The Old Testament: Thirty-nine books. One big story. Many well-intentioned Christians and seekers have set about to read it through but find they get lost somewhere around the first or second genealogy. Others venture as far as the middle of Exodus and get lost in the Law and shut down. Whether you have crashed in Genesis or Exodus or been a champ and made it all the way through, "The Big Story of the Old Testament" is for you!
IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT! "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable" (2 Tim. 3:16). When those words were penned, the only known Scripture was the Old Testament. There is much to learn about who God really is, what He can do and what He has done. The OT clearly show us God's power, holiness, and yes, even His grace. It is impossible to have a full understanding of who God is and how gracious He is without knowing the Old Testament. As we journey through the pages we will see what God can do--even with imperfect people! We will also see how God expects His people to possess a believing loyalty and walk faithfully with Him.
TWO PATHS TO CHOOSE: We are offering two ways for our church family to read through: 1) The CORE Plan: Reading every word of the OT is a daunting task. This reading plan is designed to hit the high points of the Old Testament, the great events that every believer should know. Much of the New Testament cannot be understood without them. This is not to say the rest of the Old Testament is unimportant; all the details are. However, for a first read-through these are the essential chapters. If you want to get a grip on the Big Story without drowning in details, this is it! 2) The MORE Plan: For the more ambitious who want to read the whole Old Testament, this is a 35 week reading plan that covers every chapter. We LOVE that you are asking for this! PLEASE NOTE: EVERYONE needs a copy of the CORE plan. The chapters listed on the CORE are the ones that will be discussed each week in our men's and women's Bible studies. Week 1's reading is set to start on 7 September. The discussion for Week 1 will be on 13/14 September and will cover Genesis 1-3 and 6-9.
BIBLE STUDY DISCUSSION Our Bible studies will be focused on making sure we understand the BIG picture and the MAIN message of the chapters. Most believers see the OT like a box full of puzzle pieces. For some, there are some connected pieces or the border is put together, but the big picture and the details are missing. We want to make sure we understand the picture better when we are done than where we are right now. To that end, we are engaging in a chronological approach to our reading. We will be reading through in the order the events happened, rather than the order of the books in the Bible. Most people come away from this approach with a "Eureka" kind of feeling. Our men's and women's Bible studies are a great opportunity to gain insights, ask questions and grow together!
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS
READ or LISTEN: You may not enjoy reading. The great news is there are several websites like biblegateway.com or apps like YouVersion Bible that will read to you. Just make sure if you are listening that listening is the only thing you are doing. Don't let it be noise in the background; focus on the Word. Some like to listen while they read. It's a good practice to help keep the mind from wandering.
MEASURE SUCCESS WEEK BY WEEK: Face it--life will get "lifey." Something will happen and you will not get all the reading done some weeks. Many people undertake a Bible reading plan, fail one week and never get back on the reading train. You might miss some things one week, but don't let one bad week wreck the whole journey. Pick back up the next week as though nothing happened. If you have time to go back and catch up, great! If not, don't be discouraged. If you nail it more weeks than not, this will still be a rewarding journey.
DO IT WITH OTHERS. You will get FAR more out of this in you are talking with others about what we are reading. Their insights may be the "aha" moment you needed. Your insights just might be their "aha"! We all need accountability and encouragement when undertaking a big, worthwhile task. Our Men's and Women's Bible Studies are the natural starting point to doing it with others. If you cannot make one of the times, reach out to Pastor Randy about another time or see if you can put together your own group. Maybe this is a good opportunity for your family to read and talk about the Word together. (Don't be afraid of your kids asking you a question you don't know. Tell them, "That's a great question. Let me get back to you." Ask around the church family and find them the answer).
BE READY FOR BIBLE STUDY.
Be ready to re-tell the stories of the week (maybe practice with your children). As you are reading, think about the following questions and be ready to share with the group:
What does this teach me about God? (who He is, what He can do, how He feels about something)
What does this teach about sin?
Did the people act in a way that pleased or displeased God?
What do I need to change in my own life because of what I just read?
Whether you are excited or intimidated, we hope you will join in the journey with us. It won't be the same without you. Your life and walk with the Lord will be richer because you did.