Who Is Writing
SAA – Stuart Andrews, minister at Tamworth Presbyterian Church from 1987 till 2016
SJA – Stuart Andrews Jnr
ABOUT from Stuart (Snr)
These Bible Reading Notes were designed to help people in my congregation read the whole Bible. They are not full notes, but are more of sign-posts, pointing the way ahead so you don’t get too lost.
Bible Guideposts are an aid to devotion suitable for inclusion in a church’s weekly notice sheet. A week’s Guideposts will mostly fit on a ½ A4 page with landscape orientation.
Bible Guideposts are short notes designed to help someone read the whole Bible over three years and to find their way in the unfamiliar territory of Bible material, history and world setting. Bible Guideposts seeks to point out the bigger picture from the Scriptures, to make connections between Old and New Testaments, and to give a minimum of information necessary to the joy of understanding.
Each reading should only take you less than seven minutes of reading time. We have used this calendar with our family daily taking three years to read through the Bible. There are some useful tips that will help you persevere with reading God’s Word daily.
Tip 1. Find only one thing in a reading that strikes you. It can be a fact, a thought, a command, an issue. I was told that I needed only one fish a day for my daily bread. I would have the rest of my life to catch the others. So don’t be afraid that you don’t understand a passage. Find one thing you do understand this day. Next time you will understand more.
Tip 2. Get yourself an exercise book and write down daily your thought from your reading. If you want to be very systematic, you can get a series of exercise books and take one page for each Bible reading – with the Bible reading reference printed up the top together with the day and month, e.g., 1 Peter 3:8-22 May 1. You can use these exercise books over many years.
Tip 3. Pray simply and briefly before, during and after each reading. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you, to show you what you need to know or see today. Ask Him to challenge you, to deal with sin and the dark areas of your life, your failures and besetting habits. Ask Him to encourage you in your love for Him and to grow spiritually so that you will be of most earthly blessing.
Tip 4. When you first begin to read the Bible systematically, NEVER read for more than five to seven minutes a time! The organisation Navigators has a useful leaflet called 7 Minutes a Day With God. They recommend you pray for one minute, read for five, then pray for another one minute. This is something you can keep going with. If you start off with a burst of zeal and try to read for an hour, a half hour or even twenty minutes, you probably won’t continue for more than one or two days.
Tip 5. Find someone who can encourage you to continue, to talk over with you what you are reading, to give another point of view or further information. The proverb says: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NIV)
Tip 6. Think through what you are reading so that you can apply it directly to your life, e.g., if your comment is “I should love others more”, think through to particular people and situations you will face today. Who should you love more and how will you do it? By being more patient, more fair, more long-suffering? (1 Corinthians 13:4,5) The same thing is true if you write: “I should pray more!” Ask yourself: Who for, what for, and when? You can then ask for strength from God when you face that person or situation that day to do what you see you should. When you fail miserably, confess to God but continue to apply what you learn. Grow stronger little by little! Spiritual muscles grow stronger, as it were, by exercise as you physical muscles.
As you continue you will find great blessing, for you will be listening to the whole counsel of God. This is a different attitude on your part to that which keeps us reading our favourite passages. The attitude we need is that of a disciple – Father, I want to talk with you, teach me, speak to me, remake and remould me. The attitude the devil wants us to have is that of a spiritual shopper – we will only listen to what we like, what we want. With this attitude, I don’t serve God, I think He is there to serve me, to bless me. Think: How can I bless God? How can I give Him joy today?
The order of the old Testament books is different in modern Bibles from that of Jesus’ day. This is because we moderns find history most important. The order of the Bible in Jesus’ day is found in Luke 24:44. It is The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. The whole section Psalms is called after the book of Psalms, as the first and most important book in that section. It’s other name in a Hebrew Old Testament is The Writings.
The Old Testament order in Jesus’ Old Testament is:
The Law – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
The Earlier Prophets – Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings
The Later Prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
The Writings (Sometimes just called the Psalms) Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles.
You immediately notice that what we moderns call the historical books – Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings – are thought of as books of prophecy. This should challenge what you might think prophecy is. The Apostle John gives a good definition of prophecy when he wrote: The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 19:10b Notice that prophecy is not Christian fortune telling, which is what many Christians believe. It is the testimony of Jesus. The history of Israel is prophetic.
Saul and David are both called Christs in those books (this is hidden in the english words Anointed One). The book of Judges explains why God’s people need a Christ. Joshua reveals that God’s Saviour is the one who can and does lead the people into God’s promised land. (Jesus is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Joshua.) Samuel and Kings portray why a Christ who spiritually as well as physically descends from Adam, will fail, even when he is God’s choice, as David was. These books tell us of what a good Christ is and why God had to send Jesus. The story of David and Goliath is very revealing testimony of Jesus – the Christ must deliver His people from their enemies, “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6
The book of Daniel is not listed with the prophets! While Daniel does contain prophecy, its main aim is revelation! Its function in the Old Testament is similar to the New Testament book Revelation. Revelation is about the revealing of Jesus Christ. It’s name is NOT Revelations (plural) – but Revelation. It is the one revelation about Jesus – who he is and what God has achieved and will achieve through Him. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.