There are two different ways you can break up your time spent in the Bible. They are reading and studying. You might be thinking those are the same thing, but they are actually very different. Today, I would like to share with you what it means to read the bible, versus what it means to study the Bible.
First, let’s start with reading the Bible. When reading the Bible, the goal is familiarity with the text and understanding what you are reading and how it fits into the bigger picture of Scripture. You will probably want to read larger chunks, from 2-3 chapters to complete smaller books of the Bible to see how it flows. The purpose of this is not to understand 100% of what is there, but instead to get familiar with the way that the story is being told, the main details, and how that story fits into the larger story of the Bible. Reading plans that are one year or less are usually for the purpose of reading the Bible instead of studying it. I like to read through...
Do you ever feel like you are getting information overload? Each day we get notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Email, the news, sports, books (maybe?), and that is not including any sort of relational information we are getting. Friends, family, co-workers, and strangers all send us signals and messages that we are constantly reading to understand the world in which we live.
So my question for you is, how are you processing that information, and how do you interpret what is true?
When Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians, he had never visited before, but he had heard what was happening there from Epaphras. In a nutshell, the church of Colossians was getting culture mixed up with their Christianity. They were incorporating things that were not required to be a believer in the mix of what they were saying was true. Paul calls this what it is - false teaching.
I love the way Paul addresses it though because he doesn’t simply tell them what...
When studying the Bible, one key thing to take note of is the genre of literature. This means, what style of writing that particular book of the Bible written? There are several different types of literature in the Bible. Narrative, poetry, wisdom, and prophecy are all found in the Old Testament. The New Testament contains gospels, letters, and apocalyptic writings. These genres help us to see how to interpret what we are reading.
Narrative is telling a story of someone in the past. We cannot take narrative as something actionable, or something to do, because it is simply descriptive of what happened in the past. If we took Noah’s story in Genesis as actionable, we would all be building arks for no reason. Instead, that story serves a larger purpose in the story of scripture. That purpose is to show that God will protect His people and that He values faith in Himself.
The books of poetry in the Bible are full of metaphors and grandiose...
Have you ever approached the Bible, and realized that you don’t understand it? Maybe you have started to read it, but you are confused. Is it one book? Is it a lot of books? How do those books work together?
Well, hopefully I can answer a few of those questions.
The Bible is one book, but it is made up of 66 smaller books. There are 39 books in the Old Testament, (or, books written before Jesus was born) and 27 books in the New Testament (or books written after Jesus was born). Each of these smaller books contributes to the larger story.
Sometimes it can be hard to pick out the larger story because the books in the Bible are not in chronological order. They are grouped by type of literature, and not necessarily when they happened. How’s that for confusing?
So today, I want to give you a little overview of the whole story of scripture. The big word for this is a metanarrative. It is the story that is woven through each book of the Bible, and they...
Have you ever come across a situation in life that you simply don’t understand? When I was 21 years old, 3 of my 4 living grandparents passed away within a 4 month period. I didn’t understand, and to be honest I still am not sure why that situation unfolded the way it did. Job addresses this type of human suffering. The kind we all go through, unexplained, difficult, excruciating circumstances that can cause us to run away from God, or run towards Him. When it comes down to it, Job asks the question, “when you are facing suffering, will you accept that God’s wisdom is higher than ours, or will you fight against what you cannot understand?”
For years I fought against God. I didn’t want to understand. I didn’t think I could. But Job shows us a different way.
We don’t know when Job was written or who it was written by. It appears that Job was written by an outside narrator that gets the whole picture of the...
One of my very first memories of reading the book of Genesis was in 6th grade at an upward basketball game, hiding behind a stack of chairs. My friend Rebecca had told me that she read the book of Genesis the night before, and not to be outdone, I obviously had to read the whole book too. I remember wondering why Enoch was “taken” instead of dying like all the rest of the old guys and I can pinpoint my fascination with the story of Joseph to that read through. That fascination led me to check out books about Joseph regularly from our church library.
Fast forward a few years and my plans to read the Bible all the way through were constantly stunted about the time I finished Genesis, so it is probably one of my most-read books of the Bible.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the beginning story of all creation. The word genesis literally translates to “origins.” This book tells the story of how God created humanity, how...
One time I asked my dad to take one of my dogs to the vet to get spayed. I said that Duff needed to go to the vet, but I couldn’t leave work at the time that they needed her there. My dad called me to see if he had the correct dog, since I have two dogs, and they are both black.
He was calling Jules (the wrong dog) by the name Duff (the right dog) but ultimately he had the wrong dog.
I think that sometimes, we think we are talking about the one true God, but because we don’t truly know who He is and what His character is like, we have the wrong god.
If we are going to have a faith that lasts, we need to know who we are putting our faith in. We need to make sure we have the right God.
We also need to know that this side of heaven we will never understand our God fully. We won’t truly know Him until we get to meet Him face to face. The Bible says that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah...
Last year, Rhett and I went to the Grand Canyon and viewed it from the rim. We could look over the edge, see the mark it made in the earth, and get a sense of its size but that wide view was it. We didn’t get up close and personal and we couldn’t quite grasp the scope of the canyon from the top. from that little taste, I knew I wanted more.
This year, we hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. We started on the North Kaibab trail, and hiked down into Phantom Ranch. We camped at the bottom, and then hiked up the Bright Angel trail to the south rim. We saw several of the creeks that fed into the Colorado river, and dipped our feet in them. We came within a few feet of a deer that was grazing. We saw lizards, a snake, and so many different types of bugs. The trees were gorgeous, and their ability to thrive in a desert ecosystem was awe-inspiring.
If we had settled for visiting the rim, yes, we could say that we had been to the Grand Canyon. However, because I have...
I love reading by Bible. But that hasn’t always been the case. When I was around 12, I confessed to my dad that I actually didn’t really like reading my Bible. This is not something a pastor’s kid, a regular church attender, a “good girl” should say.
But it was true.
I wanted to like reading my Bible, but I found it hard to understand, and there were often other things I would’ve rather been doing.
Let’s be honest, reading the Bible can be hard, and we don’t always like to, or want to. But we need to, because God’s Word is powerful. Through reading and studying the Bible, we come to know God more and are transformed into who He created us to be.
After graciously listening to me, my dad spoke a phrase that has stuck with me ever since: A divine interaction takes place when we read God’s Word.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed…”
In Genesis 2, we read of God creating man. Verse 7 says...
I love it when the first day of the month is a Monday. Today is a Monday, the first day of the Quarter, and the exact halfway point for the year. It is like some sort of magical new beginning.
I love new beginnings. I get to restart where I may have messed up. I get to quit things that aren’t serving me well. I get new energy towards tasks I have let slide (hello, there huge stack of laundry).
But if we are being really honest, there is nothing special about a Monday. There is nothing special about the 1st of the month, or even the year. We can have a new beginning anytime we decide. If we are in Jesus, we have even more than simply a new beginning, we have new life!
Romans 8:11 says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from death to life is at work in us, and if that isn’t some good news to start our week! Through Christ, we have new life.
If you have never asked Jesus for a new start but you want to, that is all you have to do. Ask Him. He delights in giving out...