I always wanted to have a good overview of the bible and to be able to slot everything into place. Otherwise, you can hear and understand isolated stories like David and Goliath or letters to certain churches in the New Testament but not see how all these hinge together.
And not just historically, but spiritually, and being able to see how God’s ways are timeless with the careful thread of Jesus Christ running through the Word of God. The Word made all earth in Genesis, and a new heaven and earth will come under Christ’s rulership at the end in Revelation.
I used to think it would be nice to go to a bible college or do a distance learning course. Or at least a reading-the-Bible-in-a-year pattern, which I’d tried many years ago but still struggling to thread everything together.
However, end the Lord led me in 2017 to begin taking his Word in its simplest form more seriously and actually reading and studying directly, which led me to get stuck into reading the whole bible.
Therefore here’s a quick post on the three simple things that practically helped me with this. Now, these might not necessarily be for everyone, well apart from the first one, that is, as we’re all wired differently, and therefore, the way we learn will vary. But this is a good start, to let the Holy Spirit then lead you in your own serious bible-study plan.
1. Watching David Pawson’s Unlocking the Bible Videos
And for me, David Pawson has been one of those. Nowadays, an old-school bible teacher with a great series for the nineties going through each book of the bible in turn.
Although he wrote a book, these are all on YouTube now as separate videos on his Unlocking the Bible theme, ranging from just one to several videos per book of the bible depending upon how much is involved.
I’ve actually listened to them in the car whilst driving rather than watching them, as this is when I’ve had the most time to hand, and when I’m driving, I can drift off into thought. However, you have to watch out for then missing the next part because you were still meditating on the last one!
Now I don’t actually believe in the doctrinal position of David Pawson on a few things, but in fact, that’s not why I’m listening to him.
He really helps provide a wide overview of the Bible's book, with some historical and geographical information. He then details the characters and people involved and how it links to the general thread of God’s plan in the rest of scripture. He also helps nicely summarise things in various points and lists; if you’re wired that way, it’s right up your street.
In terms of how I took the information in, I occasionally took notes, but I actually ended up listening to the same series a second time as a great way to take in other things that were missed the first time. I also found this helpful before I even read the book to get that wider framework; however, I think he advises people to read before listening to him.
2. Reading the Bible
Yes, that simple, really. Just read each book of the bible yourself.
Translation-wise, I began with the New King James but ended up with the King James Version. Although this is harder going with older-style writing and grammar, as a separate issue, I realised the importance of the purity of translation of the King James without the subtle changes over time in the newer translations.
I also read it prayerfully as it should be read anyway as part of daily devotions. This isn’t an intellectual exercise, although we are trying to get that bigger-picture understanding here, but literally the Word of God, and therefore take your time and let the Holy Spirit bring it to life for you.
Once you do, you’ll find you want more.
3. Final Visual Overview
There’s a great website called The Bible Project, which shows a five to a ten-minute video of each book of the bible along with other various themes.
The creators there is a genius in making complicated things simple. They manage to rattle down a whole bible book in this time period by not only talking about the main issues but sketching them as a sort of caricature drawing board.
Sometimes there can still be a lot to take in but go over the video again.
I’d then take notes as I watch after firstly brain-dumpling thoughts on the book that I’ve already picked up from the earlier Pawson videos or reading the book of the bible myself.
The Bible’s Bigger-Picture
Hopefully, these pointers will help you; to get literally into the Word of God and then use other resources that give a broader take on the Bible to begin getting that bigger perspective on God’s Word.
You can then more easily home-in on whatever parts you are led to afterwards, with this wider-view always helping to place God’s Word in the right perspective and, therefore, interpretation.
I then wrote a summary of each book of the Bible for my own sake. In actual fact, this was literally hand-written before I typed up to really get a feel for things in the early ones.
This is key, as whatever information you’ve taken in, it’s important to write down then as it forces you to then summarise this in a different format and your own words.
I’ve then saved these on this website as a reference point that I can go back to and add further revelations and detail to overtime. And what a privilege that is, to better appreciate the totality of the most important thing to man, God’s Word.