IT’S ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS refers to Jesus response to “one of the teacher’s of the law” in Matthew 22:34-35.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
The only way I know how to begin to love the God who created the universe and us, and how to begin to love people, is to begin to know and understand Him by reading Scripture.
I have for far too long . . . imagined, talked about, thought about, and today, it’s actually time to write. The aim of this blog is to challenge and hopefully inspire readers to want to explore the depth of the relationship that they could have with the God of the universe, mediated through Scripture.
Scripture is absolutely intimidating! But do you have even a hint of what treasure is held in its pages?? And how worth the effort what I call “sitting with God” is? It’s extraordinary!!
My immediate aim is to begin two conversations.
The first conversation will be for those who want to read Scripture but are not sure how to get started.
The second conversation will be about “sitting with God” using the chronological Bible I have used when I “sat with God” for the past 9 years. Only limited Scripture text will be available in the blog. Therefore, you may wish to buy your own Bible to follow along. The Bible we will be using is The Daily Bible In Chronological Order, 365 Daily Readings, New International Version, with Commentary by F. LaGard Smith. Since it is a chronological Bible, following in another Bible will be difficult.
As a courtesy, I emailed LaGard Smith to ask permission to use the chronological Bible he compiled in this blog. I was surprised and pleased when he responded and offered to comment when this blog was launched. Since he generously took the time and effort to comment, I have copied his comments from COMMENTS and inserted them below:
LaGard Smith says:
When Claire told me about beginning this blog, I was honored that she was reading and recommending The Daily Bible. If you have never read the Bible chronologically as the recorded events unfolded over the centuries, I believe you are in for a treat. What I think you will gain most is context, context, context. Perhaps the most helpful context is seeing the prophets inserted into the history of the kings when they actually prophesied. Or maybe it’s seeing the four Gospels rolled into one sequential account, so that there’s no scratching your head wondering if you’ve read this or that parable before! Perhaps it’s the context that is gained from having “sense paragraphs” throughout, instead of the text being divided arbitrarily into chapters and verses. (Of course, this will ruin all the fun for those who like to cherry-pick verses out of context in order to proof-text some doctrinal argument!)
As a matter of interest, it was my preacher father who came up with the idea. “Somebody ought to put the Bible in the right order, ” I remember him saying to me when I was about 14. When he died at the untimely age of 63, I decided I would try to do just that. Took me about five years–nights, weekends, and summers–in between my teaching law. Turned out to be a giant “cut-and-paste” job, easier in some respects than you might think since much of the context is given to us in the text. For the more difficult questions of chronology, I sought out the wisdom of biblical scholars. Along the way, the teacher in me couldn’t resist adding the narrative bits to bridge from one text to another. And the law professor in me couldn’t resist putting all the laws of Moses into one unified legal code. Maybe it was the neat-freak in me that decided to arrange the Proverbs by topic and the Psalms by theme. Overall, I think the package has been helpful to anyone who has ever wanted to read the Bible from cover to cover but gotten bogged down in mid-Leviticus.
Just a scholarly exercise, reading through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? Just a “Christian duty” to be into The Word each day? Just an ambitious New Year’s resolution to read through the Bible in a year (like finally mastering Tolstoy’s War and Peace)? Hardly. As Claire is urging each of her “blogees” to do, the whole idea is to carefully and prayerfully read what God has written to you and to me, telling us how we can have a relationship with HIM (try wrapping your mind around that profound thought!) and to have more fruitful relationships with each other. Can you think of a more worthwhile use of your time? Just imagine it: The MIND OF GOD right there in your own two hands, then somehow working it’s way into your inner being, then wondrously transforming your life…for an eternity. Wow!
Thanks, Claire. If celestial angels are God’s messengers sent to mankind, you are truly an earthly angel to all who will follow your lead in reading the Word.
Thank you LaGard for your very generous response, recorded above, sharing with someone you know only by an email request!
I attended a Bible College to get answers. I wanted, actually needed answers . . . badly! People in college were living life on a very different level than what I experienced. I wanted my life to be different! Despite being in church all my life, and trying as best I could to conform to what I believed I should; during Bible College I concluded that to “achieve the Christian life” that I yearned for, THE WAY was to read Scripture. On my way to “achieving the Christian life,” I found the Source of Life, God. So let me begin at the beginning. “Sitting with God,” means, sitting, in a quiet place, alone, with your Bible. That’s how you get started!
For those of you who yearn for a qualitatively different life; I challenge you to follow along and learn to “sit with God.” For those of you who want the larger challenge of reading through Scripture along with others, please join the conversation when you can. Remember, A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step! Come, journey with us! Grace and peace to you!