Categories
the Bible

Begin well

The Bible isn’t a novel. It’s not meant to be read from beginning to end.

If you “start at the very beginning”, it probably isn’t “the very best place to start.”

The Bible does have a plot, a story that develops over thousands of years. But it’s really important to know the end of the story first. Knowing the end puts all the parts in perspective.

There is no bonus for being held in suspense about how the story ends.

Remember from last week: the whole point of the Bible is to lead us to Jesus, who described himself as “the beginning and the end.” As best we can, let’s make our reading begin and end with him.

The end of the Bible is Jesus. The whole story is about him. The beginning, the middle, the end – all about him…so we can know him.

So, to begin well let’s choose one of the four Gospels. I suggest starting with John or Mark.

Start with John to focus on who Jesus is. John had an especially close relationship with him and gives us a unique perspective. John adopted Jesus’ mother Mary into his home – I wonder how much his writing passes along Mary’s reflections.

Start with Mark if you prefer to focus on what Jesus did. They say that Mark’s gospel is likely to reflect Peter’s telling of events; Peter is a “get it done” kind of person.

Which ever one you pick, don’t rush. Give yourself time to pause, question, ponder.

Most importantly, pay attention to what your inner voice might be saying. You are reading to get to know a Person, not to pass a test.

I hope you find this hodgepodge of thoughts helpful. Grace and peace to you…

dw

Categories
prayer the Bible

Resolved to read?

Did anyone out there make a resolution to read the Bible in 2021?

(If you want, you can try out this fancy poll.)

I want to share a few thoughts over the coming weeks about the Bible and the experience of reading it. Not that I’m an expert or anything: I’m not. But maybe my experience could be a help to you.

And yours to me.

So this could be kind of a discussion, if you like. What do you think?

There are two things I want to start with – to me they are really important. The first is where I’m coming from about the purpose of the Bible and of reading it; Jesus says it better than anyone:

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you…

Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition. John 5:39-40

There are all kinds of reasons for reading the Bible, but for me this is the one that matters: to bring us to Jesus. That’s what I want to focus on.

The second thing I want to mention today: are you familiar with Mary Oliver’s poem Praying? (If not, you can read it here: Praying – a poem by Mary Oliver – it’s by far the most popular post on this blog.)

What does this have to do with reading the Bible? Everything. Reading the Bible is a way to pray. Come to it from where you are, with what you have and what you lack. Just be yourself. Just come.

Jesus says, “Here I am, right here. Just come on, the way you are, so we can be together.”

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Categories
prayer Scripture

A prayer when reading scripture

Yesterday I looked back at one of the earliest posts on this site. It describes a habit I formed back then and still practice now when I read the Bible. I added some current thoughts, extended the section that invites reflection, and spruced up the design a bit. I offer it again to anyone who may find it helpful.

Grace and peace to you…

dw