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Best Scriptures of the New Testament – Gospels/History

17. Creation: JOHN* (7-100) 1:1-18 Here we have a fuller account of Creation, introduced by the same words as in Genesis 1. Here, we learn that Jesus, the Son of God, the eternal Word, created all things. Stupendous as the content is, the language is unsurpassed in its beauty and power.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

18. Birth of Jesus: Matthew 1:18-15. Here we have Joseph’s succinct account of the circumstances, its linkage to Isaiah’s prophecy, and an angelic messager naming the baby and His mission:

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

19. Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry: John 1:29-34 John the Baptist*(5 BC - 29 AD) was Jesus’ cousin and sent before Him as Elijah to prepare the way for the Kingdom of God. His short but powerful ministry culminated in his baptism of Jesus:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

20. Sermon of the Mount: Matthew 5-7. Jesus's words are the greatest sermon ever recorded. It begins with the Beatitudes, moves on to the Lord’s prayer, testifies to God’s goodness, delivers the Golden Rule, and warns of eternal punishment for those who reject the Gospel.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21

21. Born Again, the Way to Salvation: John 3:1-21 Referencing Moses’ Brass Serpent, Jesus delivers the promise of eternal life to Believers. But there is a prerequisite to receiving the GIFT OF SALVATION:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

22. Prodigal Son: LUKE 15:11-32 The path to salvation Jesus gave in John 3 is illustrated in many parables, what my Dad used to call “earthly stories with heavenly meanings.” These parables themselves would win literary prizes for their beauty and simplicity. Charles Dickens said the Prodigal Son was the best story ever told, and this is true not only literarily but more so spiritually because it presents a moving and tender story of God’s love for the lost:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. – Luke 15:20

23. Crucifixion: Luke 23:26-34 All 4 Gospels give accounts of the Crucifixion, the historical central event. It was this atoning act of Jesus taking our sins upon Himself and paying the price of our debt with His blood. Luke’s account is the most moving, in my opinion. It causes tears to flow and opens our hearts to Him.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. – Luke 23:34

24. Resurrection: MARK 16:1-20 All 4 Gospels too record the Resurrection which is the confirmation of Jesus’ saving work. Jesus Himself confirmed this by appearing to His disciples the giving them this Great Commission:

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:15-16

25. Pentecost: Acts 2:1-41 The first 13 verses tell how Jesus’ disciples were baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues. The remainder of the chapter is an articulate sermon by Peter (1 BC-67 AD) explaining how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. Those filled with the Holy Ghost took the Gospel first to Jews, led by Peter, and later to Gentiles, led by Paul.* (5-67) This day was the beginning of the Christian Church:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:38-39

Best Scriptures of the New Testament – Epistles

Epistles are a literary form, letters addressed to specific people on particular subjects. The apostles used them to teach the young churches how to live the Christian life. The first struggle was to learn to accept Jesus’ salvation as a gift that came through grace, not by keeping the Law of Moses.

26. Life in the Spirit: Romans 8:1-11 The gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out to strengthen Jesus’ followers. He is the Comforter and Paraclete who teaches us all things and gives us Jesus’ power to live the Sermon on the Mount.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2

27. Spiritual Warfare: Ephesians 6:10-20 The attacks we first saw in Genesis will continue until Jesus returns. Paul warns us and equips us for the battle.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Ephesians 6:11

28. Charity/the Way of Love: 1 Corinthians 13 Later translators used "LOVE" instead of "Charity." The chapter comes after Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit, gifts given not for show but to make us like Jesus and fill us with His love.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13

29. Faith: Hebrews 11 - Sometimes called the Faith Chapter, it catalogs the heroes and heroines of faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Best Scriptures of the New Testament –Revelation

30. Jesus Reveals Himself Glorified: Revelation 1: 9-20 Jesus is no longer in the flesh and blood body He occupied on earth. After His blood was shed on the cross for our sins, he was buried and rose from the dead. He now lives in a glorified body and is active in heaven on our behalf,

Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18

31. New Heaven & Earth: Revelation 21:1-8

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.Revelation 21:4

Best Scriptures of the New Testament – Continuing Call of Jesus

32. Jesus’ Everlasting Invitation: Matthew 11:25-30 and Revelation 3: 20

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Best Scriptures of the Bible: A Closing Word

I have loved writing this article. These texts are beautiful and moving literature, but they are much more. They are life-giving. It will take you 30 minutes to read these 3,000 words and maybe a week or two to read the full texts. Please do that. You will be changed. The Holy Ghost will introduce you to Jesus in a new and intimate way and lead you to a fuller life today and a glorious life with Jesus in Eternity. God bless and anoint you as you read.

Best Scripture: John’s opening text may be the most important one you ever read!

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