You've already welcomed our newest member, ZOOEY, but let me chime in too: We're so glad you're here, Zooey. Just email me (click here) to let me know what your email address is and to tell me that you've read all the blog rules (see the right side of this page) You've jumped right in with comments and we love that. Love it.
Thanks, also to HALLE BELLE and ASHER for explaining the Talking to God Journal to JAMIE. I hope everybody has one and uses it as part of your prayer time to
well, talk to God. If you've never
sent me a picture of yours,
you can anytime and I'll post it here.
Okay, then, on to today's topic. Your responses to last time's post were, of course, awesome. We have THELITTLEFLOWER reading Esther; HALLE BELLE is getting into Romans. ZOOEY has chosen Philippians, and then she's going for Acts. HADASSAH is re-reading the Gosepls, Eve's picked I Peter, and MEGGIE BEAR is settling in with Luke. Both NIMI and ASHER have decided on 2 Corinthians. The letters to Timothy were by far the most popular choice, with LLARIA G, ASHER AND NIMI.
If you haven't posted your choice you still can. We want to hear it.
Tuesday we talked about how picking the right book to study in the Bible is the first step in making it easier to understand. But even something as straightforward as the story of Jesus's birth has parts in it that make you go, "What?" That's what today is about.
These are some basic "Tough Busters" that might help you as you dig into 1 Peter or Luke or the Book of Esther.
TOUGH BUSTER #1: It's okay if you don't understand absolutely every word. If you get the overall meaning of a passage and it says, "Hey, NIMI, this is about YOU!" then it doesn't matter if you know exactly what a shekel is.
EXAMPLE: Most of Philippians is super easy to understand, until you get to 4:3, where Paul is talking about Euodia and Syntyche, (I know, the names, right?), two women who have obviously been arguing about something Jesus-related. Not only might you stumble over the names, but Paul uses the word "contend." "They have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel". You don't have to go look up "contend" because you know he's saying these two ladies have always supported spreading the word about Christ and now THEY need to be supported. (By the way "contend" here means they have agreed with Paul and told other people that.)
TOUGH BUSTER #2: You can skim over long lists of who was fathered by whom or who all the public officials were at the time (unless, of course, you LIKE that sort of thing) Why is it there, then? Because it sets the stories in history, so we know they happened in the world at a certain time.
EXAMPLE: In Luke 3, you're reading along about John the Baptist and how he baptizes Jesus and it's all wonderful ... and then all of a sudden you get, like, 14 verses of everybody Jesus was descended from. Who reads that? You can simply skim that and get the idea that Jesus came all the way from Adam. His ancestors were real. He was real. That's all.
TOUGH BUSTER #3: If there's something you don't understand and you really want to, ask your question in your Talking to God Journal, so God knows you need an answer. Then next time you have a chance, ask somebody if they can explain it to you. What grown-up is going to say, "I don't have time to talk to you about the Bible. Go play"? If someone does, that's just the wrong person.
EXAMPLE: Paul's instructions to Timothy are awesome. We like that a young person is being put in charge of making sure a certain group of people get what Jesus is really all about and not start going off on a bunch of myths and stuff.Then we get to I Timothy 2:11-12 and I don't know about you but I go, "Are you SERIOUS?" "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet." It would be worth it to talk about that with a woman you respect ... a woman who is not quiet!
TOUGH BUSTER #4: Read and study in small chunks. Don't try to take big bites of the Bible all at once. Five or 6 verses at a time -- unless you're really on a roll -- is pretty much perfect. That gives you time to really explore.
EXAMPLE: In reading I Peter, once you get past who Peter is writing FOR, you figure out that in the next ten verses alone he talks about --
* how we need to praise God for letting us inherit this new kingdom
* how we're going to suffer grief in our lives, but we have God so it's going to be okay -- those are opportunities to show people how awesome God is
* how you can love God and have faith in him even though you can't see him
* how the prophets who foretold the Messiah were prophesying for US so we could believe in Jesus when he came.
You could think, write in your journal and ask questions about any ONE of those for, like days. Remember that this has nothing to do with how MUCH of the Bible you read, but how WELL you read it.
TOUGH BUSTER #5: Always ask the question: what does this say to ME in my life right now? That isn't selfish. For Pete's Sake, the Bible was written FOR YOU. For each of us. That's what makes it so amazing -- it whispers to you and says, "I'm talking to YOU, Mini-Woman."
EXAMPLE:In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1, verses 8-11, Paul is talking about some bad stuff that went down for the Jesus-followers in the Asia province. No idea what that's about, but you move on because you know you don't really have to get that. It was bad, and they obviously got through it. THEN he goes on to talk about how they nearly died, how they almost gave up, and you're thinking, "And this is about me how?" When was the last time you were on the brink of death for your faith, right? but as you read on, you find what applies to you: "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God." There it is. You stop, open your Journal, and start writing or drawing about where YOU need to rely on God instead of giving up -- on understanding Algebra, on getting along with your brothers, on having a best friend. NO, it isn't death, but right now, it's despair. See?
If you want to comment, tell us how any of these TOUGH BUSTERS has helped you with a hard-to-understand part of the Bible book you've chosen. Your comment can look like this:
Part I didn't get
Tough Buster number that helped
You don't have to explain if you don't want to, but of course you CAN!
I'm studying the Gospel of Luke now, so I'll do this right along with you. Miss Crystal, are you on board too?