It’s a ‘story’ packed with tense drama, action, sex, deceit, miracles, and more.
Here’s a C.H.E.C.K. list of five benefits you can experience as you get acquainted with God’s ‘Story.’
“C” could be “Continue” or some other C-word – but I’ve chosen “Congratulations.” You deserve it.
This is a word of encouragement that acknowledges your accomplishment.
If you have been engaged in reading the Historical Backbone of the Bible, you have built an amazing foundation in your life. You’ve become more aware of God’s ‘Story’ and your place in that ‘Story’. That means you are:
Even if you haven’t yet engaged in the Historical Backbone of the Bible, if you’ve read the posts each week from the beginning, you will have gained a thumbnail sketch of what it’s about.
I expect that you are already experiencing some of the benefits of learning God’s ‘Story’ so you can live it more fully.
I understand that it takes at least three weeks to make a new habit. There are other ways in which we can create a desirable habit. One helpful article is “5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits that Stick.”
It may have taken you eight weeks or more to complete the Historical Backbone of the Bible.
In the first days or weeks, you likely needed to be very intentional about setting the time aside to read the Bible for each day. You probably needed the encouragement of your partner to keep going.
Now, without realizing it, you have established a new and beneficial habit.
Don’t lose that healthy habit. Keep at it!
In an earlier post I quoted Ed Stetzer, a research professor, who writes:
There is much research that shows the correlation between spiritual maturity and reading the Bible. In Brad Waggoner’s book The Shape of Faith to Come, which is based on a LifeWay Research study, and in George Guthrie’s Read the Bible for Life material, we see that reading the Bible is the best predictor of spiritual maturity. In other words, if you are in the Bible, you are growing spiritually.
Your new habit is contributing to your spiritual growth as you become more and more like Jesus.
Choose another section of the Bible to read. Perhaps it will be the Gospel of John or the Psalms or the Proverbs. Keep the habit – and be blessed as you immerse yourself in God’s ‘Story’!
We read that “every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another – showing us the truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 from The Message).
The Greek word rendered here as “shaped up” carries the meaning of being “fitted out” or “thoroughly equipped.”
Becoming immersed in God’s ‘Story’ not only informs, confronts, corrects, and encourages us, but also equips us for living a life useful for God, and pleasing to God.
The Bible is intended to be read, understood, and lived out in community. That is why those engaging in the Historical Backbone of the Bible are encouraged to read it with others for encouragement and accountability.
There are at least three communities involved.
First is the community of God. What I mean by this is that Scripture impacts our lives truly and deeply in company with the Spirit of God. One confirmation of this comes from the mouth of the Lord Jesus just before the sending of the Spirit: “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Second is the church. It is in this community of followers of Jesus that God’s people are prepared “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
Third is the world. This includes whatever community of humanity we find ourselves living in (i.e., place, time, and culture). It is here, in full view of our neighbors, that we are called to live out a life that is faithful to Jesus Christ and a blessing to others. Jesus is referring to this life when he says, “you are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
Engaging in God’s ‘Story’ strengthens your connections within community.
There are different ways of speaking about expertise.
On the one hand, we can mean an accumulation of facts. Examples of this include memorizing the multiplication table (i.e., 5 x 1 = 5; 5 x 2 = 10; etc.).
On the other hand, we can mean the application of information. For example, we can use the multiplication table to design and construct a bridge.
What we gain from reading the Bible should include both of these types of knowledge. As it is useful to know the multiplication table, so it is helpful to know the characters, events, and geography of the biblical ‘story.’ However, I think we would agree that kind of knowledge may help us win a game of Trivial Pursuit – but that’s not enough.
True knowledge of God’s ‘Story’ is intended to equip you to live all of life with God-honoring competence and joy!
So again, congratulations!
Where do we go from here?
I want to flesh out the historical backbone of the Bible. More on that next week.
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