Wednesday, September 30, 2020

My Go-to Bible Versions

The Big Idea: I have favorite Bible translations that have helped me at different times in my life. What is different about each of them?

Diane's favorite Bible Translations

I grew up in a home with parents who loved the Bible and wanted me as a child to understand it.  Back in the 1960s my father made up a schedule how to read the Bible through in a year before other people were doing so. He would read the Bible in a different translation each year. One year about 1970, the pastor of the church asked my dad to create bookmarks to give to people in church at the New Year's Eve Service with the reading schedule he made. I still have mine.

I can recall sitting with my parents at a Wednesday night prayer meeting when the pastor was teaching on Philippians. He said, " It says, 'Be careful for nothing' in Philippians 4:6. What does that really mean?"

I, as a 7 or 8 year old, squeaked out, "That's what it says! 'Be careful for nothing!'"

All the adults laughed. I was indignant. I was sincerely trying to follow what the pastor was saying. I found the King James English just a little confusing. He explained how it means to not fuss and worry about anything. I remember vividly I desperately wanted to understand what the Bible meant. Why would they laugh?

While I studied the King James Version at church, (the version most Churches were using at that time) our family devotional time had easier-to-understand versions of the Bible so we, as young children, could clearly understand. I recall times when my dad came home excitedly with a package under his arm with a new translation to try out in his reading. We had the Phillips translation, then the Living Bible portions and the Good News New Testament.


When I was a teenager my parents gave me a Living Bible, "The Way." I started underlining it with colored markers. Sometimes I lost track of time reading the Word of God. It changed my life that year by softening my teenage heart full of angst to hunger for God and want to serve Him as a missionary.

In college I bought a heavy New American Standard Study Bible with all kinds of helps like cross references, maps, and so on. It was a very accurate Bible, good for serious Bible study. A few years later, I switched to a New International Version. I was now training to be a missionary and speaking in churches on occasion. Many Evangelical churches were using the NIV and it was very easy to listen to and understand.  And it was what the people had in the pew. I stuck with the NIV for many, many years. 


In the past 10 years or so, so many translations have come out it is challenging to keep up with the latest translation. Now apps let you cross check different versions, with charts to understand the perspective and orientation of a version. I check the background of recent versions new to me. It is good to be aware of the premise and methodology for a new Bible translation.

So what do I read today? It depends on the situation.


I find myself gravitating more and more to the New Living Translation (NLT). It is similar to the ease of communication as the older Living Bible I loved as a teen, but more reliable to the original languages the Bible was written in. I am often impressed when I study the original words used in a text how faithlly the New Living Translation expresses it. And if I am writing or talking with people new to the Bible, it is very understandable to them. I use it often in this blog because I expected my audience to be people experienced deep in Bible study, but it tends to be people just starting to study the Bible.


If I am studying seriously I usually go to the English Standard Version (ESV) now. If I am studying Precept Bible Study lessons I use New American Standard Bible (NASB) because that is the version we chose for most of the lessons we have obtained in the past. These two versions are very literal and true to the original language. Right now a Bible Study Series I am teaching, Engaging God's Word, uses the ESV as their base, so I use that in that class.


When I speak at an Evangelical church I check ahead of time if there is a preferred version used a lot in that church so I can be in sync with what people are used to.  It is often the New International Version (NIV). It is easy to read and very familiar to many. I know a lot of verses by heart in the NIV.


I will check either one of these versions for more nuance of a text. The Message is very colloquial but it often gives a fresh look at a passage. The Amplified Bible is such a delight because it writes in parentheses with amplified explanations, word choices and meanings given in the text. It is a rich

experience to check on both of these versions. I even find myself gravitating to my Complete Jewish Bible on occasion for the perspective on Hebrew background.



Now with the advent of eBibles I find myself trying to use the same translation a teacher or preacher is using. It is so easy to do on my ipad Bible app. Often I find myself curious about something in the message and I will check a Study Bible on the app with cross references, maps or original language notes.


I recently obtained a very nice black leather Christian Standard Bible (CSB) which has a lot of nice notes and references in it. It has a bit larger print for a Bible. It is big and it is heavy. It is now my read and study around the house Bible. It is always wonderful to have a Bible you treat like a best friend. One you love, where you know right where the verses are you want to find. It is sweet to see a dearly loved Bible that is starting to look a little ragged on the edges because it is used so much! I hope this will become my beloved Bible in time.

If you have been looking for a definitive idea of the best translation to use, this blog will have been of little help. You may also find a previous blogs on Bible versions useful. Choosing a Bible Translation If you find yourself switching translations for different usages, you might feel better about doing that after seeing my eclectic reading. I just want you to know all these versions are God's Word and have something useful to offer. They do not confuse me but contribute to my understanding of God's Word. God's Word is like a beautiful multi-faceted diamond with so much to see from various sides. I LOVE THE BIBLE. If you do not, I hope someday you will too! Greatest book ever! The very words of God.

 Up Next: Free ebooks on deep questions by R.C. Sproul

Previous Post: The Great Bible Project

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Great BibleProject

The Big Idea: If you don't know about the videos from the BibleProject, you are missing out on a great resource. Here's why.

You think you know the BibleProject? Think again!  

Here are some things you might not know!
The day my Bible study co-leader introduced me to The BibleProject videos I was blown away. This non-profit computer animation video production company is about books of the Bible, Word studies, Biblical themes and so on. It is purely crowd funded and intends to always teach about the Bible for free. It uses fairly simple animation and illustrations that are able to be translated into other languages. In fact it has been  translated so far into 18 languages (with 10+ videos per language) and viewed in 200+ countries.

Tim Mackie, the theologian, is an excellent verbal communicator. His friend, Jonathan Collins, is the communications and animation specialist. These two guys roomed together at Multnomah Bible College and several years later decided to share their passion for the Bible to create this powerful vehicle of Bible education. Their videos can mesmerize young children and bring joy and profound understanding to adults. Launched in 2014 in Portland, Oregon, they have gathered a very skillful team around them. 


Videos: Book overviews, Bible themes, Word studies and the How to Read the Bible series.

Podcasts: They spend about 50 minutes with deeper explanations. Tim Mackie also has posted some of his sermons and teaching sessions in a blog called "Exploring my Strange Bible."

Blog: Posted by various members of their team

A Church at Home Series, especially helpful during the COVID 19 period, but also great for small group Bible studies and home schoolers.

Classroom: (NEW in Beta form) Graduate level Bible Classes Free. Currently 2 courses available. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (18 hours) and Heaven and Earth (19 hours).

Shop: Coffee Table book of each of the books of the Bible and another of the informational posters. The individual posters on each book of the Bible are also available for download on their website. They also have a couple t-shirts, and a stick drive with all their Bible Videos.


That is hard. I love their videos that give an overview of each book of the Bible. If I start studying a new book I always go to that first. We bought the coffee table book of all their charts.

I am very excited about their How to Read the Bible Series. These are uncommonly excellent in explaining the various genres and themes of the Bible, weaving together the basic theme and brilliant ways it is put together to express this basic theme about God and His partnership with us.

They have videos like: 

How to Read Ancient Jewish Meditational Literature 

How to Read Metaphor in Biblical Poetry

Spiritual Beings focus Angels and Cherubim

Theme: The Tree of Life 

Theme: Day of the Lord 

I refer to these videos and show them every chance I get! I currently teach a Sunday School class of an Overview of the Bible and I use one or two in each session. You always see light bulbs going on in people's heads as they watch them.

Check them out!

One last resource I just discovered… Top 75 Bible Study BlogsI recently checked into it and submitted my blog, and it was chosen to be featured as part of their list! How exciting! And if you go to this site you will find so many ideas from an amazing variety of sources.  You can check out the list of each blog's last five posts and it will give you so many wonderful ideas. It includes blogs from Bible Gateway, Bible Publishing companies like American Bible Society and author Liz Curtis Higgs.

Wow! I am passionate about the Bible and I hope it rubs off on you too! What an amazing God we have who has made a way to communicate with us in the written word, the spoken word and You Tube also! Join me on this fabulous journey! 

Up Next: My favorite Bible Versions

Previous Post: Old Testament: God's Partnership Plan

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

OT-5 God's Partnership Plan


Engaged on  Mount Lemmon, Arizona

The Big Idea: The Old Testament is the background for God's hope to bring us into partnership with Him. 

The Backstory for Salvation History

This is the last in a 5 week series on studying the Old Testament. It is not everything there is to say, but it gets you started on principles to apply it. Check out the previous blogs for more!

I have been married twenty years. Recently my husband heard something about me he never knew. When we got engaged, he told me he wanted knowing me to be a lifelong study. There is always a new layer of history, something new we learn about each other still today. Our past builds into who we are.



So it is with Salvation History in the Bible. You can know God. In fact He wants to partner with you. He has always intended to be part of our life since He walked with Adam in the garden and had Adam help him name the animals. He wants a relationship with you. He loves you can save you from the worst parts of your stubborn nasty self. It is a bit scary and yet wonderful at the same time. He knows you and still loves you. Do you strive to know Him more and more too? It is spiritually healthy to continually discover more about Him. To know Him allows us to dive deeper in love with Him, deeper into His strength for our life.

The Old Testament is a great place to learn about God and His history to know and love you. Woven into its layers is His love for humans, desiring a personal, deep friendship with each individual who wants that too. When we learn He is holy it ought to fill us with awe and wonder. Get to know the lengths He went through to make a way for that relationship. It is all there in the first Testament of the Bible. The Old Testament.



The word "Testament" can be a synonym of "Covenant." "Marriage" is also a synonym of "Covenant." A branch of Theology, the study of God, is called "Covenant Theology." It is a very beautiful concept to study through the Bible because it is about God pursuing us, desiring a relationship with us. It is also a little like someone who pursues a love relationship. 

The entire Bible, from the book of Genesis, builds on the idea of the relationship between God and mankind. It usually involves an agreement from both sides to respect the covenant, though usually God promises more and agrees to more than He expects of man.

There are four main covenants in the Old Testament, though the concept of covenant occurs over and over again, explaining more and more of how this partnership with God works.

  • The Covenant with Noah
  • The Covenant with Abraham
  • The Covenant with Israel/Moses
  • The  Covenant with King David

The final covenant that encompasses and fulfills them all is the New Covenant with Jesus in the New Testament. In fact if you are in a communion service in a church you will often hear Luke 22:20, part of the Last Supper.

"After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you." Luke 22: 20 NLT

A very helpful five minute video explains the 4 Old Testament Covenants. This is from the Bible Project.


Download a timeline of mine that inserts thoughts about the different eras of Old Testament History, with the four Old Testament Covenants made in their place in time along with comments about Salvation History. 



"Salvation History." This is another beautiful name for another category of theological study. Theology, as I wrote earlier, is the study of God. Salvation History is about following throughout the entire Bible how God has been reaching out to man, explaining and foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah, who would make perfect the necessary work to save us from ourselves and bring us into that amazing relationship with God. 

This is a great reason to study the Old Testament. It points us to Christ!

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah." Jeremiah 31:31 NLT

Here is a link to a webpage on how every book of the Old Testament points us to the right relationship with God through Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. It is like a big puzzle putting together what is the epitome of God's merciful and gracious plan. This is included in the introduction to a Study Bible for the English Standard Version of the Bible.



This week I met a woman for the first time at a conference at my church. We were both wearing masks. As we talked we reflected that someday we will see each other without masks. Will we recognize each other? Wearing masks during this COVID 19 period has made me think a little about mystery. This fits in perfectly when talking about Jesus in the Old Testament. There are a lot of verses in the Bible about the mysteries of God. Here is a sample.


“Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty?    Job 11:7 NLT


Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.    Isaiah 45:15 NLT


He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.    Daniel 2:22 NLT

The New Testament talks more about the fulfillment of those mysteries. Again a sample of verses.


When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,  I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began… But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.1 Corinthians 2: 1-2, 7, 10-12 NLT


And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ephesians 6: 19 NLT


Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ  was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory. I Timothy 3:16 NLT


The Bible talks about mysteries in the plural sometimes. God is so much bigger than we are and we won't fully understand until we are face to face with Him and can ask Him our questions. We don't know everything (we are not God LOL). But we do know a lot about Him and we know we can trust Him. We know He knows better than we do.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT


Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Corinthians 13:12 NLT


You may have noticed in the I Corinthians 2 passage that a key feature we have available to unlocking the mysteries is the Holy Spirit. I have just touched the tip of the iceberg about God's communication to us in the Old and New Testament. 

In previous blogs I wrote about Jesus' love for the Old Testament while He lived on earth. Next I explained how God has a purpose in everything in the Old Testament including the boring parts of the Bible. I showed the different styles of writing in the Bible, and said knowing what we are reading helps us understand it better. I gave tips on studying the OldTestament. In that blog I mentioned the importance of knowing Salvation History and Covenants, and that you should ask yourself where the passage you are reading falls in the overall plan. That is why I added this blog to explain what Salvation History is.

I hope this series has been helpful and given you some concrete ways to look at the Old Testament and study it. If you don't already, I hope you fall in love with it like I have, as you walk with Jesus.

 Up Next: 

Previous Post:


For Reflection:

What do you think a partnership with God looks like? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you feel like it is a partnership?

What do you struggle with as a mystery of the Bible or about God? What do you want to ask Him about when you are face to face with Him?

Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to help you study the Bible?

Has this series on the Old Testament given you a better understand of the Old Testament and more confidence to study it?

If you don't understand what I am talking about having a relationship with Almighty God or asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. I would also invite you to talk to a pastor or friend who knows Jesus well, or email me at

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

OT4 Tips for Studying the Old Testament


The Big Idea: How to study the Old Testament even though it is very different in style from the New Testament. 

The Old Testament is essential to the Bible.  It has a lot of background information on the nature of God and how He interacts with human beings. The period is before Jesus came, but there is something in every book of the Old Testament that points to Jesus' coming to earth to fulfill redemption. We call this Salvation History. In other words, the Old Testament gives us the back story of God's big idea to redeem us and bring us into a right relationship with Him. The preparation for this started long, long ago near the beginning of time and is annotated in the Old Testament.

Here are some tips for an individual Bible study approach to the Old Testament.



  • Start with prayer
  • Read longer passages to get the big picture. Perhaps read the entire book first in one or two sittings.
  • Use a couple of tools, such as a Study Bible, Bible Handbook, and Timeline chart. But always start by reading the Biblical text first.

A great way to study the Bible is the tried and true three pronged method of:

  • Observation
  • Interpretation
  • Application



For tips on studying any passage in the Bible, check out my previous blog on making observations about what's in your Bible passage here.  Here are a few key reminders and specific tips for the Old Testament.

  • Start with observations. Who What Where When Why and How.
  • What does it say/show about God?  About mankind/human nature?
  • What genre is the book/passage I'm reading?
  • Who are the characters? What is their relationship and attitude towards God? How do they treat people?
  • Visualize yourself in the story or in the character's place.
  • Are there any repetitive words in the passage or key words/phrases?

            Example:         Genesis 1 - "And God saw that it was good."

                                    Exodus 29 - repetition of the word "Holy"



 For tips on interpreting a passage in the Bible, I refer you to a previous blog on Interpretation. here.

  • Now is the time to consult a Study Bible or Bible Handbook for the introduction, author, time frame, outline/theme, map, etc.
  • What do you LEARN about God, about mankind through this passage.
  • Check a Study Bible or eBible with cross references (other passages/verses related to this passage /verse)
  • Look especially closely at New Testament cross references
  • Does this passage point me to Jesus? Does it prophesy His birth, life, death/resurrection?
  • How does this fit in the timeline of the Bible?
  • How might this fit in God's revelation of His plan for Salvation?
  • Do I have any questions about this passage? Does anything make me uncomfortable?
  • Are there other passages in the Bible with the same key word or repeated phrase to add understanding?
  • Why might God have included this in the Bible?
  • What might be an example to follow, sin to put aside, promise God makes from this passage?



Review my blog on application here as you seek to apply this passage to your life. Remember, the reason we study the Bible is for a life transformed to be more who God wants you to be. So as you look at your notes, think about what God is telling people in their context and what the timeless truth God has for you. While God transforms lives in every cultural setting, beware of making a cultural ultimatum to your culture from Scripture. Also be careful to not take one isolated verse and apply it incorrectly to a pet subject of yours. Rather use these tips to get at what God has for you.

  • How might this reminder or this fresh understanding of who God is, impact you?
  • Should something in this text cause me to examine my life, my attitudes, my actions? Does it warrant a specific plan of action for my life? How can I implement it?
  • What gives me hope in Jesus? Reflect on the difference Jesus, His forgiveness of sin and His victory over death, makes in our life because He came.
  • Is there a plain, direct command or promise? Not all Old Testament passages will have as obvious application, but there are golden nuggets that are very clear and valuable for our Christian life.



We have looked at some of the basics of Observation, Interpretation and Application and how they pertain  to Bible Study in the Old Testament.

I love photography. I have a complex digital camera. It is already out of date but there are still so many features I have not figured out how to use unless I consult my manual. When I practice a feature new to me it helps when I memorize and practice the feature I want to use. This enhances my photos and makes it easier to use.

I have an older camera I use manually. It help me learn the basics and why they work. Learning those basic principles helps me understand my digital camera better and makes me a better photographer. I am constantly reading and learning about camera techniques.

In a similar fashion, the Old Testament has background for us about God, sin, the need for forgiveness, Christ coming into the world and the beauty of His complete work of salvation which is much better than animal sacrifice. Learning these background principles helps us understand what Christ has done for us in the New Testament. It makes us a better Christian. Learn to use the background manual! The Old Testament.

Up Next: Old Testament: God's Partnership Plan

Previous Post: Old Testament: Poetry, Legalese and History Lessons


For Reflection: What confuses you about the Old Testament? 

Do you think following this approach to the passage might be helpful? 

Are you willing to try it? 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

OT-3 Poetry, Legalese and History Lessons

The Big Idea: Literary styles of the Old Testament writers is useful to understand they are saying.

So what are you in the mood for tonight?

On movie night at our house my husband will ask, so what kind of movie interests you tonight? On Netflix or movies at the library there are categories to choose from. Action/Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Historical Docu-Drama… It depends on what you are looking for. These are called Movie Genres, which are categories of stylistic categories of theme and presentation. 

The Bible likewise has a number of writing genres. Categorizing the Scriptures goes way back to the Old Testament (OT) times. They were categorized as the Teachings (Torah - Law of Moses), the Prophets (Former Prophets and Latter Prophets), and the Writings (Psalms and Wisdom Literature). Jesus referred to these categories too (Luke 24:44).  It helps us to understand what we are reading better if we understand the intention and style of the book. So let's look at the typical literary styles of the Old Testament.


The Bible is like a huge library. There are 66 books in two separate parts. The Old Testament, the books about the calling and forming of the Hebrew people before the time of Christ, and the New Testament, with books about Christ and the early church. All the books have one central theme. God who created mankind loves each one of us and wants a dynamic ongoing relationship with us. We are His creatures and He has great love for us. He wants to be part of our life. But He won't force us to love Him.

Each book of the Bible has to do with this theme. Just like a library, there are different types of literature. There are stories. There are poems. There are legal sounding laws. There are prophecies and declarations. These different categories of writing present God's ideas in a variety of manners. People are different. I'm sure you've noticed that. Even within one culture, even within one family, people have different personalities. And the variety of ways that God communicates resonates more with different people. Additionally, the stories and the sub themes weave together to give us the bigger picture of God's message to us. God likes it that we can know Him and His love. He also likes it that we need to continually seek Him and learn more about the mysteries of who He is. Loving God is never boring.

One of my favorite online Bible resources is The Bible Project. They have wonderful videos that explain the Bible. Here is their introduction to the styles of books in the Bible. It is helpful to watch this 5 minute video first. 

As the Bible Project explained, 43% of the Bible is Narrative, stories, characters introduced, history, and so on. Poetry makes up a whopping 33%. But if you don't like poetry, like "Mary had a little lamb," Don't write it off.  Bible poetry is ancient literature filled with imagery, metaphors and analogies about life, not cute little rhymes. And 24% of the Bible is discourse. A discussion type of conversation about life. Useful information.

Old Testament Genres are often put into these categories. It is common for a couple of styles tend to blend together in a book, but most books are predominately one type. Also you will find some teachers who change a few of the category names but it follows the same principles. The categories are:

  • Law
  • History
  • Poetry
  • Wisdom
  • Prophecy
  • Apocalypse



These sections of the Bible read a little more wooden than others sometimes. They sound like legal binding contracts, or how-to instruction manuals. Background studies of the nations in the world at that time, had contracts and guidelines similar in form to Biblical passages. The format was familiar to its time, though foreign to us. This includes things like the various covenants God made with man, the Ten Commandments, and guiding rules for the people. This falls into the discourse category. They generally cover:

  • Moral laws on how to live
  • Ceremonial laws on tabernacle and sacrificial worship
  • Civil law that governed and protected the people of God

The first five books of the Bible are considered books of the Law.  They are interspersed with some history, poetry, and even prophecy.


History writings are narrative in nature. They tell us what happened. They include various components such as background, location, political conditions, even weather conditions and crop factors that influence normal human life.  We see character development of key Biblical figures. We observe conversations and life choices. Sometimes there is a very evident spiritual lesson. Other times it gives background and flesh to the whole of the Biblical journey of God's people. These are the books from Joshua to Nehemiah.



Often these two categories are combined when grouping books of the Bible. Poetry is all the Psalms, and sections of other books. Wisdom literature and the Prophets intersperse poetry. 

Poetry from ancient Middle Eastern Literature is a whole different meter and flow than the way we read poetry. The Bible Project devotes several informative videos to explaining poetry of this period. What we do know is poetry expresses the gamut of human emotions and the human experience. They can be teaching aids. Imagery and metaphors play a part in this genre.

Wisdom literature, which often uses poetry, is a collection of wise sayings and advice to shape the quality of life and moral values of its readers. These are true principles with guidelines for life such as how to live and how not to behave.  They are not as direct in terms of doctrine and the promises of God.

The books of Wisdom are considered to be Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes.



Many see prophecy as a prediction of the future.  More accurately a human being speaks on God's behalf what He wants people to know. Often in the context God states He sees what they are doing and tells what will happen if they obey or disobey. A blessing or curse forward may be conditional. Often it forshadows into the future but the future is not the only aspect of it.

There are four major prophetic books and 12 minor prophetic books in the Old Testament. The only difference is the volume, not how great the prophet was. These prophets emerged when the Hebrew people seriously strayed from God. God wanted the prophets to make clear His covenant love for His people; the consequences of straying and the blessing to return. God assured the people no matter how angry they made Him and no matter how far they strayed, He would be faithful, and there would be faithful people (a remnant) who would emerge. The promise of the coming Kingdom of the Messiah abounds.

Biblical prophecy is often telescopic. When one looks through a telescope or a zoom camera lens they can pull into focus several points along a spectrum. Prophecy has a current application to the people and a future application as well. It may fulfill an aspect at a future time and may apply much futher down the road too. I call this the telescopic layers of prophecy. This would probably be a good blog subject someday. 



Apocalyptic literature is similar to Prophetic books in that prophets speak God's urgent message to the people of both warnings and comfort. It is about the Last Days. Daniel is the primary apocalyptic book in the Old Testament, though it occurs in some of the other Prophetic books too. It is important to not take any one piece of Apocalyptic literature as a stand-alone text. Part of its beauty is the message intertwining and verifying future events with other passages in the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament. It has a lot of metaphorical, symbolic language.



When you read the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, you might find some books seem a little obscure or difficult to read. It helps to ask yourself, what type of literature might this be? You might find the answer in a study Bible in the introduction of the book. It will help you to place why the book may have been written. It will also steer your focus. Is it background to God's codes of conduct, worship guidelines, or life illustrations of key characters on what not to do? How does it fit with the rest of the Bible and other books that are similar to it or in the same time period? Why might God have included this in our Bible?

I am drawn to quiet classical or soft jazz music. I like to read classic mystery novels and classic devotional literature. In a similar fashion I have my favorite books of the Bible. I love the Psalms and could read them every day. However it is important for me, and for all of us, to not just stay in the same books of the Bible all the time.



In college I was a nursing major. But the university required courses from several areas of study. My
Nursing program included what, at first glance, I thought were some rather odd courses. Statistics. I really hate math classes, but its importance was toward understanding nursing research. Communication Theory helped nurses integrate our ability to connect with patients, coordinate with patient teams and to organize and lead support groups.  There were subjects I would not have chosen for my dream class list, but they made me a well-rounded nurse and a better human being.

To apply this analogy, we may gravitate to our favorite go-to books of the Bible. We may choose the same type of Sunday School class or read/listen often to favorite authors or preachers on a favored subject. But to have a well rounded understanding of the Bible and a Christian walk, have some familiarity with the Bible as a whole. Read different genres and ask God what He has for you. Become a well rounded Christian, rather than one fixated only on their favorite subjects. This is how we will grow to maturity in Christ.

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 

Hebrews 6:1 NLT

Up Next: Old Testament: Tips for Studying the Old Testament

Previous Post: Old Testament: The Boring Parts by Design?


For Reflection:

1. What are your favorite books of the Bible. Why?

2. What type of Scripture might you challenge yourself to read or study for something different? Be willing to ask God to teach you something special.

3. Consider talking this over with a friend and sharing questions and ideas.