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While on my Sabbatical, I decided to retake a look at the resources; the ones I previously found (The Bible Project, BibleTalk.TV, and Precepts For Life) and ones that I recently discovered. The first resource I looked into was some free classes offered by Dallas Theological Seminary. I remembered how much I loved the overall Bible class that I took in college, so I decided to start with “Can You Trust The Bible.” The course gives a breakdown of how we got the Bible and how it was canonized. Then I took “How to Read the Bible Like A Seminary Professor.” I felt like it was time to dive into their classes on the books of the Bible and randomly picked Romans. It only covered the first eight chapters, but I read those chapters while completing the course, and it was what I used to do a more in-depth study. At this time, I also realized that if I wanted to connect with God, I needed to do a better job of reading His Word daily. Somewhere in all my searching, I came across the fact that Psalm 119 was the longest chapter in the Bible, and it also happened to be all about God’s Word. I started to read this chapter as part of my daily reading slowly. The next resource, while not typical, was Letters To The Church by Francis Chan. This book was eye-opening for me. It explained how different our churches today (specifically western churches) are from the first-century churches and what Jesus wanted. I couldn’t tell you anything about what the church should look like because I barely made it past the Gospels when it came to reading the New Testament.
Around the same time, I found this fantastic infographic from Crossway on Thankful Homemakers Podcast that outlined the amount of time it took to read each of the books and the major sections of the Bible. I could spend anywhere between 2 minutes and a little less than 5 hours and read whole books of the Bible. I realized that one thing the resources had in common is they made me want to jump in and read the Bible. Full passages, whole chapters, entire books. I no longer wanted to read one verse and then read someone else’s thoughts about that verse. I wanted to see what the Word of God said for itself. And this infographic made me realize that it wasn’t as daunting as I thought. Especially if I just dive in and start reading. So I began to do just that. I sat a goal for myself to sit and read a book of the Bible in as few sessions as possible. And I started with the New Testament. I wanted to know what Jesus said His church should look like. What are things I should be doing as a Christian?
I want to be very clear; this is not my Bible study. That is something that I do only after I read the books as a part of what I’m affectionately calling #All66Books. Reading each book in as few sittings as possible helps you grasp a better understanding of the theme of the book and how it fits into the whole narrative of the biblical story. Which then makes it easier to know which book God may be leading you to study later.
A few things I’ve noticed:
- The more I prioritized God’s Word, the more time He gave me for other things.
- I do actually have time to read the Bible.
- My vision became clear. Things I wasn’t sure of, I was able to hear from God more clearly on.
- I can easily recognize when someone is saying something that isn’t biblical truth.
The reverse is true, as well. When I walk away from my Bible for a few days, maybe only looking at 1-2 verses, I feel like I am losing time, and I am not listening to God as well. My days don’t flow right. Remember in the last post when I was talking about it was the church that was teaching me how to be a “good Christian”? By reading the Bible for myself, I learned how wrong I was in that way of thinking. The fruit of my obedience comes from my relationship with Christ that grows the more I am reading and understanding His Word. My prayers, my worship, my generosity, my relationships all grow from my connection to God through His Word.
But overall, I know how overwhelming and daunting it was to simply just start reading the Bible. My first recommendation is to grab a regular Bible and read a book through. You don’t NEED any of the additional resources to start reading the Bible. What I found is, sometimes having all of those extra resources was actually preventing me from merely reading God’s Word. I felt I didn’t have time. I thought it was too much work. I felt like I didn’t understand any of it. It wasn’t until I just simply read what God’s Word said that I began to see the bigger picture. Then and only then, did I start using additional resources. I want to share what I have found that now helps me after I have read each book. Whether it’s me just trying to get more of the Word in my day or if I’m ready to dive a little deeper into each book. I’ll share what I’ve tried, what stuck, and what didn’t. There are so many resources and different ways to study the Bible. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something else.
I hope you can join me on this journey. Leave me a comment if you are getting started with reading the Bible and what you feel like your biggest challenges are. Stay tuned for next week, where we jump into the book of the Bible that I read first.
*Come back to this post where I will link future post for each book/section of the Bible*
Old Testament | Genesis | Exodus | Leviticus | Numbers | Deuteronomy | Joshua | Judges | Ruth | 1st Samuel | 2nd Samuel | 1st Kings | 2nd Kings | 1st Chronicles | 2nd Chronicles | Ezra | Nehemiah | Esther | Job | Psalms | Proverbs | Ecclesiastes | Song of Songs | Isaiah | Jeremiah | Lamentations | Ezekiel | Daniel | Hosea | Joel | Amos | Obadiah | Jonah | Micah | Nahum | Habakkuk | Zephaniah | Haggai | Zechariah | Malachi
New Testament | Matthew | Mark | Luke | John | Acts | Romans | 1st Corinthians | 2nd Corinthians | Galatians | Ephesians | Philippians | Colossians | 1st Thessalonians | 2nd Thessalonians | 1st Timothy | 2nd Timothy | Titus | Philemon | Hebrews | James | 1st Peter | 2nd Peter | 1st John | 2nd John | 3rd John | Jude | Revelation