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Yippee, I am ever closer to completing my reading goals early. I had a goal of reading 24 books throughout the year and being ill this past week gave me a chance to read 4 complete and finish two others that were "in progress". I just have to read
In fact, I've started already. It is something I've wanted to do for a long while but for some reason felt it was too big of a challenge. Of course I often read the Bible in different studies, but reading it from cover to cover is something different.
I recently came across a post on Fred Alton's blog about reading the Bible from cover to cover and decided to give it a try. He encouraged me to use audio bibles and to read along as I listen. I think this is going to work out great for me. I just love to hear the Bible read out loud by a rich, strong voice, like Max McLean on Bible Gateway. (If interested, you can google Max McLean on youtube and listen to him narrate the Gospel of Mark on video). I hope to read the Bible from cover to cover over the course of the year, but may actually finish much sooner. One thing I'm doing differently with the Bible reading is giving myself permission to do my reading and study late at night. I am a night owl so this will work better for me. Despite spending years trying to change my habits to study in the morning, I acknowledge that so far my efforts have not worked. It is better for me to find a way to work with the kind of person God made me.
I've also put a Bible App on my smartphone but seldom use it for more than reading a daily Bible verse because the phone uses so much battery before it needs charging. I try to save the battery for actual phone calls. I guess I really should use my Blackberry Playbook more often as I have the same app on there too. I tend to use the Playbook as a backup to my camera to take videos and photos and for downloading several books for back up reading material. I really should get some headphones to use with the Playbook and then I can sit in my living room and listen to and read the Bible.
In addition to reading the Bible, one of my goals is to study the Bible more consistently and systematically. I have many Bible studies and different books but I've been looking for just the "right ones". I think I've finally gathered together a few tools that will really help me and more importantly, tools that I will actually use.
One book is this, What the Bible Is All About, by Dr. Henrietta Mears. What I like about this book is that it has an overview of each book of the Bible to help you understand what you are going to read and to set it into context for you. It's a great Bible reference at just over 400 pages which is an average of 6 pages of information about each book of the Bible.
I also bought The Essential Bible Companion published by Zondervan. It has beautifully coloured maps and photos that help bring the Bible alive. It summarizes each book of the Bible in two short pages for those that want a concise description of each book. It was developed by two world-class Bible scholars and the creator of The Bible in 90 Days curriculum.
Ancient Israel, 2nd edition, was published in 1960. It is a concise, simply written account of the society that produced the Bible. The author traces the fluctuating fortunes of the Hebrews and Israelites between about 2000 and 300 B.C.E., so the reader can see how Jewish religious concepts developed in the context of actual historical situations.
These three books now form the core of my daily study and along with my daily readings, I am hoping to get deeper into what God has in store for me.
If you have particular Bible resources that really helped you, feel free to share them here.