When you pick up the bible you may think “Woah, this book is huge!” and you are not wrong. This is partly because the bible is actually not just a book. It is a library of books getting its name from the greek word “Biblia” or “Books”.
It is a collection of 66 books from over roughly 40 authors written over the course of 1,500 years. It contains various types of literature and themes, and were written to audiences coming from a variety of backgrounds, and contexts.
This is sometimes why reading the bible can be confusing – or feel like it’s going over your head. But here is the thing: The books contained in the bible were written by people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so we call it “God’s word” because we believe that through that inspiration he is revealing his heart, character, and will to us, and for today.
When you pick up the bible it may feel daunting. Usually people start on page one, and very quickly it can feel odd, even out of date. There’s a lot going on here, so it’s okay if maybe you have done that, and then got up to the first couple of pages, and thought “This is strange, I am out.” We’re glad you are back at it if thats the case.
It helps to start with some understanding of WHAT you are reading. Namely you are reading an epic unified story about God and his relationship with humanity. It is a story that starts in creation and continues to a vision of Jesus returning to set all things right. Theres a helpful video of that called “understanding the story of the bible.”
It also helps to understand that you are not reading a modern novel, or text book. There is deep and profound literature contained in scripture with different styles techniques and aims – it helps to have some understanding of that. Check out “understanding the literature of the bible”
The bible is split up into two main sections; the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament mainly revolves around the redemption story of the Nation of Israel, through their covenant with God. It reveals God’s law and heart for holiness and justice, and also reveals how we as humanity could not possibly meet God’s perfect standard. This is re-enforced time and time again through the writings of the prophets who look forward to a coming saviour.
The New Testament reveals that saviour as Jesus of Nazareth. The long awaited messiah. It reveals how through him, God’s redemption plan for all of humanity jumps the national and cultural borders of Israel as he had always intended it to.
This is the main point – God came for us when we could not do it on our own.
With a little understanding it makes approaching the way that you read the bible way more accessible.
We suggest starting with Jesus. Namely we suggest starting with the book of Mark.
We also suggest watching the bible project video that corresponds with the book of Mark to help you understand the context, themes, and literary techniques that give your reading of it tons more depth and meaning.
And last but not least – we suggest journalling as you journey through the bible. There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is great advice, (better memory retention, the ability to look back on it your thoughts and prayers, ensuring greater depth of internalization and understanding… etc.) and it is a great practice to hold. We recommend using SOAP as we find it checks all of those boxes.
We put that on your bookmark to make it super easy – but it’s down below again in case you have no idea what that is supposed to mean.
Even from home, or in a different city the call of Jesus is to go and make disciples of all nations.
If you are looking for ways that you can connect with Nova Church Online to help serve and “GO” we would love to connect with you.
Bella Rose Arts Theatre – 283 Thomas Raddall Dr, Halifax, NS
Suite 170, 2 Bluewater road, Bedford Nova Scotia B4B 1G7