Welcome to my Introduction to the Bible Series. If you are new to the Bible this series is written just for you and I pray it will be a blessing to you. These articles will be written with the assumption that you are a Christian, the Bible sometimes confuses you, but you really want to better understand it. If you are not new to the Bible but these things apply to you, then I pray this series will be equally blessing to you. You might learn some new things and get a better grasp on the Bible. Or you might just be able to use this series to help your friends who are new to the Bible become acquainted with it.
I am going to take a little different approach than most pastors, theologians and Bible teachers have when they do a series like this. My goal with this series is not going to be to teach you the Bible. That may not make a lot of sense but bear with me for just a moment. You will undoubtedly learn a lot about the Bible through this series. However, my primary goal is:
To introduce the Bible to you in such a way that you will feel more comfortable reading and studying it for yourself, and more confident in your ability to understand it.
I love to teach the truths of the Bible to others. It is even more gratifying to me when my teaching results in other people feeling more comfortable reading and studying the Bible for their selves. Becoming more confident in their ability to understand the Bible will empower you to spend more time in your Bible. I have discovered that most people don’t read or study the Bible for their selves simply because it intimidates them or makes them uncomfortable. Reasons for this vary but most of the time it boils down to two things:
- The Bible often comes off as a complicated book to people who are new to it.
- Because the Bible can often seem complicated to us sometimes trying to read and understand it makes us feel intellectually inadequate.
“Intellectually inadequate” is a nice way of saying sometimes we feel stupid when we try to read and understand the Bible because it can often feel like such a challenge to understand what it’s talking about. The Bible can be intimidating in this aspect because nobody likes feeling dumb. We have a tendency to stay away from those things that we feel are beyond our range of intellectual capabilities. Unfortunately, for most Christians the Bible falls in that category because it just seems so complicated. This feeling is best summed up by the following question which lingers in the back of most people’s mind when they want to start reading and understanding the Bible:
Where do I start?
We often stare at the Bible scratching our heads in confusion as if we were standing in front of a life size maze with a thousand entrances. We know there is some good stuff to be found in the maze. We know there is ultimately a final destination to be arrived at through travelling the maze. But we just aren’t sure which entrance we should take in order to make sure we can find all the good stuff and get to that final destination. Well the Bible really isn’t a maze although it can feel like that sometimes. And if the Bible intimidates you because it seems like it’s just too complicated sometimes (and that’s honestly why you don’t read it much), then this series will be perfect for you.
Here is the paradox or what some might call the catch 22. In order to boost your confidence in your ability to understand the Bible, and your comfortableness with reading it, the following articles in this series will contain a lot of teaching from the Bible and about the Bible. So be ready to learn. The more people know about the Bible the more confident and comfortable they are with reading and studying it. I want to be extra clear though that the teaching, the imparting of knowledge, is simply a means to an end. The end objective is to empower you and set you on a path to reading and understanding the Bible for yourself. The Bible calls us to seek after wisdom and understanding and I’m praying this series will help to set those who are new to the Bible on that path. Check out what Proverbs 4:7-9 says:
“Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Throw your arms around her –believe me, you won’t regret it; never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious. She’ll garland your life with grace, she’ll festoon your days with beauty.” (The Message Bible)
How about that? Put it at the top of your list to get wisdom and understanding and you won’t regret it. She’ll (a personification of wisdom and understanding) make your life glorious; garland your life with grace; and festoon your days with beauty. Sounds pretty good to me.
The first thing we are going to look at is: Where do I start? Something else we are definitely going to look at is how to determine the context of a passage and understand it in its proper context. I want to cover this because you will continuously here me talking about keeping things in context. Well… what in the world does that mean and what does it look like? We will also look at other things like:
- A general overview of the Bible
- Why do I need a good study Bible?
- Historical and contextual backdrop of various books of the Bible
- An overview of important biblical teachings (This will be things like the Trinity, Salvation, Heaven, Hell, the Church, the Deity of Christ, etc. I will not attempt to cover these things in depth but simply provide an introduction/overview and point you to some other resources for further reading.)
- Why does the Bible seem so complicated sometimes?
- What’s the difference between the different translations? (I will also discuss in this lesson which one I prefer to use and why.)
- What is God’s plan for us?
- Our call to Christ-likeness: What does this mean and how do we get there?
These are just a few of the things we will look at just from some of the questions and suggestions I have gotten within the last few hours. I hope you are ready to conquer your fear of the Bible, and learn your way around it! (And just a heads up, topics may not be covered in the order they are listed above.) I’m excited! Hope you are too!