"For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God." — 2 Cor. 4:15

“Have you ever thought about the story of the Old Testament? Have you wondered how to connect the dots of psalms and sacrifices, laws and kings, nations and wars? And what does it all mean for our lives today? The story of the Old Testament is the key to understanding it. To trace the clear, continuous narrative is to connect the dots and bring the bigger picture into focus.”

– David Talley (The Story of the Old Testament)

Did you know that the majority of the Old Testament storyline is actually contained in just eleven books starting with Genesis and ending with Nehemiah? In 2019, our Take Up Your Sword reading plan will cover these eleven books at a pace of one chapter a day (mostly!) for five days a week. We think this pace really helps with mental “digestion” and leaves room each week for catching up or further reflection.

Would you join us this year in taking up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?” An excellent reading companion is The Story of the Old Testament by David Talley which can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. We highly recommend it!

Six great questions to consider as you read the Bible:

Crux

What is the crux (main point) of the passage? Can you sum it up in a word, phrase or verse from the text in front of you? How would you express it in a single sentence?

Context

How is your understanding of this passage shaped by what comes before and after it? In what way(s) does this text support the theme of the book? How is the passage informed by the Old Testament or fulfilled in the New Testament (check the cross-references)?

Characters

Identify the characters in this text. How do they act and react to each other? How do these interactions affect the dynamics of the passage?

Christ

How does this passage directly or indirectly point to Christ (promise, analogy or type)? In what way(s) does the text highlight the gospel and/or kingdom of God?

Curiosities

What is curious (surprising) about this passage? What would you not have known unless God had revealed it here?

Conclusion

What is the conclusion (application) of this text? Express it in terms drawn from or shaped by the passage. Remember, whatever this passage meant to the original audience, it means to us.

Helpful Hints

  • Remind yourself weekly (even daily!) that the end goal is not to check off boxes or successfully execute a reading plan, but to hear God’s voice and know Him more.
  • Keep a pen and paper at hand to write down questions, observations, thoughts for further meditation and prayer, etc.
  • Do this in community. Invite your spouse, your kids, a friend, or a younger believer to commit to reading at the same time. Make plans to talk and pray together with some regularity about what you are reading.
  • Bookend your reading time with prayer. Begin by asking God to give you “ears to hear” and a heart to trust and obey. Finish by turning some of what you have read into prayer.