Back to Basics

201Just last week I read an article Bible Before Books and it made me think of one of my first blog posts. There are some helpful resources in here to get you started reading your Bible this new year. Last year I read 78% of the Bible, falling short of my goal. This year will be different. (Also check out his post by a friend to help you follow through. It written to the ladies, but guys we can gain a lot from it too.)

My nightstand is normally full of books because I read 3-4 at a time. Not because I’m brilliant or anything just because I lose interest, even in the best of books. For this reason I switch it up quite often. Most of these books are by christian writers and talk about living like Christ or how we are to follow Christ. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, in fact I find it helpful. The problem arises when I read more of these and less of the Bible.

More often than not I find myself reading a contemporary author who bases his writing on the biblical narrative instead of reading the hard to understand text of the actual narrative. It’s just easier that way. Here’s the thing though, it’s not the actual Text that I am reading. That is my problem and the problem of many people in my generation. We haven’t read the Bible. Sure we know the main parts and yes some of us may have even read most of it but few have made it from cover to cover. Why is this a problem? The Word gets muddled when you read it second-hand and you don’t get the whole story just the parts that author chooses to touch on. You miss the big picture of the love of Christ. It takes the wrath of the Old Testament to better grasp the grace of the New. Also the Bible draws us closer to God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

What’s the solution? Well very simply it is to read the Bible, but that is easier said than done. Here are some resources that have helped me get on track.

  • Easy Modern Read
    • Eugene Peterson has translated the Bible into a story format, The Message. I think it is the best resource to get the whole story in an easy to read and relatable format. I do recommend pairing with another translation for study but that is good practice with any translation.
  • Bible Reading Plan
    • There are many reading plans out there ranging from 90 days to 2 years to get through the entire Bible. BibleGateway has quite a few options to choose from and you can see others progress if they choose (you can find me by searching for user rgibbons4890.) This blog post has quite a few options. Also keep track with this spreadsheet for Numbers or Excel (Made in numbers don’t know how well it will work in Excel. Links to Google Docs)
  • Better Understanding
    • Get an in-depth study Bible. This has been the biggest help for me. One of my biggest hesitations when it comes to sitting down and reading the bible is that I just don’t understand parts of it. I recommend the Reformation Study Bible (ESV) and the ESV Study Bible. I have both but tend to go to the Reformation Study Bible mainly because there is more commentary.
  •  Accountability
    • Find someone to keep you accountable or someone who will commit to reading the whole Bible with you. This will keep both of you on track. If this isn’t the best option for you, keep a reading journal and keep yourself accountable.

I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor and hope that these resources help. We need to get back to be anchored in the Bible and get support from Christian authors not getting support for their views from the Bible. Join me by getting back to the basics and reading the Bible this year.

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