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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Read Your Bible: Confessions of a Cliff Note's Kind of Girl

I was a Christian long before I was a Bible-reader. I didn't start reading my Bible on a regular basis until I was in my 30's. Sure, I went to church and heard it read and preached. I'd gone to Sunday school my entire life, memorized verses and knew the books of the Bible pretty well. When I needed some encouragement, I'd flip around until I landed on a verse or chapter that spoke to me. But to read it daily...nope. Why? Excuses. I didn't have time in my busy mornings. I was too tired in the evenings. Etc. etc. You know the drill.

A few years ago I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. It took a while, but I finally made it through. I was amazed at how much more I understood about God and the history behind Christianity after that! I read it through again, and am working on my third time through now. I will never again read the Bible in a "hit or miss" kind of way.

Back when I was in college, I was a lousy student. I mean lousy and lazy. Shortcuts and midnight cram sessions were the only thing that saved me from flunking out entirely. My poor parents. I know they were disappointed. Sigh. When it came time to read a book for a class, I inevitably bought the Cliff Notes and skimmed through them, hoping to glean just enough information about the story to pass the test. Because that was all I wanted. I wanted to pass the test. Period. I had no desire to know what the book was about or what motivated the characters. I simply had to pass the test.

Can Bible reading be a little like my college lit career?

Yep. Sometimes we want to glean just enough of the Word to get us through this crazy life and into those pearly gates. After all, does it really matter if we know about all that boring stuff that happened in the Old Testament? Do we have to know everything the New Testament says as long as we believe the stuff it says about Jesus?

Well...in a word...YES!

Why?

Think of the Bible as you would a novel. When you pick up a book or load one onto you Kindle, you start reading on page one, right? And then you turn page after page, going deeper into the story. Think of how many, many details you would miss if you skipped around, trying to piece together the story from the bits and pieces you've read and the comments your friend made about the book. It's pretty much the same for the Bible. There is so much in it, that it's really impossible to grasp the whole story without reading it from cover to cover. Bits and pieces may help me pass the test--and get into those pearly gates--but I'd miss so much of what the Author wanted me to know about the story.

So, take the advice of a Cliff Note's kind of girl: Read the Bible from Genesis 1 and work your way to the end. You will be amazed at the details and order God wrote into His story.

And I'm here to tell you, the movie definitely isn't as good as the book. ;)

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This week's Prayer Shout Out Countries are:
USA, Russia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Philippines, Ukraine, Macau

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