God's Word is our heritage. While many books of the world provide great wisdom and insight, from Sun Tzu's Art of War to CS Lewis' Abolition of Man, the Holy Scriptures provide a benefit the others do not. They offer to all humanity the merits of Jesus, without any charge or requirements.
An individual may find great joy and pleasure in reading through the entire Bible. It increases their familiarity with all of Scripture; it also deepens their relationship with the Lord as they see the many facets of his work. It brings historical and contextual information to light. It brings out the interconnectivity of Scripture.
The core of daily prayer is reading the Bible. There are a number of different organizational systems that can be used.
- A person can follow the canonical order of either the Protestant canon (the 66 books as we commonly known them from Genesis to Revelation). Here is a reading plan like that from Bible Gateway.
- A person can follow a thematic order, where Scripture is organized around topics.
- A person can follow a chronological order, either by the writing of the book or the dating of the event.
- Chronological reading plans may be organized by the writing of the book or the dating of the event.
- A person can follow a devotional order in which Old Testament, New Testament, and readings of the Psalm are grouped together. An example is this one.
A few other systems are available, but these are the common reading plans.
Audio is available online at biblegateway.com, which can be helpful when you have 20 chapters to read.
Daily Video Bible provides a visual way to read the Bible. The text is presented on-screen, then read aloud to you.
You may want to obtain a commentary of some sort to enhance your understanding of the text. If you are used to relying on study Bible notes, perhaps this is an opportunity to deepen your understanding with a more in-depth volume.
Paul Kretzmann was an early 20th century Lutheran theologian. His well known commentary is available online. A more devotional commentary, but using older language.
The NET Bible project provides its study notes for free online. These are some of the best freely available notes for textual issues, although they will often be a bit technical for the average reader.
BibleDex provides a video introduction of each book.
The People's Bible is very helpful and is available in our library as well as a variety of formats from Northwestern Publishing House or Amazon. It provides a good balance of textual, historical, and devotional background. Salem owns a copy.
There are many decent one volume Bible commentaries. If you'd like to have something that provides better quality comments with an emphasis on textual and historical notes, I encourage you to ask me. The Concordia Self-Study Commentary is a classic among Lutherans; many are available used or can be borrowed. Decent modern volumes would be the Zondervan One Volume Commentary or the Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary.
Questions and Comments
Questions and comments from in class discussion are recorded, if they seem appropriate for public consumption. You are also welcome to add your own.