Sunday, January 1, 2012

THE BIBLE: Where To Start

Supposing you have never read the Bible --- all the way through.  Today is the first day of a new year... and any day is the first day of the Rest of Your Life.  So suppose you want to read the Bible --- where do you start?
The first time I read the Bible all the way through, I just started at the beginning, in Genesis, and kept going til I got to the end, in Revelation.  It did take me just about a year, I think.  I did not follow any other plan.  I just read about 3 pages each day.  Sometimes I missed a day or 2, when life got too hectic or busy; then I would make it up the following day and read 6 or 9 pages instead of 3.
I had been going to church all of my life and I already had a good idea of what the Bible was about, just from listening to sermons and doing lessons in Bible classes.  But reading the Bible through all the way --- Beginning through Middle to End --- gave me a sense of continuity and understanding I had not had before.
Many parts of the Bible are very easy to read, because they record the stories of people and events and once you get started you are carried along by the story.  Parts of the Bible are difficult to read, for a variety of reasons.  It can be hard to slog through the genealogies, for instance, because they will seem at first encounter to be just dry lists of names.  If you are reading the King James translation, you may have difficulty with archaic language.  Some of the Proverbs may seem hard to make sense of at first glance --- the "riddles of the wise" require time and effort to decipher.
But the Bible is a deep and wonderful book; you can read it over and over many times and never exhaust its riches.  The Bible is a beautiful book.  One third of the entire Old Testament is in Hebrew poetic form.  Life's most important questions are found in the Bible, and life's most important answer is there.
Many people, including me, believe that the Bible is inspired by God.
But whatever plan of reading you have in mind, if you are planning to read the Bible this year, be sure to start with common sense and an open mind, and keep things in context.

Five P's to Remember in Bible Study:
PERSON speaking.
PEOPLE to whom spoken.
PLACE where spoken.
PURPOSE for which spoken.
PERIOD in which spoken.