I’ve always wanted to read the entire Bible – from cover-to-cover. Emphasis on the *always wanted.* If I’m being honest though, it’s not something I ever thought I could actually, realistically accomplish. You know how that is, right?
I sort of halfway committed a few times. I got through Genesis each time – easily. But when I would get toward the end of Exodus and into books like Numbers and Leviticus, things started to slow down. Eventually, I’d feel like I had set myself up for failure and I would abandon it altogether. But even still, I’ve always wanted to figure out how to make it happen….finally.
The Importance of the *Whole* Bible
It’s easier and more enjoyable to read any sort of historical piece of writing when you have context – when you know why it was written, who it was written to, and its general context. The same goes for the Bible. When I know what’s going on in the big picture and how this book fits into it, I’m much more likely to track and continue reading.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This means that even those “boring” OT books are important to God. And if it’s important to God, then it’s important to me too. If anything, I should be going out of my way to read the books that I find the least interesting. I definitely have always felt convicted of this and wanted to learn more. It’s just so overwhelming. I wanted to understand (1) why He felt the need to include these books and (2) what they actually say.
More than anything, though, I needed an overview. I needed to get some filling folders in my brain to house the stories of the Old Testament specifically, but also the Bible generally. I want to be able to pick up any book, read it, and be able to digest it accordingly.
If I’m going to base my entire life and purpose on Jesus, then I should probably at least try to understand His whole story. And in order to do that, I need to get a grasp of the Old Testament. I don’t need to become an expert (although it’s a bit tempting to drop everything and do that – ha!), but I at least need some basic background knowledge.
Our Bible Plan of Action
I was talking to one of my girlfriends, Mary (the cutie in these photos!), about my desire (and struggle) to read the whole Bible AND understand it–she felt the same way! We both wanted to learn more but didn’t know where to start or how to actually make it happen. Mary suggested we read this book called 30 Days To Understanding the Bible. Funny enough, I actually already owned it. I bought it two years ago, tried to do it myself but lost motivation after like….three days.
We decided to meet weekly and do it together. And so that’s where it all began my friends. Now every week, my friend Mary and I meet for two-ish hours and try to understand the crazy storyline that is The Old Testament. And whew! It’s a-freaking-lot. But even though I usually walk away feeling more confused and curious, I know I’m making progress and it’s actually really interesting. The more I learn, the more I want to know and understand how it all fits together.
How I Learn – My Velcro Analogy
The way I see it, I’m building velcro. I’m creating sticky points in my brain that won’t necessarily “stick” right now, but the next time I hear it or come across it, it’ll stick a little better. It’s like everything else: the first time you learn or are exposed to anything, it’s overwhelming. But the more you familiarize with it, the easier it will be to remember.
Honestly, the feeling reminds me of how I felt in Accounting 101. I’ll never forget about the time I made my first C on my first midterm in Financial Accounting during Sophomore year of college. And I’m sorry to brag or whatever, but I don’t make C’s. No, not ever. It felt like I’d never catch on, but little by little things started to really stick. Eventually, I graduated top of my class and, much to my surprise decided to major in it and eventually became a CPA. Who would have thought?! It just reminds me that learning anything at first is challenging.
The Tools We Are Using To Study
Since I’ve been sharing IG stories from our little meetings each week, I wanted to write a blog post to answer all your questions, report back on what’s helping, and maybe even list off some of the things I’ve learned so far.
- 30 Days To Understanding The Bible – We started this, but by the time we got to chapter 10, it became clear we were going to need a little extra help. Don’t get me wrong, the book is great. But honestly, if you don’t have much context, to begin with, it can be a bit overwhelming to casually close over 400 years in a paragraph, you know? So we needed some additional resources.
- Seamless – We’ve decided to bring in Angie Smith’s book, Seamless, as well to study alongside. I like seeing the parallels between the two books and how they tell the same story in different ways.
- Bible Project Read The Scripture Videos – I am ADDICTED to these. Anytime I get confused or overwhelmed by a book in the Bible, I’ll watch the corresponding video from their Read The Scripture series and instantly feel a little more up to speed. Again, people – we’re creating velcro. We’re probably not going to remember everything we’re consuming here, but we’re building a solid foundation.
What Has Been The Most Helpful?
So far, I’d say that (1) breaking the events down into Eras, (2) putting the books in chronological order and then (3) looking at maps has been the most helpful in my journey to put it all together (in a way that actually sticks!)
Breaking it Down Into Eras – zooming out and seeing the history of the Bible in chunks – or rather, eras. I’ve actually heard people refer to “the Kingdom Era” or “The Exile Era” before, but I didn’t realize there were like ten of them!
Putting Books in Chronological Order – There are all “kinds” of books in the Bible, and they are often grouped by category, not always in chronological order. They fall into categories like historical, poetical, and prophetic books. Understanding these categories gives SO much context and meaning to the bigger picture, but knowing the order of the books is also important. Knowing WHAT happened WHEN is a must.
Looking At Maps – something about getting a visual for all these places they talk about really helped me. But I still have work to do for sure. Now when I think about Egypt and the Exodus, I can literally see the map in my head and I can visualize the people going from Exodus to the Promised Land. And something about that visual picture makes all the difference for me.
*All three graphics above are from Max Anders Book, 30 Days To Understanding The Bible.
Shop My Look:
I cannot get enough of this striped linen blazer lately! I love how lightweight it is for Spring, but still gives me just the right amount of warmth for the occasional Spring chill. It has been such a go-to for me the past few weeks that I just ordered it in blush pink too! I love it paired with a white tee and jeans. But I also wore it with a skirt last week and LOVED how that looked since this blazer a little longer than most!
What Did You Think?
Did any of y’all watch the live last night? It should still be available to view on my profile if you’re interested! We’re thinking about doing this again – would any of y’all be interested? I would love to hear your thoughts on any and all of this topic. Was this post helpful? Do you wan to know more? Should I just stick to the clothes? (lulz). Comments on my blog and instagram are one of the BEST ways to send me feedback. I love getting personal emails – but honestly comments are even more powerful because they create a sense of community among other readers! I’d truly love to hear from y’all!
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