While the heart of the Bible is Jesus, the bones of the Bible can help us find our way to him.
But in this age of Bible apps and tablets and iPads, just how well do we know the bones of our Bible? When we can type in the verse notation or do a word search, is there any reason to memorize the books of the Bible anymore?
Why learn the bones?
1. See the big picture
Without knowing the overall skeleton, you can lose sight of the central theme of God’s consistent love that holds the stories together. When you work a jigsaw puzzle, you look at the picture on the box first and often, then you can more easily put the pieces in the right place.
2. Delight in details
But while the Bible is one big love story about God, it’s also a series. Many smaller stories are captured in its 66 individual books. Each story holds value. By keeping books in context (Song of Solomon is a book of poetry; Ezekiel is a major prophet), you can more accurately interpret what you’re reading and can better apply it to your life.
3. Look for help
Once you know the overall purpose of each book, you can look more efficiently for specific helps. If you have a friend in deep mourning, direct her to the Psalms for comfort. Or if you’re struggling with a child’s rebellion, turn to Proverbs for wisdom. Be prepared for opportunities to share Jesus through your knowledge of his truths.
4. Use it easier
The more familiar you are with the books (Luke come before Acts), the easier it is to find your way around. You’ll be less frustrated when looking up verses to share and you’ll waste less time in your studies.
5. Find your story
Will you be more Christ-like by memorizing the books of the Bible? Nope. But the more you know the book, the more you’ll discover—and love—about the Author. And you’ll realize he’s inviting YOU to be a part of his story as well.
Where to start
Begin with the big bones. Learn how men have set up the library: two main divisions (Old and New Testaments), which are subdivided into smaller sections (books of Law, books of History, etc). While these are man-made categories, they’re still helpful in interpreting that poetry books are more metaphorical, for example, and that Pauline epistles are more practical.
Then, if you haven’t already, memorize all 66 books. It’s not too late, regardless of how old (or young) you are. And it’s not that difficult (music helps greatly!).
To go deeper, review a summary from each book; read more about the approximate 40 authors; put a timeline together.
God breathed life into the people in our Bibles. As we read about them, we learn about him. And the Word becomes flesh again in us.
Some of my favorites:
Bible Gateway – a searchable online Bible in over 100 versions
E-Sword - free downloadable Bible study software
Do Not Depart’s top 10 online Bible study tools
66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb
What the Bible Is All About for Young Explorers based on the classic by Dr. Henrietta Mears
Reproducible Maps, Charts, Time Lines & Illustrations by Gospel Light
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Do you have a favorite Bible study resource?
REVISED FOR THE ARCHIVES
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT DO NOT DEPART