The same problem that many people have with the Bible they also have with history. Many people find history boring, and the Bible is largely a history book. This disinterest is often due to how history is taught and the lack of associative application to one’s life.
History is taught with a broad spectrum. It is largely an overview-the whole encapsulated in a single book that becomes required reading. Learning of history becomes an attempt to regurgitate facts onto a test so that we can promptly forget it. The Bible is treated the same way, all too often, by Christians, pastors, and Bible teachers. The reading of it becomes an exercise in duty and insistence. We insist people read it, and it becomes a chore, a duty to perform.
But God didn’t intend the Bible to be a chore. He intended it to be a manual of life. And life, last I checked, is something that most people are interested in. An English teacher of mine-a non-believer-once summed up the Bible as the greatest literary book ever written. I agree. The Word of God holds answers-answers to the mysteries of life.
I think that in all of us is an instinct to want to solve mysteries. If we were all standing in a room with four exits and I announced, “You can go out that door, that one, and that one, but not that one.” Which door would you suddenly be interested in? Obviously, you would be interested in the door that you aren’t allowed to go through, because it contains a mystery. The others do not.
This is how I read history. I read it to discover answers and solve mysteries. I take a thread and follow it through an era of history instead of reading a summary or an overview.
Let’s use the Civil War as an example. Instead of reading one book full of names, dates, and places, I find someone I’m interested in, someone that holds a bit of mystery to me. Like J.E.B. Stuart, a confederate cavalry officer with a flamboyancy that is intriguing. I would just read about him from start to finish. In following this single thread, it would intersect with other people, other places, and other events. One of them will invariably interest me. I may take up that new thread. Eventually, I get a lot of Civil War history by following interesting threads.
Go to the Bible the same way. When you follow a specific thread through the Bible, you will stay interested, intrigued, and excited as you try to solve a mystery, or find out what happens. If you have a Bible question, first try to solve it yourself. Use it as the basis for your thread. Follow it where ever it may take you through the Scriptures. You may be able to find the answer to your question with a simple internet search, but that defeats the purpose. Follow the thread yourself. Discover for yourself the relevance, meaning, and purpose behind every word in the Bible.
Some would say that this is simply what a Bible study is. It is and it isn’t. A Bible study often has as its aim to gain more knowledge. Something, by the way, we all ought to strive for. What I am describing doesn’t have as its aim the accumulation of knowledge so much as the solving of a mystery. You’ll gain knowledge, no doubt, but trying to solve the mystery is where the excitement and intrigue will be.
Here are some ideas of threads you might want to consider following. They all have elements of mystery about them.
- Where did all the races come from if we are all descended from Adam and Eve?
- How was it possible to live so long before the flood?
- Follow the Birthright from Adam to Jesus.
- Trace Jesus’ ancestry and discover who is directly related to Jesus. It will shock and surprise you.
- Why is the genealogy in Matthew 1 different from Luke 2?
- What is the blood relationship or family connection between King David and Joab, Abishai, Amasa, Jonadab, Asahel, Ahithophel, Zeruiah, and Talmai king of Geshur? This will surprise you.
- Figure out who was still alive at the same time other people were in the book of Genesis. People lived a long time back then, and when the story switches to someone else, the previous person is often still alive.
- About what time frame, chronologically, did Job live?
- Why did God choose the Israelites as His people when they were so rebellious, stiff necked, and eventually would crucify Jesus on the cross?
- Try to pin-point the Rapture (second coming of Jesus) in the book of Revelation.
- Try to place every chapter in chronological order.
These are a few threads that will take you all over the place in the Bible. You’ll read a lot of Bible trying to solve these mysteries. Yes, you can most likely find someone else’s answers to these mysterious by a causal search on the internet. But you would miss the entire point.
Find out for yourself. Take a thread, and try to solve the mystery. When I am trying to figure something out, I read a lot of Bible. I don’t find it boring. I find it intriguing, interesting, and enlightening.
To learn more, or to get the Author’s book, Fitly Spoken, a book on developing communication and social skills for relationships, visit: www.fitlyspoken.org