BIBLE STUDY TOOL BOX

bible

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to start reading the Bible more regularly?

It’s mid-January and now is about the time some of us start to lose steam. I want to encourage you to hang in there! Many times, all that’s needed, besides commitment, is some tools. Well, you’re in luck! Below is an article that I hope helps you stay the course with your Bible reading goals.

Why is it so hard to read the Bible? I mean, most of us really want to —yet we don’t even come close to a consistent reading plan. And when we do open it, we’re sort of lost. Allowing the pages of the big book to fall open randomly, we search for a morsel of something useful, reducing God’s Word to a fortune from a Chinese cookie.

Or perhaps we may know some familiar scriptures extracted from memory in times of need that we sprinkle like fairy dust in hopes of a changed situation. Psalms and Proverbs are great for that. But deep inside, we yearn. Surely it’s supposed to be different than this.

If we’re going to get anything out of Bible study, we must throw away our misconceptions and preconceived notions.

What the Bible is not
A rule book
Mythical fairy tales
Complex book of cryptic prophesies
Two separate stories: the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus and the church in the New Testament

What the Bible is
A story about God, life, and His people

We must approach the Bible as a story—a true story in which we are a part of, and hasn’t ended yet. However, if we attempt to read the Bible as a typical story, we may likely become confused and frustrated.

“The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece of the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.”  Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible

Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box

Here’s a convenient PDF of The Tool Box. Just click and print! Beckie’s Bible Study Tool Box.

 

A Good place to begin is by getting familiar with the Bible. Here’s how:

  1. Maps And Timelines

https://a.openbible.info/geo/maps-big/all.jpg

From Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?oe=UTF8&msa=0&ie=UTF8&mid=1uR5a0eI379UMHAtfhCjiJcJIlYQ

TIMELINES

http://www.eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Download/chronologische%20timetable%20of%20the%20Bible.pdf

Overview of the Bible Reading Plan

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/get-basic-overview-bible/

2.Chronological Reading Plan

Although the Bible is not in chronological order, this plan is an outline of how to read that way.

http://static.esvmedia.org/assets/pdfs/rp.chronological.pdf

3. Bible Studies. Here are a few studies I recommend for beginners or even the seasoned Christian.

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as one Complete Story by Angie Smith

seamless Bible studyhttps://www.amazon.com/Seamless-Understanding-Bible-Complete-Member/dp/1430032308

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby
Experiencing God studyy 
https://www.amazon.com/Experiencing-God-Knowing-Doing-Workbook/dp/0805499547

4.Online Resources and Commentaries

BibleGateway
https://www.biblegateway.com/
(@BibleGateway & @BibleGatewayApp) is your rich social and personal connection to freely read, research, and reference Scripture on your desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone . . . anywhere; in more than 200 versions and more than 70 languages! Its simple yet advanced searching capabilities allow you to quickly find and compare particular passages in multiple Bible translations based on the keywords, phrases, topics, or Scripture references you have in mind. You’ll be inspired and encouraged – whether reading with your eyes or your ears (audio Bibles) – as you rely on Bible Gateway for all your Bible reading needs.

Blue Letter Bible
https://www.blueletterbible.org/

Our mission is to facilitate in-depth study of God’s Word through an on-line interactive reference library continuously updated from the teachings and commentaries of selected pastors and teacher who hold to the conservative, historical Christian faith.

Bible Hub
http://biblehub.com/
Search, read, and study the Bible in many languages.

5. Bible Study Apps

Uversion App picolivetree_app_Icon-retina

Here’s a link to The Top Ten Apps

http://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2013/05/top-10-bible-apps-bible-apps-ios-android/

What did you find helpful?  Do you have any questions? Please comment below.


 

 

 

 

 

TWO STEP PLAN: GET ACQUAINTED​ WITH THE BIBLE

bible-close up with hand

WELCOME TO PART II OF BIBLE READING 101! (link to part I)
I wiped away the tiny beads of sweat from my forehead with the back of my hand. But soon my teeth began to chatter. I pulled a blanket over my shoulders. A few minutes later, I was tossing the blanket off. It had been a month since my diagnosis of strep throat. Of course, when the strep screen came back positive, I was given a heavy dose of antibiotics with specific instructions.

The antibiotics were like a miracle. Within a few days, I was feeling good enough to begin my regular activities as a busy mom of three young kids. The problem was, as I got back into my routine, I lost track of taking my antibiotics. So, I just stopped taking them altogether. And now here I was, back in bed feeling worse than I had a month ago.

When given an antibiotic, the only way to see healing from the infection is from consistent consumption as directed. It’s the same with reading our Bibles. We must be just as diligent. But unfortunately for most Christians, this isn’t happening. In fact, most are biblically anemic. In subsequent articles on the subject, we established that one of the reasons for this anemia is Christians simply don’t know how to effectively read their Bibles.

A recent poll by Ponce Foundation shows, with over 2 billion Christians in the world, only 30 percent will read through the entire Bible. And 82 percent of American Christians only read their Bibles on the Sundays when they attend church.

How often do you read your Bible? Be honest.

Are you like many other Christians who have tried to read the Bible, but it was just too difficult to understand or didn’t seem relevant? I was once there too!

When I began reading to my kids in their children’s Bible, things began to make more sense. Here’s why:
It was written in language that was easy to understand
It summarized the major stories
It had pictures and maps!

So, I decided to apply some of those techniques to tailor my own Bible reading plan. I quickly discovered the Bible is NOT in chronological order. I knew it would help my understanding if I could read things in the order they happened, but we’ll get to that shortly. What I found was what I actually needed was to get “acquainted” with the Bible before diving in head first. Here’s one way I got started studying the Bible and you can do it too!

TWO STEP PLAN TO GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE BIBLE 

STEP ONE: MAPS AND TIMELINES

MAPS: Before reading an actual story, get your bearings by taking a gander at the maps that most Bibles offer in the back. The maps are usually of the past and present times.  In my last article, I included a few links to maps. Here they are again. 
https://a.openbible.info/geo/maps-big/all.jpg
From Google Maps:
 https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?oe=UTF8&msa=0&ie=UTF8&mid=1uR5a0eI379UMHAtfhCjiJcJIlYQ

TIMELINES: The Life Application Bible has a chronology of Bible events and world events. What this means is on the top of the timeline it will show things as they happened in the Bible. On the bottom, it records what is happening in history at or about in the same time period. For example, Mary the mother of Jesus was born about 25 B.C. Around the same time, Cleopatra and her lover, Marc Antony, both die by suicide.

I found the timeline to be very important in my understanding.

Printable PDF A Chronology of Biblical Events and World Events found on the internet:

http://www.eindtijdinbeeld.nl/EiB-Download/chronologische%20timetable%20of%20the%20Bible.pdf

STEP TWO: GET AN OVERVIEW FIRST

I happened upon a few books by R. C. Sproul which helped me tremendously. I learned that starting with an overview of the major happenings (sort of like the children’s Bible) was a good place to begin. Below I have outlined what I got from his teachings through the Ligonier Ministries website which you can look at later (http://www.ligonier.org/blog/).

BEFORE YOU START:
Make a commitment to reading for fifteen minutes every day (same time and, same quiet place is best) from the plan below.
Set up accountability. You don’t have to read together. Just hold each other accountable to the daily reading plan.

Here’s the plan:

 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)

Let me know in the comments below if this has been helpful. 

This plan is only one way to begin getting acquainted with the Bible. I suggest that you copy, paste and print it out for yourself. Remember, it’s an overview of the Bible. Join me next time for another article with a few more suggestions to make Bible reading easier. Until then, blessings!

Love,
Beckie

BIBLE READING 101 Fundamental Pieces

BIBLE READING 101 https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/08/15/bible-reading-101-fundamental-pieces/

Welcome to Bible Reading 101: Part I—Fundamental Pieces

Before we get started, I’d like to tell you that I don’t hold a degree in theology. I do, however, consider myself a student of the Word. From my experience of nearly thirty years in the church and ministry, I have learned (by trial and error mostly) some valuable things that I’m honored to share. I know there are many, just like me, that desire to not only read the Bible on a regular basis, but to actually understand it, apply it, share it, and dare I say, LOVE IT.

There are many excuses for why we don’t read the Bible consistently. Last week we uncovered three overlooked ones: 1. Our image of God is flawed. 2. We don’t know how.  3. It makes us uncomfortable (see last week’s post).

We’re going to begin unpacking the reasons stated above. A flawed image of God in its complexity is based on the individual, which can partially be unfolded by becoming better acquainted with the scriptures themselves. Therefore, we will begin with number two, “we don’t know how to read the Bible.”

Many times I have found when talking with other Christians, the absence of Bible reading boils down to a lack of understanding. A lack of understanding leads to a lack of desire, which in turn, leads to sporadic or nonexistent Bible reading. Because who wants to do something over and over that really doesn’t seem to make sense or even benefit them?

I hope to clear away some of the ambiguousness of the Bible within the next few articles. Some of the points may seem basic. But we must have the fundamentals in place in order to grow stronger. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

First Things First:

It’s important to understand that the Bible is written as a story. A true story. As with all great stories— this is indeed the greatest—there are some major components. Characters, setting, plot, and theme, to name a few.

I do some freelance writing for my local newspaper. In journalism, there’s a technique to putting together a good story called the Five W’s and one H. Perhaps you’ve heard of them: Who, What , When, Where, Why, and How. We have established that the Bible is written as a story. Who is the story about?

WHO

The answer, of course, is God. But there are many other characters as well, which even include you and me. But we’ll get to that later.

WHAT

What is the Bible? The word Bible comes from the Latin and Greek words meaning “book.” It is a vast library, written by 40 authors, inspired by God. It is comprised of 66 books. The Bible is divided into two sections. The Old Testament is the first section (before the birth of Jesus) containing a collection of 39 books. It is the story of God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, later known as the Israelites. The second section, The New Testament, tells of Jesus’s birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection, the growth of the early Christian church, and predictions of the second coming of Jesus.

WHEN

The Bible was written over a span of over 1,600 years. The first book, Genesis was likely written around 1440 and 1400 B.C.

WHERE

The Bible is also about a place (setting) named Israel, that spreads into surrounding regions and eventually into parts of the Roman Empire.

The setting is important to a story. It can have an immense effect on the plot and characters. Take for example the fictional story of The Wizard of Oz. Or how about something a bit more current, The Matrix. The setting largely affects the overall story and helps us better understand the characters and why they do what they do.

So let’s get our bearings straight. I’d like for you to take a look at two maps. The first map has red markings that correspond to the biblical setting (places mentioned in scripture). Here’s the first map:

https://a.openbible.info/geo/maps-big/all.jpg

Here’s the current google map of that same area. There’s even a satellite image available. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?oe=UTF8&msa=0&ie=UTF8&mid=1uR5a0eI379UMHAtfhCjiJcJIlYQ

The stories in the Bible are about the people (characters) who lived in these areas long ago.

WHY

The purpose of the Bible is to reveal who God is and to show us His will toward mankind. In this way, God’s story declares His desire for a relationship with His most prized creation—people (ALL people).

It was God’s plan from the beginning to bring revelation and salvation through His son, Jesus Christ (John 1: 1-4). Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of Me.”  So, we can say that the focus of the Bible is about Jesus since he said the entire Scriptures bear witness of who he is.  The Scriptures tell us that he is God in the flesh (1 John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9). He bore our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and he died and rose from the dead 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4). We can also say that the Bible is the background that supports and testifies to who Jesus is and what he did.

HOW

The history of the Bible is a very large and complex subject involving many dates, councils, people, and political events. It is far more complex than can be dealt with in a single article. In fact, there have been many, many books written about this subject. If you want some basic understanding as to how the Bible was compiled, I have referenced a few sites that I find informative.

http://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/who-decided-what-went-into-the-bible.html

Now that we have established some of the fundamentals, we can begin to look at ways to study the Bible. We will do this over the next few articles.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll be discussing:

I told you in my last article that reading a children’s Bible to my kids is how I began to make sense of the adult Bible. Later I realize the reason for this. The children’s Bible highlighted the significant people and events. I’m going to show you how to make that connection, as well as suggest other reading plans and tips.

Let me leave you with this. God is not removed from His creation. He desires to be known. His story—His revelation, is alive within the pages of scripture. They tell one seamless story about the God who made you and me. Isn’t that exciting?

I look forward to meeting you here next Monday.


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This post is linked to Literacy Musing Mondays!
http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1225