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I’ve heard it said that someone who aspires to read the entire Bible shouldn’t just sit down, starting with Genesis 1:1, and read straight through to Revelation 22:21 for as long as it would take.
Since I don’t always follow such advice, I started just that process. I did just fine until I reached the books of Kings and 1 Chronicles. This last book lists the names of generations of Israelites, going on and on about whose sons were whose. How do you even pronounce some of those names?
The whole time I’ve been thinking of the words from 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Some people these days might say, “The Old Testament doesn’t matter, so let’s not be concerned about the books in it. The New Testament is what counts these days.”
But to such people, we need to say, “But Timothy was talking about the Old Testament. The New Testament wasn’t even yet complete.”
Thus, what I’ve been wondering is: What I am supposed to be getting out of a list of begats and details about what happened to these people? First of all, they give us the history of these earlier peoples, what they experienced and how they were related to each other. They even give us the family history of Jesus, descending from the house of David.
Second, they show us what happened to the people who didn’t obey God, but instead followed their own way. In each case, they came to a bad end. If they had listened to God, then their lives would have been better and they would have been at peace.
In a recent sermon I heard, Charles Stanley talked about the importance of knowing God’s will for our lives. I know He wants me to read the Bible — and I will, but maybe now in a different way!
Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.