It's important to disclaim all the reasons why you couldn't possibly achieve this goal!
- Not enough time
- Don't know enough
Not Enough Time
A dear friend always told me to substitute "love" for the word "time." It's not a question of, "Do I have enough time?" but, "Do I have enough love?" Do I love God enough to learn more about Him and my relationship to Him? Do I love myself enough to discover more about myself in God's Word? Actually, you can reach the goal by reading for less than 30 minutes a day. Take ten to fifteen minutes in the morning and ten to fifteen minutes at night. Once you get started, you'll be amazed at how you won't let anything interfere with your study.
Don't Know Enough
When you're getting started, it's not a question of knowing enough, but of being teachable and willing to learn.
Try reading different translations. I recommend Eugene Peterson's, The Message. This paraphrase is written in everyday language and takes the guesswork out of obscure passages. There are many others worth reading, too:
- Holy Bible in Modern English by Ferrar Fenton
- NIV Study Bible
- The Bible by James Moffatt
- King James Version
Keep a good Bible dictionary and Bible commentary handy. The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible is good.
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) is excellent. Start with a one-volume commentary such as:
- The Abingdon Bible Commentary
- The One Volume Bible Commentary by J.R. Dummelow
- The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible: Introduction and Commentary for Each Book Including the Apocrypha (used or in libraries)
- Matthew Henry's Commentary
- or try a three-volume set: A Commentary by Jamison, Fausset, and Brown
What could be boring about a book of solutions to all problems? Is there anything boring about discovering your relationship with God? The Bible is a rich treasure-trove of information, history, laws, literature, poetry, and letters. If you like mystery, adventure, romance, history, biography, drama, poetry, and war stories, you'll find all of that and much more in the Bible.
Couldn't we all use more inspiration, comfort, strength, enlightenment, encouragement, love, or support in our lives? That's in there, too. "The Bible is the learned man's masterpiece, the ignorant man's dictionary, the wise man's directory." M.B. Eddy
Why should you read the Bible from beginning to end?
- It provides practical lessons for today.
- It's a road map for living.
- It solves identity crises.
- It puts the world in perspective.
- It reveals the timeless nature of God and man.
- It is a stress reliever.
- Your life will never be the same.
- The world needs your spiritual grit.
In his book, The Heart of Hebrew History, H.I. Hester gives several reasons why we should study the Bible:
- No one can claim to be an educated person without knowledge of the Bible.
- The Bible's
- laws are indispensable in human society;
- history is authentic;
- poetry is unsurpassed in quality and beauty; and
- stories and parables are among the greatest masterpieces in literature.
- The quality of our character is determined by our response to the Bible.
- The Bible is the one authentic record of God's effort to reveal Himself to men. [pp. 12-13]
I am reminded of an experience a friend of mine, Andre Piot, had while on a business trip. He stepped into a taxi filled with smoke and commented: "You must love cigarette smoking." "No, Sir," replied the taxi driver. "I have given up cigarette smoking." Andre asked, "How did you do it?" "The Bible, sir, the King James version of the Bible," was his reply. The driver went on to explain that a minister had given him a Bible and said, "Just read it." The taxi driver started reading it and quit smoking. The driver continued, "You are white. I am black. As I read the Bible, I realized that we are all the children of God." He no longer felt racial prejudice-just love. The driver added, "You know, I used to earn very little money, but since I started reading the Bible, I always have customers. And the dispatcher, who keeps the good runs for his friends, is also sending me on these well-paid runs." When they had arrived at his destination, Andre asked the driver if he loved Psalms 23 and 91. "No, Sir," he replied, and then he wrote down those numbers. Andre said, "I thought you were a student of the Bible." "Yes, but I'm still at the beginning, in Genesis." As they departed, the driver said, "Such encounters don't just happen! We know who brought us together."
Think of the change in this man's life from just reading one book of the Bible. He had:
- Quit smoking
- Overcome prejudice
- Increased his income
That's just one person's experience. We would love to hear about your experience as you read through the Bible. Why not make it a family activity? It doesn't matter if you finish it in a year. Just start the journey.
We will focus on how to begin teaching the Bible and on the lessons we can glean from studying the Bible story of Joshua.
Many people check the best seller list to determine the next book they want to read. No book has ever had the popularity and integrity equal to the Bible. The Bible has sold more copies and been translated into more tongues than any other book known to man.
There are many helpful books to get you started in your journey to better understand the Bible. Here are just a few.
An easy-to-read guide is The Bible and You, a sixteen-page pamphlet highlighting the main points of each book of the Bible.
An up-to-date work with friendly layouts is The Cambridge Companion to the Bible by Howard Clark Kee, Eric M. Meyers, John Rogerson, and Anthony J. Saldarini.
An exceptional guide for Sunday School teachers and parents is Joan Koelle Snipes' That Ye May Teach the Children: A Bible Outline with Questions for Parents and Teachers. Covering all sixty-six books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, this book highlights key narratives and includes well-written, ready-to-use comprehension questions. Features include 44 reproducible Bible study worksheets, a detailed table of contents, an index, and a bibliography. This is ideal for Bible Study groups.
Another excellent source is Russell Robinson's Teaching the Scriptures, a study guide for Bible students and teachers. This book provides an orderly framework for studying the Bible chronologically and is helpful for small groups.
There are many other credible sources that we will highlight from time to time.
In the wonderful account of the walk to Emmaus, one of the disciples asked, "Did not our hearts burn within us, while he [Jesus] talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32) A conscientious study of the Bible brings us to a deeper knowledge of God. Jesus knew the Scriptures (the Old Testament), and he opened the hearts and minds of others to a thorough understanding of God and Jesus' own fulfillment of prophecy. We don't want to make the mistake of the Sadducees. Jesus told them, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." [Matt 22:29] So we study the Bible to understand God and our relationship to Him.