Saturday, July 18, 2015

Reading the Bible Chronologically Part 1

January 2014, I started a reading plan to read through the Bible. This plan was on an app that had some Old and New Testament readings a day. It also threw in one Psalm and a verse in Proverbs a day. I had made it through Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, and part of Mark. I was beginning Leviticus when I read a blog post on Proverbs 31 Ministries about reading the Bible chronologically. You can read that blog post here.

That blog post changed my direction for the "read all the way through plan."

That sweet little bookmark was made by me in 8th grade Sunday School. I loved the teacher. She was very innovative for her time.

The truth is when you get to Leviticus, you are looking for a way out! That is one tough book to read through. The blog post suggested reading the Bible in chronological order. I ordered a Bible that was laid out that way in the New Living Translation version. I kept my regular version (NASB) close at hand and began to dig my way through the chronological plan. I had to make some adjustments, such as going back to catch up on some things I had missed in the chronological plan. Those were in 1 Chronicles and Job mostly.

The only other thing I did was to keep my readings of the New Testament going along side. I felt I needed the life giving strength of the New Testament readings to guide me through the very difficult times I was going through with my step dad having terminal cancer, so I read the New Testament in chronological order as well alternating days between Old and New Testament daily readings.

This blog post is to share some of the wonderful things about that year Plus of reading. The first big thing is it took me more than a year to read through. I had a ton going on in my life, but the truth is I thing it really takes more than a year for most to read through the Bible. I really want to stress that point. I think so many times we give up on reading through, because we simply can't keep on the plan, so we get frustrated and Quit. This time I decided if it took me two years, that I was going to make it. I gave myself the freedom to do what I could when I could. It made all the difference!!!

I am going to share some of the things I learned this year and a half of reading through the Bible. My list is in no particular order. I am going to break up my points into two posts, because there were many things that I felt were worth sharing.

#1 - I had no idea how much 1 and 2 Kings were similar to 1 and 2 Chronicles. Before anyone judges me, I grew up in the church, and have been striving to live a Christian life since the age of 16. I love the Word, and considered myself a reader of It. And yet, I realized by reading it this past year and a half all the way through that I had so much to learn. I am sure there are many scholars that can explain all of this much better, but I am just going to give a few thoughts on it. After the first 10 chapters of Chronicles, there are many similarities and you will find your readings often go something like this.

This is a May 20 daily reading...
Psalm 83
1 Chronicles 29:23-25
2 Chronicles 1:1
1 Kings 2:13 - 3:4
2 Chronicles 1:2-6
1 Kings 3:5-15
2 Chronicles 1:7-13

One example:

1 Kings 3:5-15New Living Translation (NLT)

That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. “Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”15 Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, where he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then he invited all his officials to a great banquet.

2 Chronicles 1:7-13New Living Translation (NLT)

That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! 10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly,[a] for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— 12 I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!” 13 Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel.
This is one example of what I am talking about. There are sooooo.... many more. You actually don't finish Kings and Chronicles until the end of your Old Testament readings. You get to see where the prophets fit into the history with this format.
#2 - I also have a much better understanding of Acts in the same way. You will see where to read Galatians and Ephesian, etc in the context of the history of Acts.

I can't wait to share more of the specifics of what I picked up from my reading. 
This little bit of sweetness is kept in my Bible. It was taken when my baby was in 2nd grade in Sunday  School. He is now 23. Where did the time go?
"So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire. And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." --- 
Isaiah 55:11
Stay tuned,

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