Summer Series

Bible 101 – Week 1 (What, Where + How of the Bible)

Bible 101 – Week 1

Our first post is here! Our #livesaltedsummerseries has finally begun. We recommend finding a journal that you will use specifically for the series to keep all your notes together, inviting a friend to discuss all that you are learning, and rousing an eager spirit to wake up and get after this series. We promise, if you are fully tuned in and active during these next 8 weeks – by the end your faith and understanding of Jesus will be at a whole new level. Without further ado, let’s get to it!


What is the Bible? What do I read? How do I read it?

Between the overview, teaser, and my letter to you, I hope you have worked up an appetite!  I can’t wait to jump in and experience all the Bible has to offer together!  We have asked you to dig into John 6:35 and dissect it on your own over the past few days, so if you haven’t yet, pause for a moment and reflect on this verse, read over my thoughts, and answer the questions below:

Memory Verse #1:

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To get your screen savor downloads for John 6:35 click here ->  Iphone Desktop <- they are amazing!

Thoughts:

That little word “go” changes everything about this scripture. Jesus does not promise you won’t get hungry, but that you won’t GO hungry. When you come to Him, your thirst will be quenched, surely, but not permanently. His goal is for you to return again and again to the well of living water that He claims to be.

Questions:

  • What things do you thirst and hunger for? {significance, purpose, community, intimacy, clarity, safety, comfort, freedom, wealth, popularity}
  • Where do you go to feast – to get your sense of contentment?
  • Where do you go to drink – to get that sense of refreshment? Is it a temporary well or is it eternal?

I hope you are hungry today. Jesus says that HE IS the BREAD of Life {John 6:35}. He also claims to be the Logos, the Word of God {John 1:1}. The Bible talks about itself being the WORD of God {Psalm 19:7­11}. Thus, this is the feast that the Lord has prepared for us. {Curious more about the Bible being the Word of God? Check this out}


What is the Bible?

How many of you have ever been to a buffet? Were you super overwhelmed? Didn’t know what to eat or where to start or what the food even was? Seized by indecision!?

Some of you may feel this same way about the Bible, because no doubt there is A HUGE buffet in there!

So let’s just start with 2 easy points to get us going:

  1. The Bible is a library, not a novel.Bibleisalibrary

    Just like a library, inside the Bible you can find all different types of literature. There are laws and family trees, records, intricate architectural plans, documentation of epic battles and miraculous stories. There is poetry {Song of Songs} and prayer {Psalms} and wisdom {Proverbs}, multiple books of prophecy and also a collection of epistles {letters} to groups of people and to individuals. The Bible is made up of 66 books, written by over 40 human authors, spanning 16 centuries, inspired by ONE LIVING God, the master Librarian. Crazy.

Think about this: Would I walk into a library needing wisdom on a career path, randomly “point and shoot”, pick up Frankenstein, and expect that it would serve my needs? I would no doubt be very frustrated that the library, which boasts so much knowledge, did not deliver! Likewise, it is a little silly to randomly open the Bible and think that whatever I read will speak to my current situation. It is important to know what is in there!

2. The Bible is God’s word TO us, but it is not all ABOUT us.

We must be cautious to not have an egocentric view of scripture. Not every verse is about you and your recent break up. The Bible is a big window through which to see JESUS. While God most definitely wants to speak to us, the subject of scripture is not us – it is Him! And the beautiful promise here is that when we grow in our knowledge and love for Jesus, we will find our true selves.

3. The Bible is an epic story of God’s creation, pursuit and love for us.

As followers of Jesus, it is our privilege and responsibility to become bible­ literate. The Bible is the one book that truly is living and active (Heb 4:12), and digging deep into it is the adventure of a lifetime. Inside its pages are adventure, intrigue, mess, redemption, glory and even though the text is ancient- we are still living out similar stories every day of our lives. {Note! A wonderful resource that helps piece together the arc of scripture is God Enter’s Stage Left.}


Got it…. now what do I read?

The Bible is broken up into two parts:

Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures): This is the first 39 books of the Bible which are rich in history, poetry, wisdom literature, law and prophecy; they focus on the Jewish people {through whom God chose to communicate and give His precious promises} and set the stage for the coming of Jesus and all that He is doing in present day.

New Testament: This is the last 27 books in the Bible begin with the four gospels {detailing the life of Jesus and his teaching}, continue on to share the history of the early church, and include 21 epistles, or letters, to individuals and churches that speak to living out the invitation to follow Jesus, finishing with Revelation – a symbolic foretelling of end times.

While I love the entire word of God, and want us to be women that recognize that the entire New Testament hinges on the promises made of God throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, I am going to submit that for our purposes, you start in the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John {the first four books of the NT}. These books are all about Jesus’ life; He is the visible image of the invisible God {Col 1:15} and a man whose character and tone are to be sought after above all else.

The Gospels

I want you to think of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as kind of like CNN, NBC, FOX and the BBC. They are all news stations reporting on the same story but with different perspectives and audiences.

  • Matthew: a disciple of Jesus who writes for a primarily Jewish audience.
  • Mark:  a little boy when Jesus was at the height of his ministry {his mom hosted one of the first churches in Jerusalem in her home}; this gospel is action oriented and reads most like a story.
  • Luke: a detail oriented doctor who sought first hand accounts from eyewitnesses in the first century.  He was hired by a rich politician who wanted to know if what he heard about Jesus was all really true. It is the most chronological and historical.
  • John: a disciple of Jesus who was among Jesus’ closest friends. He writes persuasively and poetically about the deity of Jesus and starts at creation rather than the beginning of Jesus’ life.

Okay… I decided what to read, but now how do I read it?

Just like a good, juicy lobster, you need some tools to get in there and mine out the good stuff. There are a variety of tools to do this, and not one of them is the right way, so over the coming weeks, I am going to throw numerous tools, questions, and methods at you, in hopes that you find one {or several} that fit your style of reading and understanding.

Whatever technique you decide to adopt at the end of this series, I believe prayer should be incorporated in them all. It is an essential element before you begin any study of Scripture. The very same God you speak to is the One who inspired the words you are going to read. Talk to Him! Ask Him to open your eyes and ears, and to fully soak in all that He wants to reveal to you through his Word. He can give you insight! Ask Him to bring to life what you are about to read and help you through it. Maybe for your first few times digging into the Scriptures, try this prayer:

 

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Now that we are prepped and in-line with our Father, it is time to dig into the word. Our first tool is called SOAP.

Tool #1

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SOAP, as well as all of the tools to come, take time and practice to learn how to use them well. You are going to have questions, and you are going to be confused at times, but keep doing it; it will pay off!

Challenge #1

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Your challenge for this week is to practice the SOAP method. Go through Matthew 14:22-36//Mark 1:28-39//John 21, and do all four parts of SOAP. Take your time with this, it isn’t something you want to rush. At the end of going through them all, ask God if He has any final thoughts for you.

Sit still.

Listen.

Keep your pen in hand, and just jot down anything that pops into your mind. Even if it is a list of what you need to do!

Be careful not to judge thoughts as spiritual or not; that very to-do list that sprung into your brain as you did your study {and seemed like a distraction!} might have a task on it that will position you in front of a particular individual who will be the answer to your prayer. {I often make a little box in the corner of my page where I “deposit” the random things that pop in my head so they don’t take up space or keep me long from my study.} You never know what God has up His sleeve.

Final Thoughts 

You will find that the more time you spend in the Bible, the more God will bring to mind words you have studied. Marinate in them throughout the week. And as you revisit them, more and more layers will be peeled away. When I was young in my desire to know the Word, I felt SO very overwhelmed. There was so much in there and I knew very little and tried and failed miserably to plow through scripture and just get it all in me. I would get so burnt out, and what began as a divine thirst crashed and burned in a failed and crumpled checklist and a tired heart.

Pace yourself.

You have eternity to search the heart of this God.

Yet, I will affirm that there is an urgency to knowing Him such that you do not want to put it off.

My amazingly witty and thoughtful husband Marshall gave me the analogy once of scripture as a glorious bay in Hawaii. He told me that I was often skimming across the beauty and vastness in a speed boat, and while it was beautiful and exciting – I was unable to capture it all.  God was begging me to slow down, press my face against the floor of a glass bottom boat instead, and to search the depths of the ocean with all its colors, variety of life, and glorious movement. How much more memorable, awe inspiring, and rich would that be!

“Be still, and know that I am God,” He says.

So slow down. Don’t rush the process. Enjoy it, and remember that every moment spent with God is a moment well spent.

Week Recap

This week we looked at what exactly the Bible is and isn’t, how the gospels are a great place to start reading, and how you can apply the tool of SOAP to dig deeper into the text.

Just as a reminder, we have a #livesaltedsummerseries challenge going on with our Challenge Chart. Make sure you have printed it off, and mark off the things you do each week. Our first giveaway will be at the end of next week (7/22) choosing our winner from the #livesaltedsummerseries hashtag! So share photos of your series journey on Facebook and Instagram and remember to tag us @livesalted.

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Until Next Time

My dear friend, as I said before, you are here for a reason. God has a divine appointment for you now, and everyday moving forward. Be of courage, and do not “should” all over yourself. 🙂 If you have any questions or comments, write them below or shoot me an email.

Be here, ­the King is wild for you. Psalm 45:11

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