One way to start reading the Bible.

I’m working on a new ebook. It’s a collection of starting points for studying the Bible. We’re encouraged to read the Bible, to just start reading. But we don’t know how to start. So I want to offer some specific suggestions. Like this: 

Biography

We know the stories of the famous people in the Bible: David, Moses, Paul, Abraham. Often, we only know other characters by one word summaries of their life: “Doubting” Thomas comes to mind. But is there more to a person’s life than the adjective?

Pick one of these people and find everything you can about them from the Bible text itself. You may need to use an online Bible and search for their name. Make a list of everything you can find. Write the notes on pieces of paper you can arrange on a desk. Write on a big whiteboard. Give yourself space to see connections. And then think about what those details and stories reveal.

How much time is there between stories? What teaching or events come between the pieces?  What do we know about the person’s family situation? Who else do they know? Who are they related to? Who did they grow up with? What bits of conversation do we have? What do you wish you knew?

And then write a one paragraph character sketch.

“Lazarus never talks. In the Bible. Lazarus never says a word. He never takes sides in the Mary-Martha argument with Jesus. In fact, he never does anything except walk out of the tomb, and that’s only because Jesus told him to. Because of that simple action, there was a contract out for his life. But he went to a dinner anyway. And sat with Jesus.”

Here are some people to write about.

  1. Martha
  2. Joab
  3. John the Baptist
  4. Barnabas
  5. Thomas
  6. Andrew
  7. Philip the deacon

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I just realized that I should encourage you to pick up a copy of my Nehemiah book for beach reading. It’s in paper and on Kindle.

Oh, and if you know of a better title than 99 ways to start reading the Bible, please let me know.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.