Core Bible Stories

(The following is available as a PDF. See the attachments at the bottom of this page.)

Below is a list of some core stories from the Bible.  If you are a first time reader or are studying in a group with others, these are some suggested passages to read or study to give you a least a minimal understanding of the Bible’s content.

Because this is such a small selection from the Bible, it might be helpful to study these selections with someone who is familiar with the Bible so they can briefly explain the sections that are not being read. As you read, it is helpful to ask questions about what you are reading.
Bible references use the following format: Book Chapter: Verse (or range of verses).  For example: John 3:16 would be “John, Chapter 3, Verse 16.” Most Bibles have a table of contents which will help you find the book.
The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament (books written before Jesus was born); and the New Testament (books about Jesus and his followers)

Bible Passage   


Old Testament

Books that were written before Jesus was born

Genesis 1:1-1:2

The creation of the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:3-1:31

God creates the universe in six stages.

Genesis 2:1-2:3

Creation is completed on the seventh day.

Genesis 2:4-2:25

More about the creation of man and woman.

Genesis 3:1-3:24

Adam and Eve disbelieve and dishonor God.

Genesis 6:5-6:8

The increase of wickedness in the world.

Genesis 6:9-7:24

God destroys all except Noah and his family.

Genesis 8:1-8:19

The flood ends.

Genesis 8:20-9:17

God's promise to Noah and his descendents.

Genesis 15:1-15:21

God confirms his promises to Abram

Genesis 22:1-22:24

God tests Abraham's trust in God's direction

Exodus 12:1-12:28

God instructs about celebrating the Passover

Exodus 12:29-12:32

God kills all the firstborn of Egypt

Exodus 12:33-12:42

Israel leaves Egypt to worship God

Exodus 12:43-12:51

God instructs Moses about the Passover Feast

Exodus 20:1-20:21

The Ten Commandments: God's instructions

Leviticus 16:1-16:34

God's provision of forgiveness through sacrifice

Isaiah 7:10-7:25

God gives a sign that his promise will happen

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Redemption will come through the suffering of God's Servant

New Testament

Books about Jesus and his followers

Luke 1:1-1:4

Luke introduces his reason for writing

Luke 1:26-1:38

Mary is told she will be the mother of Jesus

Matthew 1:18-1:25

An angel tells Joseph about Mary's pregnancy

Luke 2:1-2:7

Mary gives birth to Jesus in Bethlehem

Luke 2:8-2:21

Angels announce the birth to nearby shepherds

Luke 3:1-3:18

John preaches the good news of the coming of the Lord

Luke 3:21-3:22

God says he is pleased with Jesus his son

Luke 4:1-4:13

Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness

John 3:1-3:15

Jesus tells a religious leader he must be born again

John 3:16-3:21

The necessity of belief in Jesus explained

John 3:22-3:36

John testifies that Jesus is greater than he is

Luke 5:12-5:16

Jesus heals a man with leprosy

Luke 5:17-5:26

Jesus heals a paralyzed man and forgives his sin

Luke 7:36-7:50

Jesus offends religious leaders when he forgives a sinful woman

Luke 8:22-8:25

Jesus demonstrates his power over storms

Luke 8:26-8:39

Jesus heals a man tormented by demons

Luke 15:11-15:32

Jesus tells the story of a father who forgives his repentant son

Luke 16:19-16:31

Jesus talks about how some people won't believe even with evidence

John 11:1-11:16

Jesus is asked to heal his friend, Lazarus

John 11:17-11:27

Jesus says that Lazarus, who has died, will rise again

John 11:28-11:37

Jesus grieves with others over Lazarus' death

John 11:38-11:44

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

John 11:45-11:54

Some believe in Jesus but others plot his death

Luke 22:3-22:6

One of Jesus followers agrees to help betray hjm

Luke 22:7-22:13

Preparations are made to celebrate Passover

Luke 22:14-22:16

Jesus expresses his desire to eat this final meal with them before he suffers

Luke 22:31-22:34

Jesus tells Peter that Peter will deny him

Luke 22:39-22:46

Jesus prays that he would do his Father's will

Luke 22:47-22:53

Jesus is arrested with the help of Judas, his disciple

Luke 22:63-22:65

Jesus is mocked and abused

Luke 22:54-22:62

Peter, a disciple, denies that he knows Jesus

Luke 22:66-22:71

Jesus is question by the religious leaders

Luke 23:1-23:5

The religious leaders accuse Jesus before Pilate, the governor

Luke 23:13-23:16

Pilate declares that Jesus is innocent

Luke 23:18-23:25

The crowds present demand that Jesus be executed

Luke 23:26-23:31

Jesus is taken to be crucified

Luke 23:32-23:43

Jesus is crucified and mocked as he forgives them

Luke 23:44-23:49

Jesus dies

Luke 23:50-23:56

Some followers of Jesus take his body and put it in a tomb

Luke 24:1-24:12

Two days later, Jesus followers find the tomb empty

Luke 24:13-24:35

Jesus appears to two disciples walking to Emmaus and teaches them

Luke 24:36-24:43

Jesus appears to the other disciples

John 20:19-20:23

Jesus appears to his disciples

John 20:24-20:29

Thomas refuses to believe until he sees Jesus

Luke 24:44-24:49

Jesus teaches his disciples about the necessity of his death and resurrection

John 20:30-20:31

The stories of Jesus were recorded to help others believe

Acts 1:1-1:5

Jesus tells his followers to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:6-1:11

Jesus tells his follows to teach others about him and then he leaves the earth

Acts 2:1-2:13

The Holy Spirit comes to Jesus' followers

Acts 2:14-2:41

Peter teaches about Jesus’ resurrection and many believe

Acts 2:42-2:47

The followers of Jesus become a community

1 Peter 1:3-1:12

Because of Jesus, we have hope; death is not the end

Revelation 21:1-21:8

God will renew heaven and earth

Revelation 22:6-22:21

Jesus will return to bring judgment and reward

Greg Steward,
Mar 2, 2010, 2:16 PM