Anything but Boring

 

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Where are you with the Bible? Perhaps you’ve tried to read it and just haven’t connected with it. Or maybe you simply didn’t know where to start. On the other hand, you could be that person who has gone to Bible studies for years, and yet your interest in it has grown a little stale. Perhaps you’ve never had any interest in the Bible at all. When it comes to the Bible, we are all at different places. No matter where you are, my hope is that this book will bring you to a place of connection – connecting your life with the greatest book that has ever been written.

I was first introduced to the Bible when I was a little girl living in Detroit, Michigan. Yes, it was very cold (I mean the weather, not the Bible). We went to a church in downtown Detroit where our car was broken into more than once while we were attending services. The thing I remember most about the church was not the break-ins, but rather the kindness of our Sunday School teacher who gave us Bibles and taught us how to look up passages in the Holy Scriptures. She led me to memorize Psalm 23, even though the Bible was completely new to me. This teacher sparked a love in me for the Bible and ignited a desire to get to know this sacred book.

As I grew through my teenage years, I found great comfort in the scriptures to help me weather the storms of life. As I went to college, the Bible gave me hearty doses of wisdom and direction in daily living. When I got married the Bible became my companion in working through relationship and communication issues. It taught me that God understood my feelings even when my husband didn’t! As a young mom, the scriptures reminded me that God was my strength and would give me everything I needed. It taught me to not worry, but rather in a very real way to cast my cares on the Lord. There were also times when I felt distant from God’s Word as the busyness of life choked out my interest. Yet, as I look back over my life as a whole, the Bible has been my steady guide, teaching me about God’s unfailing love for me.

There are some people who may think the Bible is irrelevant or doesn’t pertain to our lives today, but I’m pretty sure those people haven’t read it! What could be more relevant than a book filled with stories of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, all reflecting the human condition and the desperate need inside each of us for love and redemption? The beautiful theme throughout the entire book is not how bad we are, but how good God is. Every page is infused with God’s grace.

The Bible is a book about messed-up lives and God’s unmerited favor. There is no other book on earth that conveys the abiding love of Almighty God toward His people. Why wouldn’t you want to read a book like that? Throughout the centuries it has given strength and inspiration to artists, businesspeople, authors, musicians, athletes, and world leaders. It has offered hope to the ailing in hospitals to the suffering on the battlefields, and to the starving in poverty. Yet, to be honest, true poverty is the “poverty of the soul.”

How sad to have all the comforts that life can offer, yet be empty or starved spiritually. The Bible is food to feed our hungry hearts, bringing fulfillment and nourishment to our soul. This is why we read the Bible—because like food—we need it for our very existence. It is filled with life-giving sustenance for those who hunger to know God’s grace and love. Cultural blogger Jim Denison wrote, “This hunger for the God of grace is universal. How could it not be? We were designed to need food, and will hunger for it until the day we die. In the same way, we were designed to need our Designer.” Yes, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

 

My hope is that you will explore the truths of the Bible and get to know what it has to say about God and about you. I know you will find strength, courage and hope as you read and meditate on the inspired words on every page. Thomas Manton wrote, “We can never exhaust all the treasure and worth that is in the Word.”

 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Matthew 24:3

 

becomingawomanoftheword

This is an excerpt from Karol’s book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. To learn more about reading the Bible and getting to know God’s Word order your copy today. For more info click here.

Reading the Bible and Finding a Plan that is Right for You

As I mentioned in the video, my favorite plan for reading God’s Word is the One-Year Bible. You can find a One Year Bible at any bookstore or online store or you can get it as an e-book. It breaks the Bible down into dated, daily readings of an Old Testament passage, a New Testament Passage, a Psalm, and a Proverb. Some years I read the Bible through in a year, while other years I choose to read through the Old Testament in one year and the next year I read through the New Testament, along with Psalms and Proverbs. There is also the One Year Chronological Bible, which gives you daily readings in the order that they were written. Also, most Study Bibles include a plan to read the Bible through in a year.

Some Bible teachers suggest starting with the Gospel of John as a good introduction to who Jesus is and God’s redemptive plan. Author and pastor R.C. Sproul offers a pattern for people who have never read the Bible. He suggests the following:

The Old Testament overview:

  • Genesis (the history of Creation, the fall, and God’s covenantal dealings with the patriarchs)
  • Exodus (the history of Israel’s liberation and formation as a nation)
  • Joshua (the history of the military conquest of the Promised Land)
  • Judges (Israel’s transition from a tribal federation to a monarchy)
  • 1 Samuel (Israel’s emerging monarchy under Saul and David)
  • 2 Samuel (David’s reign)
  • 1 Kings (Solomon and the divided kingdom)
  • 2 Kings (the fall of Israel)
  • Ezra (the Israelites’ return from exile)
  • Nehemiah (the restoration of Jerusalem)
  • Amos and Hosea (examples of minor prophets)
  • Jeremiah (an example of a major prophet)
  • Ecclesiastes (Wisdom Literature)
  • Psalms and Proverbs (Hebrew poetry)

The New Testament overview:

  • The Gospel of Luke (the life of Jesus)
  • Acts (the early church)
  • Ephesians (an introduction to the teaching of Paul)
  • 1 Corinthians (life in the church)
  • 1 Peter (an introduction to Peter)
  • 1 Timothy (an introduction to the Pastoral Epistles)
  • Hebrews (Christology)
  • Romans (Paul’s theology)

Sproul adds, “By reading these books, a student can get a basic feel for and understanding of the scope of the Bible without getting bogged down in the more difficult sections. From there, he or she can fill in the gaps to complete the reading of the entire Bible.”(ligonier.org/blog/get-basic-overview-bible).\

Scripture Union is a ministry that offers tools to help both adults and children read, know, and love God’s Word. They offer an Essential 100 Challenge (E100) as a way to read through the essential passages in Scripture. The E100 Challenge is based on 100 carefully selected short Bible passages, 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New. The plan helps you get the big picture of the Bible and also helps you keep up with your progress. They offer a little pocket-sized planner listing the scriptures to read and providing a punch card so you can chart your progress. This is a great plan to do as a family or with other individuals. You can get the E100 planner at www.E100challenge.com.

Another tremendous resource for reading the Bible is www.Bible.com (You Version) that offers a Bible app for your phone, iPod, tablet, or computer. You may already have their app, but did you know they offer reading plans as well? If you go to the “Plans” link on their menu, you will find a variety of ways to read the Bible. The cool thing is, the app keeps you informed on your progress and even gives you reminders if you are falling behind. You can choose a reading plan under the headings of Devotional, Topical, Partial Bible, Whole Bible, Youth, and Family, and You Version is constantly featuring new plans. The point is to find a plan that works for you. There are no perfect formulas for reading God’s Word; the important thing is simply to do it.

Anything but Boring

Enjoying a winter day

Where are you with the Bible? Perhaps you’ve tried to read it and just haven’t connected with it. Or maybe you simply didn’t know where to start. On the other hand, you could be that person who has gone to Bible studies for years, and yet your interest in it has grown a little stale. Perhaps you’ve never had any interest in the Bible at all. When it comes to the Bible, we are all at different places. No matter where you are, my hope is that you will come  to a place of connection – connecting your life with the greatest book that has ever been written.

There are some people who may think the Bible is irrelevant or doesn’t pertain to our lives today, but I’m pretty sure those people haven’t read it! What could be more relevant than a book filled with stories of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, all reflecting the human condition and the desperate need inside each of us for love and redemption? The beautiful theme throughout the entire book is not how bad we are, but how good God is. Every page is infused with God’s grace.

The Bible is a book about messed-up lives and God’s unmerited favor. There is no other book on earth that conveys the abiding love of Almighty God toward His people. Why wouldn’t you want to read a book like that? Throughout the centuries it has given strength and inspiration to artists, businesspeople, authors, musicians, athletes, and world leaders. It has offered hope to the ailing in hospitals to the suffering on the battlefields, and to the starving in poverty. Yet, to be honest, true poverty is the “poverty of the soul.”

How sad to have all the comforts that life can offer, yet be empty or starved spiritually. The Bible is food to feed our hungry hearts, bringing fulfillment and nourishment to our soul. This is why we read the Bible—because like food—we need it for our very existence. It is filled with life-giving sustenance for those who hunger to know God’s grace and love. Cultural blogger Jim Denison wrote, “This hunger for the God of grace is universal. How could it not be? We were designed to need food, and will hunger for it until the day we die. In the same way, we were designed to need our Designer.”[i] Yes, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

As we enter 2016, let us ask God for a renewed hunger for his word and devote ourselves to getting to know the greatest book ever written.

 

This is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. Click here to order your autographed copy and begin a journey of loving, learning and living God’s Word.

 

 

[i] Jim Denison, Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, www.Denisonforum.org, January 20, 2014 entry.