So, what should we study? Here are a few summaries of Bahá'í books, letters, and documents. A handful of extras may help you get started with your choice.

By Bahá'u'lláh:

This is not only a book of laws, but 'the brightest emanation of the mind of Bahá'u'lláh.' It sets the blueprint for our future world civilization, discusses the relationship between social structures and the well-being of the individual, and addresses some rulers of its day. The Most Holy Book is supplemented by a Q&A, a summary outline, as well as explanatory notes from the Universal House of Justice.

Read The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

Learn about its place in Bahá'í literature (Bahá'í World Centre)

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 3, Chapter 13 by Adib Taherzadeh

Learn with a Kitáb-i-Aqdas Cross-Reference Tool

Learn with one of several study guides

This central theological work of Bahá'u'lláh was revealed in only two days and two nights. Shedding light on Christian and Muslim scripture, He explains that Divine Revelation is progressive, deals with proofs of the Báb's mission, and describes how a searching soul should go about its investigation of the truth. Simply put, this book summarizes all the truths in the Scriptures of old and is thus indispensable for teaching the Faith.

Read The Kitáb-i-Iqan

Learn with God Passes By, Chapter 8 by Shoghi Effendi

Learn with A Companion to the Study of the Kitáb-i-Iqan by Hooper Dunbar

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 1, Chapter 10 by Adib Taherzadeh

Learn with one of several study guides

In these majestic Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh announces His Message to the rulers of His time. "Never since the beginning of the world", Bahá'u'lláh declared, "hath the Message been so openly proclaimed." To Násiri'd-Dín Sháh He describes how He received His Revelation, and in the Súriy-i-Mulúk, the tablet addressed to all monarchs, He asserts the standard of justice necessary for those granted civil authority.

Read The Summons of the Lord of Hosts

Learn about the Súriy-i-Haykal, Súriy-i-Mulúk and Súriy-i-Ra'ís in God Passes By, Chapter 11

Learn about the Lawh-i-Fu'ád and Lawh-i-Ra'ís in God Passes By, Chapter 13

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh by Adib Taherzadeh:
   Súriy-i-Mulúk in Vol. 2, Chapter 15
   Súriy-i-Ra'ís in Vol. 2, Chapter 19
   Lawh-i-Ra'ís in Vol. 3, Chapter 2
   Lawh-i-Fu'ád in Vol. 3, Chapter 5
   Súriy-i-Haykal in Vol. 3, Chapter 7

This Tablet was invested by Bahá'u'lláh with "a special potency and significance" and can be said in times of difficulty and to overcome challenges. It reminds us of the sufferings that Bahá'u'lláh Himself faced during His banishment and provides us with the strength to have unwavering hearts. The power of this Tablet is reflected in the assurance that the chanting of it is worth the "reward of a hundred martyrs and a service in both worlds".

Learn with Learn well this Tablet by Richard Gurinsky

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 2, Chapter 5 by Adib Taherzadeh

Shoghi Effendi describes these poetic Writings as Bahá'u'lláh's "greatest mystical composition." Bahá'u'lláh describes the path of the soul through seven stages on its journey towards God, as first described in the Sufi poem "the Conference of the Birds". In each stage, this journey requires spiritual qualities such as patience, love and detachment, ultimately reuniting the soul with its Beloved.

Read Seven Valleys

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 1, Chapter 8 by Adib Taherzadeh

Learn with Towards the Summit of Reality by Julio Savi

This Tablet is uniquely revealed in the form of a dialogue between Bahá'u'lláh and the Voice of God. Bahá'u'lláh recounts his sufferings, while God responds lovingly and with the assurance of the ultimate glory of the Cause. The Tablet has the power to kindle "in our veins a fire that shall set aflame the worlds."

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 3, Chapter 11 by Adib Taherzadeh

Learn with An Exposition on the Fire Tablet by James B. Thomas

In this masterpiece of poetic prose, Bahá'u'lláh foretells the events of His exile. He relates historic facts in a language rich with symbolism, alluding to His nearing Declaration, as well as to Mirza Yahya's fate. The Covenant is the Tablet's central theme and Bahá'u'lláh elaborates on how to protect oneself within the Covenant and warns of the dangers of breaking it.

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 1, Chapter 14 by Adib Taherzadeh

Learn with A Commentary on the Tablet of the Holy Mariner by Jamsheed Samandari

Learn with an introduction to the Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the book above

Revealed as an emotive dialogue between God and the Mountain of Carmel, this short Tablet is described as "the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centers" of the Faith, and thus provides the first outline of the establishment of the Baha'i World Center on Mount Carmel by Bahá'u'lláh Himself.

Read the Tablet of Carmel

Learn with Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Vol. 4, Chapter 23 by Adib Taherzadeh

By 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

The Master's Will and Testament is a guide on making the new World Order a reality. Its main theme is the Covenant and 'Abdu'l-Baha discusses its central protagonists - the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice - at length, defining their functions and responsibilities. He also exposes the machinations of His enemies and thus provides a glimpse into the arduous days of His Ministry.

Read the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Learn with A Commentary by David Hofman

Learn with a Study Outline by Brett Zamir

Learn with The Child of the Covenant by Adib Taherzadeh

In this "outstanding contribution to the future reorganization of the world", 'Abdu'l-Baha uses Iran's context to describe the social and spiritual progress of both nations and individuals, setting a blueprint for socio-economic development. With the Baha'i community venturing into the arenas of social discourse and action, the Secret of Divine Civilization is prime-time reading.

Read The Secret of Divine Civilization

Learn with An Introduction to the Secret of Divine Civilization by Nader Saiedi

Learn with Study Questions by Habib Riazati

These 14 letters addressed to the North American Baha'is were written in the darkest days of World War I, shortly after the Master's own visit to the American continent. They provide us with a clear and specific mandate for the spiritual conquest of the planet, outlining the conditions for success in teaching efforts and acting as a framework for successive teaching plans.

Read the Tablets of the Divine Plan

Read a letter from the Universal House of Justice on the relevance of the Tablets

See an original of the Tablet to the Western States

By Shoghi Effendi:

These letters from the Guardian clarify the relationship between the Bahá'í community and the entire process of social evolution. He describes humanity's depraved state and the corruption of its institutions, and then paints the pattern of the future world that is spiritually and materially prosperous.

Read the The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh

Learn with 6 Talks on the World Order by Ali Nakhjavani

Learn with Study Questions by Shahriar Razavi

This epistle "reads like a 77-page poem" about the nature and scope of America's divinely-ordained mission. It discusses the challenges of change, the hows and whys of teaching, and has been described as "distressingly applicable to the socio-political context in which the world finds itself today."

Read The Advent of Divine Justice

Learn with Study Questions by Dwight Allen and Morten Bergsmo

In this stupendous work, the Guardian gives us a survey of the outstanding events of the first century of the Faith. In emphatic and vivid terms, he reviews the impact of the Ministries of the Central Figures, tells of the heroism of the early believers, interprets the context and content of many of the Writings, and describes the establishment of the administrative institutions. Studying this book will contribute to a coherent understanding of the Faith's development.

Read God Passes By

Learn with a Study Guide by Horace Holley

From the Universal House of Justice:

This document explores the impulse given by the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh in their relevance to the current crisis of humanity. It touches on contemporary issues such as the challenges of modernity, materialism and global integration, outlines the response of the Bahá'í community, and sheds light on unity as an essential remedy.

Read One Common Faith

Learn with Study Questions

Learn with an Online Study Guide

Humanity has spent the last century both struggling with the failure of its social models and making great achievements in technology, science, and philosophy. In Century of Light, the Universal House of Justice addresses the contribution of the Bahá'ís to civilization-building and tells the story of how this community has learned, refined, and advanced throughout the years.

Read Century of Light

Learn with Questions and References by Sheila Banani

The period 1996-2006, described as "a turning point of epochal magnitude", saw the emergence of a rapidly developing institute process. This compilation of messages both guides us along and documents this path of learning. It is a fantastic resource in understanding the evolution of this crucial period in the Bahá'í community's development and "the essential concepts that guide current activities for expansion and consolidation in clusters worldwide."

Download Turning Point as a PDF

This message draws us a picture of our tasks in community building. The purpose of the institute process is elaborated upon, as well as how concepts such as receptivity, accompaniment, and the interrelationship between social action and the discourses in society are related to it. Together with its 28 December message of this same year, the Universal House of Justice sets the foundation for our work over the current series of plans.

Read the Ridvan Message 2010

In clear and simple terms, we are taken on a journey of how the process of growth unfolds, from getting to know our neighbours and entering into meaningful conversations, to the establishment of core activities and the involvement and role of the institutions. Throughout this five-year plan, this message will, along with the Ridvan message of 2010, be an invaluable reference guide to our mode of action.

Read the 28 December 2010 Message

Learn with Study Questions

This message kicks off the current five-year plan. 2011 celebrated the hundred year anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's travels to the West, and this message reminds us of His example for our services to the Cause. The Universal House of Justice describes the current global turmoil and its relation to the disintegration of the old and "the harbinger of the New World Order".

Read the Ridvan Message 2011