I have a problem. I'm a relatively new Christian of six months. One of my big troubles has been finding the motivation to read the Bible. Sermons are fine, and articles, and talking to pastors. I love doing research online, finding relevant passages quickly, comparing, and studying. But I struggle so much to motivate myself to pick up the Book and read it. I pray for help with it, and I try to set times for myself, but I end up losing track of time.
Today I woke up feeling differently for the whole day. I wanted to read through the Old Testament first, as a starting point, and then move onto the New Testament, while still having those Old Testament passages in my mind. I was excited about it. It's a method that suits my nature. But my girlfriend wasn't so happy about that. She insisted that I read the New Testament first. But my problem is that if I do it that way, I lose the motivation that I had, and I'm back to where I was before. She says that it's more important to follow Jesus and be saved. And I agree, and I will read the New Testament after the Old -- that's my plan. But she tells me it's wrong to do that, that Jesus said it's wrong. What would be best for me? The motivation and enthusiasm or the order that I read it?
And what verse does your girlfriend cite to prove that Jesus said you should not read the Old Testament before the New Testament? I know it sounds authoritative to put Jesus behind your opinions, but whenever some use Jesus' name to bolster their argument, they better be able to show that Jesus actually did say that -- otherwise, they are using Jesus' name in vain. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).
There is no prescribed way that Bible study must take place, only that one should study it. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). The Old Testament is the history that helps you understand the New Testament. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). The New Testament, however, is the covenant that you live under and which you must abide by.
Let me warn you upfront that there are some sections of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, which are pretty boring as a straight read. It is hard to keep your mind focused while going through genealogies or detailed descriptions of how sacrifices were to be conducted. These things have their place and their use, but they certainly aren't exciting reading material. I know a lot of people who like to read the Bible cover to cover. I even have several reading lists to help a person get through the Bible in a certain period of time. If that is what you are interested in doing, go for it. But let me suggest that you don't drop your other studies while you are doing it.