Monday, April 6, 2020

31. Welcome To Your Bible

Welcome To Your Bible: Reading and Study Helps, Whatever Your Experience Level. George W. Knight. 2020. Barbour Books. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Christian nonfiction]

First sentence: Welcome to your Bible—whether you’re brand-new to the faith or you just know you need to dig deeper. Christian growth is based on a clear understanding of God’s Word, so Welcome to Your Bible is designed to help you read and understand scripture. This book combines a variety of features that will guide you systematically through the Bible, providing helpful background information on people, places, and things, as well as explanations of confusing words, ideas, or practices.

The premise of this one is super-simple:
"Welcome to Your Bible is based on a one-year reading plan that divides the Bible into 365 segments, each taking approximately 15 to 20 minutes to read. These Bible portions are then summarized to enhance your memory of the passages, and dictionary-style entries elaborate on the important characters and other details of the passage you read. When the Bible passage includes an unusual concept or practice, a brief article provides the necessary historical context for understanding."
I would recommend this one to anyone who genuinely wants to read through the Bible cover to cover, perhaps in a year--perhaps a little longer. It is organized around a Bible-In-A-Year reading plan. But if you don't stick to the schedule, well, who is really going to know?!

There is a summary for every single chapter of the Bible--sometimes broken down into passage summaries of chapters.

There are introductions to the sections and genres of Scripture.

After the daily summaries, additional helps are included to help readers understand the context of what they've just read. The helps might focus on key people, key places, key words, key concepts or themes. Occasionally these helps are more expansive and become more of an article than a definition.

I would definitely recommend this one. I enjoyed reading it!

Example of chapter summaries:

  • Genesis 22:1–14 God tests Abraham’s faithfulness, but Abraham is prevented from sacrificing his son Isaac. 
  • Genesis 22:15–19 God renews His promise to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation (Gen. 12:1–2). 
  • Genesis 22:20–24 Abraham’s relatives are listed. 
  • Psalm 1 Blessed is the person who walks in accordance with the Word of God (Prov. 4:14). 
  • Psalm 2 A messianic psalm that declares that God’s ultimate rule over the world will be established by His Son. 
  • Psalm 3 God is a shield who protects the believer in troublesome times. This psalm was written by David when he fled from the rebellion of his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15–16). 
  • Psalm 4 God hears the prayers of believers and grants peace and rest in the dark experiences of life. Psalm 5 The Lord will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. 
  • Psalm 6 A prayer for God to show mercy to thepsalmist and to punish his enemies. 
  • Psalm 7 This psalm focuses on righteousness. David wants God to know that he has lived a righteous life. He asks God to deliver him from wicked enemies. 
  • Psalm 8 As he meditates on the wonders of God’s physical creation, the psalmist realizes that man is weak and insignificant. But God has placed him in a position of honor and glory. 
  • Psalm 9 A psalm of praise for the mercy and graceshown by theLord to the nation of Israel. The psalmist also declares that God will punish the pagan nations. 
  • Psalm 10 The wicked are persecuting and cheating the poor. The psalmist calls on the Lord to rise to their defense.

Examples of additional helps:

Creation The actions of God through which He brought man and the physical world into existence. God existed before the world, and He produced the universe from nothing (Gen. 1:1–2). As the sovereign, self-existing God, He also rules over His creation (Ps. 47:7–9).
Adam The first man. Created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27), Adam was an upright and intelligent being (Gen. 2:19–20)—the first worker (Gen. 2:8, 15) and the first husband (Gen. 2:18–25). He received God’s law (Gen. 2:16–17) and knowingly sinned, along with Eve (Gen. 3:6). Their sin resulted in broken fellowship with the Creator (Gen. 3:8) and brought God’s curse (Gen. 3:14–19) and eviction from Eden (Gen. 3:22–24). Adam fathered Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1–2), Seth (Gen. 4:25), and other children (Gen. 5:3–4). He died at age 930 (Gen. 5:5). As head of the human race, Adam introduced sin into the world. He represents the lost and dying condition of all unrepentant sinners (Rom. 5:12–19; 1 Cor. 15:22). But Christ, referred to in the NT as the “second Adam,” offers deliverance from the curse of sin and death (Rom. 5:14–19; 1 Cor. 15:22).
Eve The name given by Adam to his wife as the mother of the human race (Gen. 3:20). Fashioned from one of Adam’s ribs, she was created to serve as his helpmate and companion (Gen. 2:18–23). Because of her sin and rebellion, Eve was to experience pain and sorrow, especially in connection with the birth of children (Gen. 3:16).
Fall of Man A phrase that refers to Adam and Eve’s state of sorrow and misery that followed their sin and rebellion against God (Gen. 2–3). Their original sin has afflicted the human race ever since (Rom. 3:23)—a condition cured only by the atoning death of Christ (Rom. 5:6).
Covenant An agreement between two people or groups, particularly the agreement between God and His people that promised His blessings in return for their obedience and devotion (Gen. 15). Through His sacrificial death, Jesus became the mediator of a new covenant, bringing salvation and eternal life to all who trust in Him (Heb. 10:12–17).
Tabernacle A tent or portable sanctuary built in the wilderness at God’s command as a place of worship for the Israelites (Exod. 40:1–8). It was also called the Tent of Meeting because it was considered a placeof encounter between God and His people. The tabernacle foreshadowed Christ’s incarnation when “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Holy of Holies The sacred innermost sanctuary of the temple and tabernacle, containing the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat, which only the high priest could enter. Even he could go in only one day a year on the Day of Atonement, when he made a special sacrifice for the sins of the people (Heb. 9:2–3, 7). Holy Place: nrsv.
Altar A platform, table, or elevated structure on which sacrifices were placed as offerings. Altars were originally made of earth or rocks (Exod. 20:24–25), but they evolved into more sophisticated structures after the construction of the tabernacle (Lev. 9:24). Pagan Canaanite altars were often called “high places” because they were built on hills or high platforms (Num. 33:52).
Sabbath The Jewish day of worship and rest, established when God rested after the six days of creation (Gen. 2:1–3). The fourth of the Ten Commandments calls for the Sabbath to be observed and “kept holy” (Exod. 20:8). The Pharisees placed restrictions on Sabbath observance that prohibited acts of mercy or necessity (Mark 2:23–24). But Jesus declared that “the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The OT Sabbath fell on the seventh day of the week, or our Saturday. Most Christian groups observe Sunday as the day of worship because of Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2).
Transgression A violation of God’s law that may be personal (1 Tim. 2:14), public (Rom. 5:14), or premeditated (Josh. 7:19–25). Transgression produces death (1 Chron. 10:13) and destruction (Ps. 37:38), but it may be forgiven by confession (Ps. 32:1, 5) through the atoning death of Christ (Isa. 53:5–6).
Omnipotence The unlimited and infinite power that belongs to God. This characteristic of God’s nature is expressed by His names almighty (Gen. 17:1) and omnipotent (Rev. 19:6). God controls nature (Amos 4:13) and the destiny of nations (Amos 1–2). God’s omnipotence is also expressed by the Holy Spirit’s power to convict and save (Rom. 15:19).
Omniscience The infinite knowledge of God. The all-wise and all-knowing God requires no counselor (Isa. 40:13–14). Christ is the key who opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2–3). God’s Spirit reveals the “deep things of God” to those who are spiritually receptive (1 Cor. 2:10–14).
Imputation To transfer something to another person. Adam’s sin was imputed to all persons (Rom. 5:12). Our iniquity was laid on Jesus (Isa. 53:5–6),and He bore our sins (John 1:29). Jesus, the “second Adam,” imputed grace and righteousness to all who put their trust in Him (Rom. 5:17–19).
Messiah The title given by the Jewish people to a future leader whom they expected to restore their honor and glory after delivering them from their oppressors (Dan. 9:25–26). Jesus fulfilled their longing but in an unexpected way by becoming a spiritual Savior who delivered believers from sin (Rom. 6:1–9). Messias: Greek form (John 1:41; 4:25). Anointed one: niv.
Immutability An attribute of God’s nature that refers to His unchangeableness (Mal. 3:6). The unchangeable nature of Christ assures us that God’s mercy is constant (Heb. 13:8). God, who cannot lie, offers an anchor of hope for all believers, who are the “heirs of promise” (Heb. 6:17–19). God’s Book of Remembrance A book of remembrance was written before him [God] for them that feared the Lord (Mal. 3:16).
Kingdom of God The spiritual reign of God in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:20–21). Partially attained in this life for those who seek God’s will, God’s kingdom will be fully established in the world to come (John 18:36). Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Mark 1:14) and taught His disciples to seek His kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and to pray for its arrival on earth (Matt. 6:10). Unrepentant sinners cannot inherit this kingdom (Eph. 5:5). It is reserved for those who repent (Matt. 3:2) and experience spiritual rebirth (John 3:3–5). Other phrases for this kingdom are “kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 4:17) and “kingdom of Christ” (Col. 1:13).
Justification The act or event when God both declares and makes a person just or right with Him (Rom. 4:25; 5:9). Justification is not accomplished by personal merit or good works (Gal. 2:16) but by God’s grace through personal faith in Christ (Rom. 5:18; Eph. 2:8–9). To be justified is to have peace with God and hope for eternity (Titus 3:5–7).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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