A few years ago a woman visiting our church asked if I would study the Bible with her. This woman did not grow up in church and did not know much of anything about the Bible. She was unfamiliar with the most famous Bible stories that even non-church attenders seem to know and the Bible references that are part of the culture’s common vernacular. So, we were literally starting from scratch.
In order to give her a base of common knowledge about the Bible, I created two lists for her: “Top Ten Bible Stories to Know” and “Top Ten Passages to Read.” Going through these lists helped her to recognize the Bible characters and events that were most often cited in our congregation’s Bible classes and conversations and gave her a sweeping overview of the story of Scripture. Of course, she and I went much deeper in our study of the Bible, but these lists provided a baseline from which to begin.
This week on my blog I am going to provide you with the list of “Top Ten Passages to Read” that I gave to this woman. Today, we will start with the first three on the list.
The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17
The Ten Commandments represent the formation of Israel into a nation that will be used by God for his redemptive purposes. These commandments describe how to live in relationship with God and how to treat others in a way that reflects the character of God. For the Christian, these commandments are principles by which to center our lives.
The 23rd Psalm, Psalm 23
This is one of the most well-known passages of Scripture due to its use in speeches, movies, television, and funerals. It speaks of God as a shepherd who provides for and protects those who put their trust in him. It also points the reader to the reality of life beyond the grave, that one can “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The Reason for Worship, Psalm 100
This psalm helps to establish the activity of worship in the life of the reader by describing why worship is a natural reaction to God. We worship because “it is he who made us, and we are his.” We worship with a spirit of joy and gratitude because “the Lord is good and his love endures forever.” In worship, we are reminded that God’s “faithfulness continues through all generations.” These are indeed reasons to “shout for joy to the Lord,” to “give thanks to him and praise his name.”
In my next post I will share the next three passages on the list. Until then, why not take a few minutes to read the three passages of Scripture listed above? As you read, imagine that you are brand new to the Bible and ask yourself the following questions:
- What does this passage teach me about God?
- What does this passage teach me about myself?
- What would my life look like if I applied the teaching of this passage to my life?
Thanks for reading this post. Come back on Wednesday for the next 3 passages!