Friday, April 13, 2012

The Big Picture

The Bible is a often a very intimidating and misunderstood book, though it need not be. I remember as a teenager thinking of the Bible as a mystical book full of magical power and that in order for the magic to work in my life, I had to read it differently than I would any other book. I can remember listening to preachers quote the Bible and not having a clue as to what they were talking about. I concluded I was missing the big picture and thought that the only way to get this knowledge was by some kind of supernatural experience with God. While much of this way of thinking had to do with the teaching of the particular denomination I was apart of, it lead to me reading Scripture and then waiting for the magic to happen. And when the magic didn’t happen, I would get frustrated and conclude that either  it didn’t work or I didn’t have the gift to “do it right.” Finally quit reading the Bible altogether.

Thankfully, God called me to Himself and saved me in 1999. When He did, He gave me a renewed hunger to read His Word. As I read, there was much I still didn’t understand. However, there were many things that I understood clearly and realized that they were contrary to what I had been taught as a teenager. It was then I purposed in my heart to read the Bible as my only source of truth and to read it diligently because I wanted to know the truth. Not only did I accept the Bible as the standard of truth, but I also determined to test anything I read or heard regarding Christianity against the Scriptures. And as I’ve come more and more to see the “big picture” of the Bible’s redemption story, it has become much easier to see how the Bible applies to everyday life as well as to spot when its being misapplied.

So I want to share with you the secret I have found to unlock understanding the big picture of the Bible. Are you ready for this?

Read the Bible.

That’s it? That’s the big secret, you say?

Well, yes. A recent study by LifeWay Research found that the biggest correlating factor for spiritual maturity is biblical literacy. In other words, the more a person understands the Bible, the more he/she grows spiritually. And in order to understand it, one must actually read it.

Now I understand that there are many who have read the Bible cover to cover and still have an incorrect understanding of what it actually says. However, I believe that is a result of their understanding being shaped by presuppositions rather than by the words of Scripture. In the coming weeks, I will be doing a series on “how” we must read the Bible, but for now I just want to encourage you to read the Bible. The whole Bible. Even Leviticus and the Minor Prophets. Below are some plans that you can actually stick to and will help you get the “big picture.”

Prof. Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System – I’m currently following this plan. I love it because it is not date-driven. If I miss a day, I can simply pick up where I left off and not have to make up any missed days. I also love the fact that because I’m reading from different sections of the Bible each day, the Bible is its own commentary and I can see how it all ties together. Note: this plan is also very flexible. I’ve found that 10 chapters a day is a bit much for my schedule, so I read five a day instead. The key is to read every day.

Read the Bible for Life – I’m very excited about this project. It offers several different reading plans to choose from with the goal of showing you the main story of the Bible and how it all ties together.
Please let me know if you find this blog helpful. My goal is to be a resource to help Christians grow in faith and love for Jesus Christ.

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