Congratulations! You have begun the exciting spiritual journey of reading through the Bible in a year. Remember this is not intended to be a Bible study, but rather a devotional. What is the difference? In a Bible study we try to go into detail about the context, the nuances of the writer of the biblical narrative, historical events, and more. Devotional reading is different. The word devotional comes from the word, “devote.” To engage in devotional reading is simply to devote time to God each day to get to know God more fully. We are inviting you to read through the Bible for this very reason. We want to you get into the habit of devoting time each day to reading God’s Word so that you not only come to be more knowledgeable about the Bible, but most of all so that you come to know God more fully. Our goal is not just to have you get all the way through the Bible—it is to have the Bible get all the way through you!
Each week you can access a message that will preview what you will be reading in the days ahead. These readings are intended to help you more fully understand the text and answer some of you questions.
Remember, “The devil is in the details.” When reading the Bible cover to cover, it is easy to get tripped up in the details. (Wait until we get to Leviticus!) One of the questions I always ask when studying Scripture is, What truth is being revealed in this text? Rather than trying to remember all the descendants of Noah, instead ask, What truth is God trying to convey? The answer is that Noah was faithful and trusted God, and God honored that trust and used him to great purpose.
Two other questions I continually ask are How does this apply to my life? and What is God asking me to do through this reading?
If you desire to go deeper, get a good study Bible as a companion to your reading. I suggest the Life Application Bible. (Remember the NRSV Daily Bible is a devotional, not a study Bible.) If you are new to the Bible, some people have found The Bible for Dummies to be helpful. A book that I often recommend to people is Making Sense of the Bible by Adam Hamilton. This book helps you do just that. When you have questions about the text, another great resource is Luther Seminary’s “Enter the Bible” web site www.enterthebible.org.
Finally—enjoy! Remember you are not taking a class that will have a final exam. You are reading to be filled with the spirit of God and to know God more fully.