One way to read the Bible is to read it like a novel to see the larger picture of God’s story as opposed to studying specific passages, word origins, or prophecies from the Old Testament connected to the New. If you’re new to reading the Bible, starting with detailed strategies like that can get you lost in the weeds. You might consider purchasing a copy of The Story, which strips the Bible of chapters and verses, presenting it much like a novel. When you read the Bible this way, you see more clearly how God has always desired to be with us.
One of my favorite approaches to reading this way doesn’t involve reading at all. Instead, I listen to it. There are many audio Bible products. A ministry called Faith Comes By Hearing (www.faithcomesbyhearing.com) has provided more than four hundred audio versions of the Bible that you can download free of charge. When I jump on my mountain bike for a long trail ride, I pop in my earphones and listen to the Bible like I would listen to a novel. Not only does my workout go by quickly, but I’m literally absorbing God’s Word. Abiding with Him.
One weekend when Michelle and the kids were out of town, I had to paint the largest room in our house. As I painted, I listened to the entire Old Testament… twice. What a wonderful, crazy story about God. It gave me a whole new appreciation of how God prepared the world for Jesus and how His plan for the world is predestined and gradually unfolding. What a boost in confidence about God’s love for all of us.
Back in my college days, I had a friend who loved to bet on college football. In one of his weaker moments, he arranged a deceitful hundred-dollar wager with another guy on campus on a game that had already been played, but was not airing on ESPN until later that night. The person who took his bet had no idea the game had already been played. At the half, my friend’s team was down by twenty-seven points. The guy he bet against was jumping up and down with excitement while my friend remained calm, knowing his team would eventually rattle off thirty unanswered points in the second half.
Setting aside my friend’s temporary lapse in morality, can you see how knowing how the story ends gives us peace even when things unravel in the middle? That’s what happens when we understand the larger arc of God’s story and we are sure of the ending. No matter what crazy stuff is going on in our lives, we can remain calm and at peace — even joyful.
Excerpted with permission from The Joy Model by Jeff Spadafora, copyright Jeffrey Scott Spadafora.
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God’s great gift to us beyond the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is His Word. He left us His story, His promises, history, poetry, and prophecy in a collection of 66 books so that we could know His heart and find joy! Come share your thoughts with us about the joy of God’s Word on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily