The Bible had to be translated from the original text in Hebrew and Greek to other languages. A translation is not the same as a paraphrase. A translation is an attempt to use words from the new language to express the same thoughts of the old language. A good example here is the word “hope.” To our culture this word expresses wishful thinking, but a more accurate meaning would be “expectation.”
A paraphrase of the Bible is an attempt by the writer to express the words and ideas according to his understanding. Paraphrases are not always accurate since the writer often twists the words to match his personal bias. The Message (MSG) is a paraphrase.
You will find a number of Bible translations. If you have a King James Version you may want to get a New King James (NKJ), the New International Version (NIV), or the Living New Testament (LNT). The LNT is an accurate translation that is easy to read and understand. It is often found in The Life Application and Study version with commentary to explain things.
The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each of these is further
divided up into Books, Chapters and verses. Numbering the verses is intended as a universal reference system. For example, “I John 1:13-16” is the first book of John, the first chapter, verses 13 thru 16 . One must learn that first John is an epistle (letter) that is followed by second and third John. There is also the Gospel of John that is not numbered with the epistles. This may sound pretty confusing right now but with time it will begin to make sense.
The Old Testament
These are the books prior to the coming of Jesus. The Old Testament has 39 books telling the story of the creation and the relationship of God to man that gives us the Jewish history of faith. The main theme is the coming of the Messiah or the Christ. Apart from the Old and New Testaments, the Bible is not necessarily arranged in the order by which things happened. A Bible read through plan is in Appendix III
Books 1-5: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
These books were written perhaps as long ago as 3400 years ago, by Moses. These five books are sometimes called the Pentateuch or the Torah.
Books 6-16: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah.
These books explain the history of Israel from the time that the nation was established about 3400 years ago. It includes information about the time when the nation was conquered by the Assyrians about 2700 years ago, and when it was conquered by the Babylonians about 2600 years ago. The Assyrians and Babylonians forced the Jews out of their homeland. But, many Jews returned during the next few centuries, shortly before the time of Jesus.
Books 17-22: Ester, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
These books are sometimes called the books of Writings, or the books of Poetry, or the books of Wisdom.
Books 23-27: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel.
These books are called the “major” prophets and contain prophecies delivered by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. These prophets lived about 2700 to 2500 years ago. Some of their prophecies found fulfillment more than 2500 years ago. Christians believe that many of the prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus about 2000 years ago.
Books 28-39: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
These books are sometimes called the books of the "minor" prophets. They are called "minor" because their books are short in length.
The Catholic Old Testament contains some additional texts accepted by some scholars and commonly referred to as Apocrypha.
The New Testament
These are the books written about Jesus and the birth of the early Christian Church. The New Testament has 27 books.
Books 1-4: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
These four books are called the Gospels. (Good News) They were written about 2000 years ago by the followers of Jesus. These books contain details about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Some “red letter” editions show the words Jesus in red type.
Books 5-26: Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.
These 22 books are sometimes called Letters or Epistles. They were written by followers of Jesus. They often were sent to other people to help explain Christianity. Sometimes they were written to counter heresy, or wrongful interpretations of the teachings of Jesus.
Book 27: Revelation.
This book was written by John about 1900 years ago. He was shown visions of the future by Jesus. This book contains many prophecies about the End Times, or the Apocalypse.
The following link will give a read through the Bible plan with a printable checklist.