And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
THE BIBLE IS STILL THE WORLD'S BEST-SELLING book. According to Guinness World Records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed. www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/ Guinness says: “Although it is impossible to obtain exact figures, there is little doubt that the Bible is the world's best-selling and most widely distributed book.” Wikipedia quotes Guinness.
SO, THE BIBLE IS STILL THE BEST-SELLER OF ALL BOOKS! But it is not a “page turner” from beginning to end. The Bible does not read like a modern, paper-back novel. Our motive for Bible reading is found elsewhere, in its greater purpose rather than in its immediate contact. Daily Bible reading is a discipline and must be pursued like other books of great worth. The King James Bible is divided into 1,189 chapters and 31,173 verses.
IF WE READ 4 CHAPTERS A DAY, WE CAN READ THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR. Bible reading is not Bible study. While you are reading your Bible, mark the places you want to come back later and study. Straight reading of the Bible can be called: Bulk Reading. There is great value in this. You will pick up phrases as you read that will stick with you. It will give you perspective as you read. It will cause you to visualize in your mind some of the stories.
IF YOU ARE A DAILY BIBLE READER, I commend you. If not, I encourage you to begin today. You may want to follow the daily guide at the bottom of each MORNING MINUTE. Or, you may want to read from your smart phone. You may prefer to read from a paper Bible. Our Bible reading schedule is taken from “Through the Bible in a Year,” a tract published by Good News Publishers. If you follow the plan at the bottom of MORNING MINUTE, you can listen to it as well as read it. Look for the speaker icon near the top of the page on the right side of the page.
THE FIRST THING TO DO TO GET MORE OUT OF YOUR BIBLE READING, is to read it faithfully! Not easy. It is well established that to change a human habit, we must do the new thing for twenty-one days. To become a habitual Bible reader, you will have to commit yourself to doing it. It will not run over you! What time of day are you going to read your Bible? Where are you going to read your Bible? Settle those two things and you are on your way to success.
USE LITTLE CHUNKS OF TIME FOR BIBLE READING. I listen to the MORNING MINUTE plan if I’m at the computer when it’s time to read. If not, I may read/listen on my iPhone. I purchased some clip-on ear phones from Amazon that use Blue Tooth. If I’m walking, lying down, or sitting in my Lazy Boy, I can turn it on and stick it in my pocket. When I’m out and about I often wear my ear phone cord around my neck.
IF I'M IN AN OFFICE AND IT'S ALLOWED, I may listen a few minutes or just read off the screen. I like to close my eyes and listen. Before my smart phone days, I used to carry a Gideon’s pocket New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs for reading while waiting. Some of the later-model cars and trucks can pick up Blue Tooth signals and play them over the vehicle’s speakers. There are many ways we can use little pieces of time for Bible reading.
THE BEST SHORT ARTICLE I'VE SEEN ON GETTING MORE OUT OF YOUR BIBLE is a tract written by Warren Wiersbe in 1957. Through a mutual friend, I got his permission to post this booklet (slightly abridged) on biblewalking.com. Here is the link. http://www.biblewalking.com/how-to-get-more-out-of-your-bible---wiersbe.html I heard Dr. Wiersbe several times during Bible conferences at the Highland Park Baptist Church and Tenn. Temple Schools. Wiersbe’s article goes beyond Bible reading but I deem it worth your reading and keeping handy.
I MUST CONFESS THAT WHEN I GET INTO THE THICKET OF NAMES AND PLACES, my natural interest in the text bottoms out. What is the purpose and value of putting all those names and places in the Bible? Obviously, it is is not for the immediate blessing to the reader. I think it’s because it is important to God, the writer. It displays God’s interest in every one of the individuals that has been born. The Bible gives us a small collection of individuals who have been put on display to show that God pays attention to the names of individuals. People with names are born. People with names live. People with names die. Names are written in the Book of Life.
GOD DOES NOT USE A NUMBERING SYSTEM FOR IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUALS as governments do. God dignifies us and values us by giving us names. Little children are sensitive to their names. Call a child by the wrong name and see the reaction you get. I love to play a guessing game with children. “Is your name Sallie? Ruth? Betty?” They immediately engage in the guessing game, waiting for their rightful name to be called. It is as natural with a child as breathing to want you to get their name right and they do not want to be called a bemeaning or denigrating name.
WHEN I WAS ABOUT FIVE, one of my uncles stayed with us and loved to call me Boone (after Daniel Boone), which I hated. He kept it up. One day while he was working at my dad’s sawmill and I was still too young for school, I spotted his riding pants hanging on the door. I got a chair and with a big yellow crayon used for marking logs and lumber, I marked as hard as I could all over his dark green riding pants. He was not pleased, but the name calling stopped. Little kids don’t like to be called bad names nor hear their parents called bad names. We had a lot of school yard fights over that.
GOD HAS HIS REASONS FOR PUTTING ALL THOSE NAMES IN THE BIBLE. We can try to pronounce them or skip over them and go on with our reading. Some study Bibles feature a self-pronouncing text. My mother’s Bible is like that. It was worn out and I had it recovered. I use it for looking up the pronunciation of names.
IN CHANGING JACOB'S NAME TO ISRAEL, THE NATION'S NAME WAS ESTABLISHED. “Israel” occurs 2,576 times in the Bible. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28) While Israel was still living, his children became known as “the children of Israel.” And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. (Genesis 36:31) Names of people, places, and nations are important to God.
NAMES HAD MEANINGS AND PORTRAYED CERTAIN TRAITS OF INDIVIDUALS. When Jacob blessed his sons on his death bed, he called them one by one and pronounced their dominant characteristics.
WHEN THE BABYLONIANS CONQUERED THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF JUDAH, they singled out the royal seed and assigned them a place and a food diet at the king’s table. He wanted these top brains to serve in advisory and administration positions. Not only so, but the Babylonians changed the names of these four young men. The Hebrew names were after the name of the Hebrew God. The Babylonians gave them new names after the gods of the Babylonians.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. (Daniel 1:6-7)
TODAY WE ARE MOST FAMILIAR WITH THE NAMES THAT BEGIN OR END WITH "EL." Israel, Elijah, Daniel, Elkanah, etc. My name, Daniel, means “God is my judge.” The female form is Daniele and means the same. Rachel, Ethel, Hazel; how many female names can you come up with that include “el?” Two of he Hebrew names above are: Daniel and Mishael. The other two are Hananiah and Azariah.
THIS SHORT REVIEW OF A FEW HEBREW NAMES MAY HELP TO ILLUSTRATE why there are so many names of people and places in the Old Testament. There are names in the New Testament also, especially in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. God has honored us that we should be given names and He knows all of our names. He even calls the stars by name: He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psalm 147:4)
ONE MORE REASON FOR NAMES IN THE BIBLE IS THAT THEY SERVE as historical markers. What’s so important about historical markers? Just this: Our strongest reason for believing that the Old Testament is from the hand of God is the proclamation and fulfillment of prophecy. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10) The measuring points of prophecy are usually names of people, places and kingdoms. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 22, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Exodus 1-3 P.M. Matthew 15:21-39
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Song for Today:
Rock of Ages (4:13) (Vestel Goodman – Gaither Group)
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