Q: One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read through the Bible. Well, I got started in Genesis, but I lasted only a few weeks. I just couldn’t get interested in things that happened to people thousands of years ago. What am I missing? — J.F.
A: One thing you’re missing is an opportunity to learn more about God and his will for our lives. If we are ignorant of God’s Word, we’ll always be ignorant of God’s will.
Yes, the Bible tells about things that happened thousands of years ago, and these may seem strange or irrelevant to us. But God does not change, and neither does our human nature — and just as God worked in the lives of people then, he wants to work in our lives today. They lived in a different world, and yet they had the same problems and doubts we have. The Bible says concerning them, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
But let me suggest that you’re also missing something else: a practical plan for unlocking the Bible’s treasures. Instead of starting at the beginning (as we do with other books), I suggest you start at the center — that is, with one of the Gospels that tell us about Jesus Christ (I often suggest John). He is the Bible’s center; the Old Testament points forward to him, and the New Testament tells us about him. You can discover other parts of the Bible later.
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Ask God to help you as you read, not only to understand what is happening in a particular passage, but what it means for your life today. May Job’s attitude become yours: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.