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Bible Study Tip #5 – Getting to Know the Bigger Story

The Bible doesn’t read like a typical continuous or chronological story. It just isn’t organized that way and that can be very confusing when you start studying the Bible. Think of the Old Testament in three sections: The story (Genesis-Esther), wisdom and poetry (Job-Song of Songs) and the prophets (Isaiah-Malachi). If you read Genesis – 2 Samuel and then pick either 1-2 Kings or 1-2 Chronicles then read Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther you have read the chronological story of the Old Testament. The books that remain (wisdom, poetry and prophets) all fit back into the story at various places. David wrote many of the psalms. He is mainly in 1-2 Samuel. You will find many of the prophets in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

The New Testament is very similar in its organization. The story goes like this: pick one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and then read Acts. You have just read through the entire New Testament story. Paul’s letters fit back into the book of Acts in various places. You can find many of the cities Paul wrote to in his missionary journeys in Acts. The general letters (Hebrews-Jude) are less easy to connect back in and the communities they are writing to are far less obvious than for Paul. Revelation stands on its own as apocalyptic literature (apocalyptic is a fancy word for divine things revealed through visions).

Second, it is also important to know how to find the whole story. To do that I recommend using a children’s Bible. Don’t be embarrassed to pick one up and read it through cover to cover as many times as you need. This will give you the overarching story of the Bible. Then as you read back through the entire Bible or study various pieces of it you will more readily be able to connect the stories and where they fit into the bigger picture.

Bible Study Tip #2 Which Bible Translation Should I Use?

There are many English translations one can choose from. There are so many that Craig Blomberg remarked a few years ago in his book “Can We Still Believe the Bible” that publishers need to stop making new English translations until we have put more translations in other languages. I appreciate that position a great deal.Continue Reading

Recognizing the Reality of a Blue Christmas

I have known intellectually for a while now that not all Christmases are merry for all people. I have even preached that sermon on an occasion or two – to be sensitive to those who will have a hard time this Christmas. This is the time of year where a Christmas carol will make someContinue Reading

The Jesus Jersey

“You are the Messiah.” – Peter (Mark 8:29) Peter knew this much but he didn’t understand what that meant. It seems Peter had something in mind other than what Jesus had in mind when it came to defining the role of the Messiah. The Jewish people had been looking for a deliverer…a king. When theContinue Reading

Illustrating Why Verses Dropped Out of Newer Translations

A few years ago I did a number of posts on translations and manuscripts that generated a lengthy discussion. Occassionally I still get comments on a number of those posts. One recent comment came from Chris who wrote this, “Plus the NIV comes from Textus sinaiticus….And the KJV comes from Textus Receptus So I poseContinue Reading

Psalm 118 and the Last Song Jesus Sang Before His Death

As Jesus concluded the Passover meal with his disciples there is a verse that is nearly always left out of the readings when this is read in sermons and at the Lord’s Supper. The verse right after Jesus finishes instituting the Lord’s Supper is this, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out toContinue Reading

Improving Theological Discourse – My Neighbor is Not an Object

There are some circles where theological discourse is as healthy as ever while in other places people are rabid and vicious. Paul addressed this among the Galatian Christians in Galatians 5, “If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” (5:15). Right before that Paul wroteContinue Reading

Social Media and the New Responsibility

We live in the most technologically advanced time in the history of humanity. This is true of so many areas of life. It is especially true of communication.  It wasn’t that long ago when instantaneous communication was impossible. Before the telegraph you had to send a message via pigeon or horse or ship. Sailing coveredContinue Reading

Multiple Email Notifications for New Posts at Kingdom Living

This post serves two purposes. First, sorry about the multiple emails you have been receiving when new posts go up here at mattdabbs.com. I believe it is now fixed. The second purpose of the post is to test and see if it is actually fixed. Please bear with us! Thank you for your patience.

Enjoying Pepperdine Lectures 2016

The Pepperdine Lectures are over halfway over or maybe they are only halfway underway. I have been enriched by our time here so far. N.T Wright has done an amazing job. Fate Hagood’s keynote last night was timely and from my perspective was key in speaking into where Churches of Christ are today. I hopeContinue Reading

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