We are privileged to live in a day in which there is an abundance of excellent resources to encourage biblical ministry. However, one gap that remains is in the area of small books to use with curious unbelievers or brand new believers. Matthias Media is doing their best to help fill the gap with their growing list of really thoughtful books. One new title that I read this week is called The Book of Books: A short guide to reading the Bible. If you are looking for a short and simple introduction to the Bible, either for yourself or someone else, then this may be just what you are looking for.
The book’s four chapters provide a clear and concise introduction to reading the Bible by answering some common questions:
- What makes the Bible unique in its ability to change lives?
- What is the Bible about and why is it important?
- What is the thought development of the Bible, its categories and progression of its theme.
- How do I begin reading the Bible?
In the fourth chapter, the author provides four ways not to read the Bible and six ways to approach it properly. Here’s a quick bullet point list, but the longer explanations in this chapter is worth the price of the book (only $5.99, by the way).
Don’t read your Bible…
- randomly: Avoid opening a page at random, scanning a few verses. You’ll miss the big picture and take ideas out of context.
- with fear: Don’t be daunted by the size of the Bible. Take it slowly, one step at a time.
- with yourself as the center: Remember, God (not you or me( is the one at the center of this story.
- with scissors and a red pen: Don’t be quick to dismiss the Bible when it sounds strange to your modern ears.
Instead, read your Bible…
- with a plan: (simple, helpful plans are provided in the book)
- with a partner: Reading with a friend, especially one who is a bit farther along than you are in understanding the Bible, is a really good idea.
- with patience and perseverance: Parts of the Bible sound strange and even wrong. Sticking with your study until you gain understanding based upon the whole message of the Bible will produce fruit.
- with personal reflection: The Bible does more than address issues, it speaks to me and you.
- with practical common sense: As you read the Bible and seek to understand it, simply use the normal tools of reading and comprehension.
- with prayer: The Bible describes a God who loves to hear from people who are genuinely seeking him.
If you are new to the Bible then this little resource will help you immensely. If you are familiar with the Bible, but are looking for a simple way to help a friend begin his or her journey, then you won’t be disappointed with The Book of Books.