How To Understand The Bible As A Whole
The Bible Overview will help you teach a bible overview to your church or small group.
This booklet accompanies The Bible Overview course. Inside you will find a beautifully presented summary of the message of the Bible, as well as important Bible verses which explain that message.
Designed to be completed in three short presentations, The Bible Overview will leave you confident about what the Bible is saying, how the different sections of the Bible fit together and our own place in the Bible’s unfolding story of God’s relationship with His world.
The Bible Overview course is ideal for churches, small groups, Scripture classes or any group, large or small, that would like to find out what the Bible is about.
- Inside this booklet you will find the 15 stages of the unfolding story of the Bible as they will be explained during The Bible Overview presentations.
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A good introduction to the whole Bible
We use this great book as an introduction for students at Bible college who are on the Foundation Year. Some of them are new Christians and have never studied the Bible before. Its a easier way to start their Biblical Studies module.
A most useful resource
An excellent tool, adaptable for use with all age groups. The images are effective across a range of cultural backgrounds.
Ok – but could have been included in the study books
Studying The Bible Matters Because God Matters
We study the Bible because it is Gods word to the world. We want to hear him. We want to slow down and carefully, thoughtfully, and reverently hear what he has to say to us.
How valuable are these words? More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb . Two of the greatest pleasures our world pursuesmoney and foodand the Bible satisfies us more than both.
The apostle Paul wrote, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness . Just as you breathe out every word of yours, God breathes out every word in the Bible. It alone is inspired in this sense. We cannot say this about any other book on any other shelf anywhere in the worldonly the Bible.
Prophecy And End Times: Reading Order
Matthew: one of the 12disciples of Jesus who was of the tribe of Levi. He wrote his gospel to aJewish audience, emphasizing how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and Law of the Hebrew Scriptures.
1-2 Thessalonians: letterby Paul to the believers in Thessalonica, who had questions and some anxietiesabout the end times.
Isaiah: the prophet thatwrote the most about the coming Messiah. Considered second only to Elijah inimportance and prominence of the Old Testament prophets.
Joel: visions of thecoming judgment and of an age when God’s Spirit will be poured out upon manypeople.
Zechariah: visions of thecoming Messiah and His new kingdom.
Daniel 7-12: visionsgiven to the Hebrew named Daniel during the Exile period and area prelude to the visions given to John in the book of Revelation.
Revelation: visions ofthe end of the age, when Jesus returns to finalize His Kingdom.
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Focus Point: Romans : 9
Re-read Romans 10:13 and let thewords sink into your ears, your heart, your very being. Isn’t it wonderful to know that thisis a promise from God that we can bank on and trust in? This is an excellentpassage to memorize so that you can recall it anytime you need a burst ofwonder at the amazing promises that our Creator God has given to us.
But just whois the “Lord” that Paul is referring to in this passage? In today’sculture, it is very common to say or believe that there are many ways to “callon the name of the Lord” and that in essence, all the various religions arejust different ways to the same God. But are they really? Is the Lord that Paulis describing here the same that our pluralistic society today defines? For theanswer, we have to go back a couple sentences to verses 9-11. Here in theseverses, who does Paul say is the “Lord” thatis able to deliver on the promise given in verse 13? With that answer in mind,you may also want to memorize these verses as well.
Ot History: Divided Kingdoms Period
Among the most exciting and epicwritings in the entire Bible. The remainder of 1-2 Kings tells how Israelbecame divided: the Southern Kingdom of Judah,consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, consisting of the remaining tentribes. Immediately, the first king of Israel adopted the Egyptian idolatrouspractice of bull worship and as a result, there never was a ruler out of the 19kings in Israel that did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
The NorthernKingdom was conquered around 722 BC byAssyria and the people scattered throughoutthe Assyrian empire, never to return. Non-Hebrews inhabited the land and it becameknown ever-after as a defiled land full of idolatrous mixed-bred people. Thisregion would come to be called Samaria in Jesus’ day. The Southern Kingdom of Judah fared only a littlebetter. Out of 20 kings, there were eight that did what was right in the sightof the Lord. Nevertheless, Judah too was punished and was conquered by the Babylonians around 586 BC. Thepeople were taken into captivity and it is here that the Hebrew people becameknown as “Jews” which is a shortened version of Judah.
1 Kings 12-22: theaccount of the kings of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
2 Kings: the continuingaccount, including the fall of both kingdoms.
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Take Everything Back To Jesus
Jesus said that all the Scriptures testify to him. This means that generally speaking, every portion of the Bible points to Jesus in some way.
For example, in the Old Testament, the Mosaic law points to our inability to keep the law and Jesus fulfillment of the law. The temple foreshadows Jesus as the new temple.
You can go overboard on this, such as trying to literally tie every single item in the temple to Jesus , but overall this is a very helpful principle to keep in mind.
During your Bible study, always bring it back to Jesus Christ.
Pay Attention To The Context
Paying attention to context is extremely important if you want to accurately understand what the Bible is saying. Some people just search its pages for an individual verse that speaks to their need of the moment, without paying much attention to the verses that surround it. Reading this way is kind of like treating the Bible as a fortune cookie or as a collection of inspirational memes. As you read the Bible, sometimes a verse will stand out and engage your heart in a very personal way. But when that happens, its important to see how that verse relates to the verses around it. If you dont pay attention to the context, you are in danger of trying to make the Bible say something that it doesnt actually say.
Every verse of the Bible is part of a chapter, and every chapter is part of a book, and every book of the Bible is part of one larger God-inspired message that unfolds across its pages.
Many people dont realize that the Bible wasnt originally written in chapters and verses. Each book was one continuous text contained in a scroll, and it was not until the late Middle Ages that someone came up with the idea of dividing it up into chapters and verses to make it more convenient for readers and as a tool for helping people locate specific passages that they wanted to remember. One should keep that in mind before pulling a verse out of its context and applying it to your life.
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What The Bible Is All About: Bible Handbook Kjv
What the Bible Is All About is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to read and understand Gods Word. Inside this revised and updated edition, youll find an overview of every book in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. In addition, What the Bible Is All About will:
- Provide a complete guide to the Scriptures
- Explain how Jesus is revealed in the Old and New Testaments
- Show why the Bible is one book, one history, one story
- Introduce key people in biblical history
- Give historical background for every major event
- Highlight recurring biblical themes
- Provide helpful reading plans, maps, charts, and other study helps
Discover for yourself why What the Bible Is All About is one of the worlds bestselling Bible handbooks. This user-friendly guide makes it easier than ever before to plant the Word in your heart and mind.
New King James Version Study Bible
From the publishers site:
This beautiful full-color Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars. These multilayered study tools, combined with the accuracy and clarity of the New King James Version, make this Bible a perfect choice to help you understand and deeply engage with Scripture.
There are obviously differences between each of these Bibles, and scholars will debate the merits of the study notes, but overall I think these are your best bet.
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The Big Story And All The Little Ones
The Bible is filled with history, biographies, miracles, prophecies, songs, poems, letters, and practical teaching. Each element deserves your time and attention, and each book contains wisdom and guidance for your life.
But as you read and study, you should never lose sight of the big over-arching story of the Bible, which is the story of Gods redemptive love and His desire to be present to His people.
It is a Kingdom story, about a King who will be go to any lengths to invite His people into relationship with Him and to join Him in advancing His kingdom agenda in history.
The Old Testament tells the story of how that relationship grows and changes over time. It focuses upon the story of the Jews, a people specially chosen by God to establish and advance His kingdom for His glory. He works with His people in different ways through each of the covenants He makes with them. The New Testament contains the fulfillment of these promises and covenants in the person of Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh. The Bible tells a story with a big narrative arc, and that arc points toward Gods increasingly intimate dealings with His people. Thats why it is important to pay attention to where you are in the big story as you read through the Bible.
The Historical Books
Exile And The Restoration: Reading Order
Ezekiel: some of the mostamazingly descriptive and horrifyingly vivid visions in the entire Bible.Ezekiel spans the events leading up to and including the Exile as well as thefirst phase of the Restoration process.
Daniel 1-6: the accountof 4 young Hebrews drafted into the Babylonian court during the Exile and theconquest of the Babylonians by the Persians.
Ezra 1-6: the first phaseof the Restoration, where the Persian king allows Zerubabbel to return toJerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
Esther: an account of aHebrew girl that was chosen to marry the Persian king just in time to prevent aplan to annihilate the Jewish exiles. If it weren’t for Esther, Ezra andNehemiah would not have lived to lead the remainder of the Restoration process.
Ezra 7-10: the secondphase of the Restoration, where Ezra returns to Jerusalem to rally the people.
Nehemiah: the final phaseof the Restoration, led by Nehemiah who oversees the rebuilding of the wallsand fortifications around Jerusalem.
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About Henrietta C Mears
Henrietta C. Mears was one of the great Bible teachers of the twentieth century. As Christian education director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, she built one of the largest Sunday Schools in the world and wrote curriculum that was in such high demand that to publish it, she founded Gospel Light in 1933.
Prophecy And End Times
The Bible speaks considerably aboutfuture eventsin both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures .
Some events described in bothtestaments have been fulfilled, whereasothers events have yet to take place. Some prophecies are obvious in theirfulfillment, such as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, whereas it isnot as clear in other cases. As we read through the Bible, we should not overlyfocus on determining if a certain prophecy has been fulfilled or not, butrather try to learn what God is telling usthrough the words of the prophets. Here, we take a closer look at the books ofthe Bible that speak directly about end times. The readings are ordered so thatby the time we get to the final book of the Bible, we can better understand thevisions described in Revelation. You willnotice that Revelation unveils and explains many of the mysterious visions ofthe prophets, particularly Zechariah and Daniel.
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The Goal Of Studying Scripture Is To See The Savior
All lasting growth in the Christian life happens as a result of beholding Gods glory in the face of Jesus: we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another . Therefore, as we pursue spiritual growth, we do it by seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ .
We study the Bible to see Jesus more clearly. And as we behold Gods glory in Christ, we become like him. But this takes workwe labor to study the Bible to remove all our wrong conceptions of Christ. We study because we are discontent with a foggy vision of him.
The goal of studying Scripture is to see the Savior and become transformed by that satisfying sight of him.
Focus Point: Romans : 1
This section of Romans contains oneof the most lucid and sobering descriptions of mankind’s disposition towards evil. As we read throughchapters 5-7, we are struck to the heart because we feel that Paul is notdescribing himself but instead has somehow gotten into our heads and discoveredthe deepest secrets about ourselves that we have kept hidden from everyone else.
Try this exercise, re-read Romans7:7-25. At the end of verse 25, stop and breathe a heavy sigh of reliefimaginethat you’ve just finishing running a marathon and are so glad and relieved thatit is over. Then immediately read Romans 8:1-4. This passage is a breath of fresh airimagine it, the heaviness ofsin , and then the lightness and freedom of beingdone with itforever! That is how you shouldfeel as you read through Romans 8, light as a feather through your new-found freedom in Jesus Christ.
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Read The Entire Bible Sequentially At Least Once
Obviously, reading the entire Bible multiple times is ideal, but reading it through sequentially at least once is essential. This gives you a feel for the overall arc of Scripture.
As you study the Bible and read the Old Testament and New Testament, youll see the grand Creation -> Fall -> Redemption -> Recreation storyline.
If you want to learn how to read and study the Bible, reading at least once through the entire thing is tremendously helpful.
If you need help, there are loads of plans which can take you through the Bible in a year.
Want to know how to understand the Bible? Read the whole thing.
Bringing It All Together: Best Study Bible Recommendations
Now lets bring it all together. Given all the information above, what study Bible should you choose?
There are certainly going to be elements of preference involved in making your choice. Maybe your church uses one particular translation. Maybe you grew up reading and memorizing the NASB. Maybe you just like the way a particular translation feels.
Additionally, you may be a fan of Sproul or MacArthur or another expositor and want a Bible with study notes written by them.
The point is that youve got a lot of options.
When choosing, I would recommend using this formula :
Preferred Essentially Literal Translation + Interpretation Focused Study Bible + Contributions From Numerous Scholars = The Best Study Bible
I realize that this is an oversimplification, but I believe it gets to the heart of the matter.
What are some Bibles that fit this equation? Here are few:
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Focus Point: Genesis : 5
The depravityof mankind only further deteriorated since the days of Cain and Abel,until it was in such a state that God was grieved to the heartnot that God hasa heart like we do, but the author here isusing imagery that we can relate to in order to understand how God felt. Stop and think of that for amomentGod has feelings and emotion, such as grief and pain. That is an astonishingthought for most people, but it is true. This passage introduces the account ofNoah, who found favor with God and through whom God would remake the world andre-establish the human race through a catastrophic flood.
Ot Prophets To The Northern Kingdom
Most of the prophets spoke againstthe idolatries and wickedness in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Hoseaand Amos are two prophets whose message was directed solelyagainst the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Interestingly, Amos was aprophet in Judah at the time of his prophecy against Israel.
Hosea: a stingingindictment against the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Amos: judgment of Israelis at hand.
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