Have you ever been given a book that just sits on your self for months before you finally crack it open? My sister and her husband gave me “The Books of the Bible” about 8 months ago and, honestly, I had hardly looked at it until the new year.
Each January I rethink my devotional habits (a good practice which I highly recommend). For two years I’ve followed a modified version of Professor Grant Horton’s Bible reading plan but was looking for something new for 2013.
I picked up “The Books of the Bible” and have really been impressed by it. This Bible has the TNIV text printed without chapters or verses. It therefore reads like a book instead of a dictionary or encyclopedia. Our current Bibles were divided up into chapters in 1205 and into verses in the 1550’s. Nothing wrong with this, but the original writers didn’t put them in. So this year I’m taking them out.
And the sparks in my mind it has created!
1. Instead of looking for individual verses which I can apply to my life (and which I sometimes take out of context), I find myself thinking about the flow of the story I’m reading.
2. Instead of thinking “Why does this matter to me?”, I find myself wondering “Why did God act in this way?”.
Now, I’m not giving up my ESV Study Bible anytime soon, but I’ve come to realize that there is a real benefit to reading the scriptures as a story – God’s story of creation, our fall into sin, and his work in bringing redemption.