Prayer: Lord, please help me to have a non-distracted mind and an open heart for your word to flow into and to fill me. Let me have wisdom and discernment as your words and desires flow from me. Thank you for granting us one more day to spread your word and your love throughout the world. In your holy name, Amen.
Each devotional or worship session should start with a prayer. This can be anything from simply thanking your Father for everything He has done in your life to song lyrics that have been implanted on your heart. I believe that God is truly Abba. Abba in greek means daddy. Got Question.org has a wonderful explanation of God as Abba. I believe in going to your Abba and laying it at his feet. It does not need to be extremely formal. Most people do not approach their worldly fathers with such formality, so why feel as though you have to approach your Abba in the same way? Just ask for his help as your would have asked your worldly father to help you accomplish a task when you were younger.
Today I am starting my journey through the bible by simply looking at the Bible. What is the Bible? Why do we read the Bible if so much has already been written on it? I recently picked up two books at the bookstore. The first is Why The Bible Makes Sense by Ed Strauss and the other is Learn The Bible in 24 Hours by Chuck Missler. Both books have been extremely enlightening on this question of The Bible.
Simply put, we read the Bible because it is the instruction manual from God. Imagine you are at a new job and your boss hands you a packet of papers and says this is the word for word instruction manual on how to do the job you have been hired to do. Would you read it, or would you go to fellow co-workers and ask for their advice on how to do the job? I would do both in this context. Think now that God is your boss and the job you have been hired (nay created) to do is being laid out before you. Would you read it? Absolutely! Would you ask others opinions? Absolutely! If you had asked me 8 months ago, I would have said that it was important to read, but I had other things to do so a summary or cliff notes would get the gist...how wrong I was!
It is amazing how being saved puts an entirely new way of thinking in to your head. It is as if a light switch that had been off my whole life was finally turned on. I had been searching for the switch and every now and then the light would flicker enough for me to get a glimpse, but it would then be gone again. Well the switch is flipped and the light is shining brightly now!
So, back to the basics of The Bible. Not only is The Bible the instruction manual for your life, but it is also the greatest love story, murder mystery, crime drama, and end of the world disaster novel ever created. There are many different translations of The Bible and to be honest, as long as you are reading it, I don't find it necessary to squabble over translations. I typically use the New King James Version because that is what my pastor uses; however, I also have a copy of the New International Version that I will reference as well. There are even translations written in novel form; however, while interesting, I wouldn't use that as a main source of study. If you don't have a Bible, almost any translation will help you to get started. You can refine your palate (so to speak) as you get later in study.
The Bible is split in to 2 halves. Each half is split in to many books. Each book is split in to many chapters. While this is how it is and always will be referred to in any circle or realm, I think that it is misleading. This terminology leads one to think that each book is a stand alone story and The Bible is in itself just a holder of the many stories. I think of it like a book of poems. Each poem is significant; however, the collection as a whole doesn't add much to the meaning of each poem. This is NOT so in the Bible. I think, rather, each book should be referred to as volumes, each book as parts, and then each chapter can remain a chapter. This helped because when you think of volumes they build upon each other. When you think of parts (say of a play or of a long novel) they build upon and reference each other. This will help you to think of The Bible as one book to be read and revered, rather than a simple compilation of stories, which was my first pitfall that I had to overcome.
I will save walking you through each and every book and part of The Bible, since we will do that as we read through it together; however, I think that it is important to understand that the books of The Old Testament do build upon each other. They are the stories of the history of a great nation and of the people who God so loves. It is also the revealing of prophecy that will be unraveled during The New Testament as well as some prophecy that we are still waiting on today.
It has always been hard for me to read The Old Testament. I used to think of it as history that was altered when The New Covenant was handed down. So why do I need to read it if it is all altered? I can now see that it is because it is the prequel. It lays out who the main players were, are, and will be. It defines who we are and why we are. It is the decoding cypher for the seeming paradoxes laid forth in The New Testament. It is because we do not take The Old Testament as seriously as we should that people are confused by The New Testament. It is because we do not understand The Old Testament that non-believers are able to point out holes in The New Testament. There are not holes in The New Testament, they are simply filled by the writings of The Old Testament.
So, going forward we will read both Old and New Testament together to understand where this all comes from. I have always had trouble reading The Bible cover to cover because it is not written in such a way. It is written with references back to other scripture and as a comprehensive instruction manual. I will attempt to read it as such.
I hope that you will continue to journey with me during The Project and help me in my understanding. I am NOT a biblical scholar. I am not a pastor. I am not even a long time believer. I am no different than you. I am a newly saved 28 year old girl yearning to know her Abba on a deeper level. I have no formal training or insight, so anything that you may want to contribute is welcomed and appreciated. I view this as a communal project, so please, join the community by following the blog, adding it to your daily feed, mentioning it on Facebook or Twitter, and contributing in the comments!