The first time I (Darryl) really opened the Bible to read it, I was in college. I thought I knew the Bible because my parents always made me go to church every Sunday – but as I began to flip through the pages I began to realize something: I hardly knew anything at all. I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know I was ignorant! I thought I knew the Bible, but then as it sat open in my lap I realized I was wrong. I began reading the Bible over Thanksgiving break my freshman year and became absolutely enthralled with it. I thought, “hey, how come no one ever told me this stuff before? The Bible is the church’s best kept secret!” Then, I would learn something – only to realize later that I had forgotten it. Eventually, I started to write it down. I would say to myself, “Ok, in one sentence what is Isaiah about?” Or, “What’s a key theme – just give it to me short and sweet?” And so I began to compile An Outline of the Bible.
As I kept revising my Outline, I realized other people felt like they were in a fog when they opened the Bible because they were overwhelmed too. So, this Outline is intended to be a tool – to act as a fan to help blow that fog away. Check it out, and drop me a line if you have a question. Click here to download the outline.
With the Outline in one hand, which Bible should you pick up in the other? One great option is called The Jesus Storybook Bible. Ok, yes, it was written for children – but I guarantee adults will love it too. There are some great options for adult Bibles: the NIV Study Bible is one choice. It is written in conversational English. The NRSV is another solid translation. If you’re wondering what would be a good starting point, try starting with Mark or one of the other Gospels. If you swing by the church I bet I have a free copy for you.
Here’s one of secrets of the Bible: even though it is great to have a part of your routine, it is impossible to go it alone. That’s right, absolutely no one can understand all of it all by themselves. Yes, the foundational things – like the resurrection of Jesus – you can figure out, but one of the great things about the Bible is that it is to be shared. When we read it in community – like at worship – we have the best chance to uncover the riches that it holds!