Why does Jesus make a difference? Why does someone who lived a very long time ago make it any better now? Why should I hope? Why should I care? What is the point of Jesus anyway?
The answer to these questions is found in the Bible, but the problem with the Bible is that it is very long and complex. It is difficult to know where to start. Many people start reading it like any other book at page 1 and move on to the end, usually giving up by page 45. Why? Because we know the end of the story, or we think that we do and the Bible is so strange in parts. The Bible was written in a different age in a different language and culture so can seem very alien to us. It is a bit like when we watch a French film, even though it has subtitles the plot can be difficult to follow as it is taken from a different culture. French culture is different to ours but far more similar than the culture of the biblical peoples. Despite this people still seem to think that they should be able to understand it very easily. So when we do try and read the Bible for the first time it can be quite distressing as it can make very little sense.
The Bible can be thought of like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ a long and complex saga. What most people know about Christianity is a hotchpotch of snapshots from the Bible, individual stories and how they all tie together is a bit of a mystery. So to attempt to remedy this problem I have picked out 40 stories from the Bible, beginning at the beginning and working through to the end. Each reading has some ‘Top Tips’ to put it into context and help us understand what it means. So by the end you should have an overview of the whole story of Christianity and an answer to why Jesus is so important.
It is vital that we read the Bible in the context of prayer. The Bible is not like any other book it is the word of God. God is trying to reveal himself to us in the stories that we read. In a way we are entering into a conversation with him, we are asking God how he has revealed himself to people in the past. We should then be able to see how God is acting in our lives. The story of the Bible is not a remote collection of ancient stories but is our story too. After all, the same God of Abraham, Jacob and Jeremiah, is our God today. Prayer can be difficult, so on the following page are some tips to get you started. Even if you have never picked up a Bible before you can join in.
At the bottom of the page are 40 posts which start at the beginning of the Bible and take you all the way through to the end in just 40 readings. This can be done over 40days or you can read through at whatever pace you like. It is a prayer guide really a way to begin to get to know God and the wonderful story of his love for all of us.
Top Tips to get you started
The Place and Time:
Try and pick a time which is convenient to you each day and fits into your daily routine. E.g. before breakfast, after tea or after the children have eventually gone to sleep. Pick a place which is quiet and uncluttered, make the place special by decorating it with pictures of special people, churches or cuttings from the newspapers. All these will remind you what you want to pray about. There is no right way of doing this, be creative, this is your time with God.
Be Still: Before you start look up the reading and Psalm and bookmark them. Take a few seconds to be still, lighting a candle helps here.
What is a Psalm?
These are like hymns in church except they are the same hymns that Jesus and all the saints have said over the centuries. In saying these we are literally doing what Jesus did. Say these aloud and slowly & quietly pausing after every verse. This does feel silly at first but stops you rushing. Pause briefly after the reading to help it sink in. Click on each day below to work through the Bible in just 40 Days.