Read THE Book 2019

Welcome to RTB 2019, a place to read through the Bible in the year 2019 and stay in contact with others who are doing the same thing and have a little hand-holding as you go. Want to jump right in? You can click on the “Read THE Book 2019” tab above to find the most current weekly notes.

Some of my local friends know that I’ve been teaching through the Bible chronologically for many years. My goal was to help you sort out all that confusing timeline stuff so that when you read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, you have an understanding of where you are, when you are, and what was going on in the world at that time.

In 2017 I decided to do a trial run of a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year discussion group that met every week to discuss what we read as we followed a reading schedule using the traditional book by book order. Have I mentioned that “book by book order” does not flow chronologically? Nope – the books are grouped into sections, but they don’t always flow in the order that the events happened. So to help us along, I wrote a weekly reading guide with three sections: What’s Going On? When and Where Are We? And Who’s Who? This was a one page handout that gave you just a little head’s up about things I thought you might want to know at the beginning of each week’s assigned reading to help you keep your bearings. The trial run turned out to be a success for those who finished.

I have decided to go ahead and make those weekly notes available here on the website so that anyone can read along at their own pace. If you missed the January 1st start date, the notes are designed so that you can start at week 1 any time of year and begin your own journey to Read THE Book. Feel free to contact me and let me know how I can help get you started. It doesn’t matter to me how you use this information as long as it does what I always imagined it might do. If it helps you to Read THE Book, then I’m happy to know I’ve made it a little easier.

Want to be part of the local discussion group? There are two groups to choose from. One will meet in Scottsboro, AL at the First Methodist Church on Sunday nights at 5:00 PM. Another group meets at Jamoka’s Coffee shop in Guntersville, AL Mondays at noon.

And of course, I’ll be having several workshops throughout the year that give the overview of the whole Bible, known as “THE Bible Story.” I encourage anyone local to try to come to this workshop as it will really help you get all the chronology sorted out. You’ll even make your own timeline showing the major people and events from Genesis to Revelation and that will come in handy as you are reading. If you want to host a workshop at your church, just let me know

It is my prayer that anyone who is thinking about making a New Year’s Resolution to read through the Bible in 2019 will join with me and let’s make a commitment to each other to do it together! It seems like everything is just a little easier when you have friends who can share the same experience with you. The reading schedule will begin on January 1, 2019 and I’ll have all the information you need well before that, so keep checking back as I post new information here.

Let’s Do This!

Daily Reading Schedule [Word][PDF]
One-Sheet Schedule Overview [Word][PDF]

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Group Guidelines & Reading Schedule

Daily Reading Schedule [Word] [PDF]
One-Sheet Schedule Overview [Word] [PDF]

  • You may use any Bible translation that you are comfortable with.
  • I have scheduled readings for Monday through Saturday with an average of about five chapters a day. Take Sunday off, use that day to catch up, or read some Psalms.
  • Each Sunday I will post notes about what you will be reading the next week. These notes will have three sections: What’s Going On, When and Where Are We, and Who’s Who. These notes are designed to guide you as you read through the Bible and my way of pointing out some things I wish someone had told me the first time I read through the Bible. For example, there are places the books don’t go in chronological order and there are times that when you begin a new book things have changed significantly in the world. I’ll try to help you keep it all straight.
  • You can Subscribe to the blog so that you will get an email notification when a new blog is posted by adding your email on the right side of the screen and hit “Subscribe”
  • I will be leading local discussion groups and encourage you to attend if you can. Or form your own discussion group with friends where you can share your a-ha moments, questions, and reflections with each other. If you are flying solo, please stay connected by following along on the website and use the comments section if you want to ask questions or share your own thoughts. One big advantage to this format is anyone can begin their reading journey at any point in the year and follow along at their own pace.
  • If you are part of the discussion group and you get behind or take time off for vacation, illness, or unexpected what-not, I suggest you rejoin the group when you are able and pick up with where the group is reading. You might miss stuff. That’s ok! Read the notes from the weeks you missed and don’t try to catch up. The goal is to stay with the group so that you can be current on discussions. You can read what you missed later.
  • I have decided not to include the Psalms in our reading schedule. Suggestions for how you might read through them:
    • Read one Psalm every day. There are 150 so you will read each one at least twice
    • Read 3-5 Psalms every Sunday
    • Wait until December (we finish our plan on Nov 30th) and then read all of the Psalms by reading five or six Psalms each day of December
    • Work your way through the book of Psalms any way that works for you
    • I don’t normally recommend the King James Version for daily reading. But the Psalms are at their most beautiful in the KJV. Consider reading them in several different translations
  • Consider keeping a journal as you read through the Bible for personal reflection. Everyone has their own style, but you might want to keep notes and random thoughts as you go along. I filled up a large 5 subject notebook in 2017 with my own a-ha moments and I’ve read through the Bible many, many times.
  • Some weeks will be lighter than others. I tried to keep the readings even throughout, but I want us to come to natural breaks in the story at the end of each week.
  • On the master schedule, there is a place to mark what you’ve read with an X. It feels good to mark things off as you accomplish them!
  • I’ve built in two breaks. One is halfway through the Old Testament and the other is between the Old and New Testaments. Use these weeks to catch up if you need to.
  • If you have never read all the way through the Bible before, your goal is just to keep up and finish! If you have read through the Bible before, I suggest that each time you read it through you find a different goal for that year. For example, you might read a different translation or use a study Bible with notes, or you might use the various maps to follow the story by location, learn the Names of God and see how they are used differently in different passages, etc. The last time I read through the Old Testament, I underlined all the words that God spoke in red. The words of Jesus are often in red in the New Testament and I thought it would be good to see the Words of the Lord in the OT the same way.
  • If at any time you read something that troubles you, ask Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding. You may need to set something aside and trust that as the Lord wants you to learn something from that passage, He will bring it up at the right time. Don’t let it upset you if you struggle with some of the things you read. Bring it to the group and let’s talk about it. There are things that I struggle with, too. It’s ok. God knows our struggles and loves us anyway.

I suggest you begin each day with a prayer that might go something like this…..

Thank You, Father, for Your Word. Please guide me as I read today and help me understand what YOU would have me understand and absorb what YOU would have me absorb. Hide the words and the message in my heart so that I may carry it with me into everything I do. Open the eyes of my heart to what You would have me see, learn, know, and remember. Take me by the hand and walk with me on this journey. Send Holy Spirit to be my guide, my teacher, my helper, and my shield. In the Holy Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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Week 7: Numbers 1-19

 “and the Lord said, ‘Now hear what I have to say! When there are prophets among you, I reveal Myself to them in visions and speak to them in dreams.  It is different when I speak with My servant Moses; I have put him in charge of all My people Israel. So I speak to him face-to-face, clearly and not in riddles; he has even seen My form! How dare you speak against My servant Moses?’” Numbers 12:6-8 (GNT)

What’s Going On? The Book of Numbers is all about, well – numbers. There will be a census taken at the beginning of their journey to The Promised Land, which was only about 200 miles away. There are 603,550 men of fighting age, plus their families, plus the tribe of Levi. It is estimated that there are at least 2,000,000 total and possibly even more than that. The people of Israel are called to assemble in their family tribe units and placed in an orderly fashion around the Tabernacle. God is very specific in His instructions on how to do this. There is a grand dedication ceremony, they celebrate the Passover, and then head to the desert of Paran following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The people will learn some harsh lessons about rebellion and complaining along the way and a system of elders will be set up. Once they arrive at the outskirts of Canaan, twelve men are chosen, one from each tribe, to enter the land and then give a report to the people. The land is rich and fertile, but the inhabitants are large and fierce. Only Joshua and Caleb trust the Lord and vote to go in. The others are afraid and they choose not to go in. The constant complaining, opposition, and rebelling against Moses and the Lord will have harsh consequences. There will even be a full on rebellion against Moses, Aaron, and the priesthood. God will open the earth and swallow up those who led the revolt, reminding the people once again that He is their leader and will not stand for rebellion.

When and Where Are We? We start off at the foot of Mt. Sinai two years after leaving Egypt, about 1500 BC. The people have spent the last year building the Tabernacle and all of the things that will be used in service to the Lord. They will then begin the journey toward the land that had once belonged to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the land of Canaan – The Promised Land. The first nine chapters of the book cover the time of preparation for leaving Mt Sinai, and then in chapter 10 the cloud begins to move and they people begin their journey in the orderly fashion as the Lord had decreed. The next few chapters will cover 40 years as the Israelites travel around in the desert and a new generation is prepared to conquer The Promised Land.  

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – “The Lord spoke to Moses”  This phrase is used over 150 times in the book of Numbers
  • Aaron – Moses’ brother, the first High Priest of Israel
  • Eleazar and Ithamar – living sons of Aaron (after Nadab and Abihu are killed)
  • Hobab – Jethro/Reuel’s son, their guide through the desert lands
  • Miriam – Moses’ sister and prophetess
  • Joshua – Moses’ aide, one of the two that trust God to lead them into Canaan
  • Caleb – One of the twelve spies, along with Joshua, who votes to go into Canaan
  • The Twelve Tribes of Israel – The twelve tribes are named after the twelve sons of Jacob, with two exceptions. The tribe of Levi will be scattered among the other twelve tribes in order to serve as the priests to the whole community. The Levites will not march together in formation with the others but will be responsible for the Tabernacle and all of its equipment. There is not a tribe named after Jacob’s son Joseph. Instead, Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will each be heads of tribes thereby giving Joseph a double portion of the inheritance. These twelve tribes are Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Gad, and Naphtali.
  • Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites – the names of the family groups of the sons of Levi that would be used in service for the Lord. Korah, a Kohathite, will lead a rebellion against Moses and he and his supporters will be swallowed up by the earth. Moses and Aaron were also from the line of Kohath.

                                                             God is a God of order!

Weekly Reading Assignment:

Monday: Numbers 1-3
Tuesday: Numbers 4-6
Wednesday: Numbers 7-9
Thursday: Numbers 10-12
Friday: Numbers 13-15
Saturday: Numbers 16-19

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Week 6: Leviticus 1-27

“I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God;
therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45 W

What’s Going On?

In the Hebrew text, the book of Leviticus is a continuation from the book of Exodus and actually begins with the words “AND the Lord…” At the end of Exodus, the Tabernacle had been set up and is now ready to be used for both offerings and sacrifices. First things first, Aaron and his sons need to be ordained as priests so that they can oversee all that happens in the new “Worship Center” for the Israelites. This book served as a manual and a guidebook for the Levites who would serve as the priests. The theme of the book can be summed up in one word: HOLINESS. It’s important to notice that the instructions for holy living came after God had already rescued them from Egypt. Obeying the Law was not a condition of God’s rescuing His people – He had already done that. The Law was given because Man had already broken the once perfect relationship with God when sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden. Because of sin, man’s fellowship with God had been broken. God is Holy, and He cannot tolerate sin. So, a system is introduced in order for man to have a new kind of relationship with God that would include sacrifices, offerings, special feasts, and special instructions for right living. By following these instructions, God could continue to lead His people as He brings His three-fold promise to fruition. While we’re still a long way from the birth of Jesus, we are going to see glimpses of all that He represents and the desperate need of a Savior throughout the Old Testament and most especially here in the book of Leviticus. Most of the book of Hebrews will later show us how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and replaced by Christ in the New Covenant.

It’s important to remember that the people to whom these laws are given had spent the last 400 years as slaves in a foreign land. This group is now going to be forming a new society that will need guidelines in order to function and to keep their focus on God as the head of this nation of people before, during, and after settling into their new homeland. At the center of their lives would be the Tabernacle and at the center of the Tabernacle would be The Ark of The Covenant, and the Glory of the Lord would dwell inside the Most Holy Place. They were to be vigilant in following God, His instructions, His Law. The book of Leviticus explains how this is to be done through very specific details about the offerings, the laws concerning cleanliness, the moral laws, the regulations for the priests, and the annual feasts. All of these would serve as a constant reminder of the dependence on the Lord and His blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience. Of course, man wouldn’t be able to keep all of these regulations and when the time comes for Jesus to enter the world, the people would finally understand God’s ultimate act of mercy and grace for all people. The phrase, “I am the Lord your God” is repeated close to fifty times in the book of Leviticus and should be the most important thing we take away from our reading this week.

When and Where Are We?

The people of Israel are camped at the bottom of Mt. Sinai about 1500 BC. These events happen during the first year after leaving Egypt.

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – Prophet, Deliverer, Law-Giver
  • Aaron – Moses’ brother, spokesperson for the Lord, High Priest
  • Aaron’s sons – Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar
  • The Levites – the descendants of Levi, the third son of Jacob, who are chosen to serve the entire community of Israel as priests.

“Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.” Matthew 22:37-40 (TLB)

Weekly Reading Assignment:

  • Monday:  Leviticus 1-5
  • Tuesday:  Leviticus 6-9
  • Wednesday:  Leviticus 10-14
  • Thursday:  Leviticus 15-19
  • Friday:  Leviticus 20-24
  • Saturday:  Leviticus 25-27

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Week 5: Exodus 19-40

“Then the Lord said, ‘I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.’” Exodus 34:10

What’s Going On? 

Finally the Israelite people arrive at the foot of Mt Sinai, all 2+ million of them. They are now a free people, but all they had ever known was a life of slavery. It’s time for them to learn how to live as God’s Chosen People. When they arrive, Moses makes his first trip up the mountain where he receives instructions for how the people are to be consecrated in preparation for meeting with God, who appears “on the third day” with thunder and lightning, a thick cloud covering the mountain, and a loud trumpet blast. God then delivers the Ten Commandments, followed by other guidelines for living as God’s people. The Ten Commandments are probably the most familiar of the laws given to Moses, but there are many, many more laws and instructions included here and still more in the book that will follow. Notice in Exodus 23:22-31 how many times God says, “I will…” God establishes Himself as the leader of His people and promises to be their Guide, their Provider, and their Protector for the journey ahead.

These commands from God will be foundational to them as the group of wandering nomads will eventually become the Nation of Israel. These instructions will include how they are to live; how, when, and where they are to worship the Lord; and most importantly, how they are to be a humble and obedient people in order to receive the blessings of God. They were to be set apart, Holy unto the Lord and were expected to look to Him as the supplier of all their needs.  

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for us to see them lose sight of their special place as God’s people because by chapter 32 they grew impatient waiting for Moses and build the Golden Calf to “worship.” Unfaithfulness and idolatry are going to be a constant problem for the Israelites and the consequences will be great. However, God’s instructions will guide the people of Israel as they begin their journey back to the land that had been promised to their ancestors six hundred years earlier.

When and Where Are We?

Three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites are standing in the desert at the foot of Mt Sinai which is most likely near the southern tip of the Sanai Peninsula, although there is some debate over the actual location. The people will wait there at the campsite they have set up while Moses goes up and down the mountain several times. It looks to me like the people will spend almost a full year settled in this campsite. Mt Sinai is approximately 7,500 feet. The Great Smokey Mountains stand about 6,500 ft, so that gives us some perspective of the elevation! Just for fun, keep a tally of how many trips up and down the mountain Moses will make!  

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – prophet and leader of the Israelite people
  • Aaron – Moses’ brother and partner in communicating with the people
  • Nadab and Abihu – first two sons of Aaron; Eleazar and Ithamar are the younger two
  • Joshua – Moses’ aide
  • The Elders – Leaders in the group who were chosen and set in place as suggested by Jethro/Raoul
  • The Priests – Aaron, his sons, and their descendants will serve as the priests for all Israel
  • Bezalel and Oholiab – given special skills by God to make the things He had commanded them to make

“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways
so I may know You
and continue to find favor with You.”
Exodus 33:13

Weekly Reading Assignment:

  • Monday: Exodus 19-22
  • Tuesday: Exodus 23-26
  • Wednesday: Exodus 27-30
  • Thursday: Exodus 31-34
  • Friday: Exodus 35-37
  • Saturday: Exodus 38-40


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Week 4: Exodus 1-18

“I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt” “So now, go. I Am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.”             Exodus 3:7; 3:10

What’s Going On?

Moses, having told us the backstory of how the descendants of Abraham ended up in Egypt, now begins to tell his own story. Four hundred years will go by between the book of Genesis and the book of Exodus. During that time, Jacob’s family has grown from 70 to over a million and the first part of the 3-fold blessing has already come to pass – Abraham’s descendants have indeed grown into a very large family. Because there are so many of them, the Egyptians have made the Hebrews into slaves and have even commanded that the male Israelite children be killed in an attempt at population control. One Israelite woman defies the order and places her son in a basket in the river. That son, Moses, is rescued and adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh where he receives the finest education. But, when he sees a Hebrew slave being treated badly, he kills an Egyptian and then flees to Midian and settles down with Jethro/Raoul who is a descendant of Abraham through his second wife, Ketura. One day Moses hears the voice of God coming from a burning bush telling him to go back to Egypt to set the Israelites free. Moses returns and with the help of his brother, Aaron, asks the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Of course the Pharaoh refuses and God begins to bring plagues on the people of Egypt until finally, after the death of every first-born Egyptian son, Pharaoh orders them to leave Egypt. The Israelites have been spared from death by painting the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the doorway of every household so that the angel of death would “Pass Over” their households. Jews still commemorate this event every year when they celebrate Passover. Many years later, Jesus would be celebrating the Passover meal when He is betrayed at the Last Supper. As the Israelites are finally leaving Egypt, they are chased by Pharaoh’s army and trapped at the edge of the Red Sea until God holds the water back allowing them to cross on dry land. Safely on the other side, they witness the Egyptian army being swept away when the waters are allowed to rush back in and Moses, Aaron, and their sister Miriam along with all of the Israelite people celebrate their deliverance from Pharaoh, just as the Lord had told them they would. The people are given instructions and are even allowed to witness the Glory of the Lord as He speaks to Moses, and yet they grumbled and complained about their situation, blaming Moses for their hardships. Moses gets some help from Jethro/Raoul and sets up a system of judges to act as leaders within the community.

When and Where are We?

We begin in Goshen, in northern Egypt. It is now about 1500 BC, 500 years after Abraham. Moses flees Goshen to Midian near Mt Horeb which is called the Mountain of God, possibly the same location as Mt Sinai. Midian is named after one of Abraham’s younger sons and is most likely located east of the Sinai Peninsula in modern day Saudi Arabia. Moses then returns to Egypt where he miraculously leads the people through the Red Sea, into the Desert of Shur, and on to Elim where there is water and fertile ground. They then set out to the Desert of Sin where they see the Glory of the Lord! (I hope you caught that – the see the Glory of the Lord in the Desert of Sin.) They finally arrive at the outskirts of The Promised Land near Canaan where they are attacked by Amalekites at a place called Rephidim. This part of the story leaves the people back in the desert at the foot of Mt Sinai.

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – a descendant of Jacob through the family of Levi and God’s chosen prophet, teacher, and leader for the people of Israel as they begin their journey back to the land promised to Abraham
  • Jethro/Raoul – A priest in Midian who becomes Moses’ father-in-law when Moses marries his daughter Zipporah
  • Aaron – Moses brother, who will speak for Moses and become the leader of the Levite priests
  • Miriam – a prophetess, Moses’ older sister
  • Joshua and Hur – leaders in the fight against the Amalekites

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” Exodus 3:14a

Weekly Reading Assignment:


Monday: Exodus 1-4
Tuesday: Exodus 5-7
Wednesday: Exodus 8-9
Thursday: Exodus 10-12
Friday: Exodus 13-15
Saturday: Exodus 16-18

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Week 3: Genesis 27-50

“God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.’ So He named him Israel.” Genesis 35:10

What’s Going On?

This week we will get to know Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, whose name will be changed to “Israel” in chapter 32 and confirmed in chap 35. His offspring will become the Nation of Israel and it is this family we will follow throughout the Old Testament. We will see God’s promise of blessing pass from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and will go on to include the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel who will become the forefathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. One of those sons, Judah, will lead us to David and the Kings of Judah and will carry the promises of God all the way to Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise that all the world would be blessed by Abraham. Another son, Levi, will be the father of the line of priests that we will be following next week when we meet Moses. We’ll also meet Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son.  Joseph will be sold to slave-traders by his jealous brothers and be carted off to Egypt. Joseph will also carry God’s blessing, though, and circumstances will lead him to be in a position to later save his family when there is a famine in the land of his ancestors. God’s plans are bigger than man’s plans, and the end of the book of Genesis will leave all seventy members of the family of Israel together and living in peace in the land of Egypt. I highly recommend watching Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starring Donnie Osmond. You can find it on Youtube as a 20-part playlist by Hannah McKinney.

When and Where Are We?

Although it would be very difficult to pin a specific date to the early events of Genesis, we can now safely put the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at 2000-1800 BC. This week we begin in Canaan where Abraham had bought land in order to bury Sarah and where he himself would be buried in the Cave of Machpelah. Then we see Jacob flee to his uncle Laban in Haran with a stop at Bethel on the way. After 20 years in Haran, he’ll return to Bethel, and then home to Canaan. Joseph will be taken to Egypt and eventually the whole family will go to Egypt as well, where they will settle in the land of Goshen, outside Egypt. There are great map images and an explanation of locations at https://www.bible-history.com/maps/6-abrahams-journeys.html

Who’w Who?

  • Esau – Isaac’s older son who legally holds his birthright, Jacob’s younger twin; also called Edom in Gen 36
  • Jacob – Isaac’s younger son who will carry the promise given to Abraham; Esau’s twin who will trick his brother out of the birthright; ’ father to twelve sons; given the name ‘Israel’
  • Abimelech –possibly the son or grandson of the Abimelech of Genesis 20-21, King of Gerar
  • Laban – Rebekah’s brother, father of Rachel and Leah
  • Rachel and Leah – two of Jacob’s wives along with Bilhah and Zilpah – their two maids
  • Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin – the twelve sons of Jacob
  • Dinah – Leah and Jacob’s daughter; Shechem defiles her, Hamor – Shechem’s father
  • Tamar – marries Er, Judah’s first-born son, who dies; Tamar and Judah are parents of Perez
  • Pharaoh – King of Egypt
  • Potiphar – one of Pharaoh’s officials, his wife accuses Joseph of trying to sleep with her
  • Manasseh and Ephraim – sons of Joseph, will be included in the twelve tribes of Israel (replacing Levi and Joseph)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

This Week’s Reading Assignment:

  • Monday:  Genesis 27-30
  • Tuesday:  Genesis 31-34
  • Wednesday:  Genesis 35-38
  • Thursday:  Genesis 39-42
  • Friday:  Genesis 43-46
  • Saturday:  Genesis 47-50
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Week 2: Genesis 1-26

“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

What’s Going On?

The Bible begins with the story of how all things came to be. We see God with an orderly plan and His creation is brought forth at His Word. It’s important to realize that the book of Genesis was most likely written by Moses at least two thousand (or several billion?) years after the events of creation occurred. Moses is writing what had been handed down as oral tradition for many centuries. The stories of the creation, the first occupants of the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and the consequences for their sin, the years of sinful man that led to the time of Noah and the great flood, the rebuilding of the population, and the attempt to reach heaven by building the Tower of Babel are all told in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, thus establishing the world before the time of Abraham. We see a shift in the narrative in chapter 12 when we meet Abram. The story becomes much more detailed as we get to know the man who would later be called Abraham, “The Father of the Hebrew People.” In chapter 15 we read about a covenant ceremony that will mark out the future of Abraham’s descendants to be God’s Chosen People and the Promised Land that will later be known as Israel. The next nine chapters cover the lives of Abraham and Sarah and the miraculous birth of their son, Isaac who will grow up and marry Rebekah. Isaac and Rebekah will become the parents of Jacob and Esau. These three: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be known as the Patriarchs (forefathers) of Israel. So, within the chapters we will read this week, we will get to know the heritage of these three men and their importance in the history of the people who will later become the Nation of Israel. Pay attention to the promises that God makes to Abraham because they establish what I call the “three-fold promise” that 1) Abraham will have a big family, 2) God will give that family the land to live on, and 3) that all the world will be blessed through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). We will be watching throughout the Bible to see the family of Abraham grow into the Hebrew people. They will eventually come back to claim the Promised Land and it will be known as Israel. And we will follow the genealogies (all those hard to pronounce names) to show that Abraham’s lineage will, in fact, lead to Jesus who will be known as the Savior of the World.

When and Where Are We?

We begin before time began being measured. If we go by the scientists, it must have been millions of years ago. If we count up the generations and take them to be a precise record, we begin at least 6,000 years ago. In other words, we don’t have exact dates and we miss the point if we try to pin these dates onto our timeline until we get to Abraham, who lived about 2,000 BC. Our story begins in the land of Mesopotamia and the land of the Tigris and Euphrates which you can easily still find on a map today in southern Iraq. Then we learn about Mt Ararat which would be in modern day Turkey, Babel, the land known as Ur of the Chaldeans, Egypt, Bethel and Ai, Sodom and Gomorrah, Gerar, Beersheba, and we even get a glimpse of what would later be called Jerusalem in Genesis 14:17 in what they call the King’s Valley.

Who’s Who?

  • Adam and Eve – the first man and woman of God’s creation and their sons Cain and Abel
  • Noah – The man God chose to survive the flood
  • Shem, Ham, and Japheth – the children of Noah who will begin to repopulate the earth.
  • Abram – later is called Abraham, becomes the Father of the Hebrew Nation
  • Sarai, later called Sarah – Abram’s wife
  • Lot – Abram’s nephew
  • Hagar and Ishmael – The maid that Abram sleeps with and the son that is produced
  • Isaac and Rebekah – Isaac is the son of Abraham and Rebecca becomes his wife
  • Abimelech – the king of Gerar
  • Jacob and Esau – sons of Isaac, grandsons of Abraham. Jacob will later be called Israel.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (NIV)

This week’s reading assignment:

  • Monday:  Genesis 1-4
  • Tuesday:  Genesis 5-9
  • Wednesday:  Genesis 10-14
  • Thursday:  Genesis 15-18
  • Friday:  Genesis 19-22
  • Saturday:  Genesis 23-26
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Week 1: John 1-21

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

What’s Going On?

We are going to start our reading journey, not on page one, but with the climax of the story. I believe that everything written in the Bible is connected to Jesus so it makes sense to me that we ought to start out with the account of His human life. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is going to begin at least four thousand years before we meet Jesus in person. But even before we look at how everything got started as recorded in the book of Genesis, I want us to have Jesus at the forefront of our minds. Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that Jesus was the “Firstborn over all creation” so even before we look at how the earth was formed and how the creation of all things began, we know that Jesus was there as part of the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Next week we’ll go back and start at the very beginning and see how the whole Bible is really just the story of how desperately the world needed a Savior, a Messiah, and how Jesus came to walk the earth in human form in order that God’s will for mankind could be fully carried out through Him.

John sat at the feet Jesus and heard His Words, saw Him perform miracles, watched as He was killed and then rose from the dead. John witnessed how the Gospel message spread throughout the earth and forever changed what was known about salvation. Years later, through the help of the Holy Spirit, he wrote down everything he wanted us to know about Jesus. There were already three other accounts of the life of Jesus, and we’ll read those when we get to the New Testament in September. But John had outlived all of the other disciples, he had read the words they had written, and he believed there was more to the story. The other three gospel accounts tell us more about what Jesus did, but John is the one who is going to tell us what it all meant.

So, before we start at the very beginning, let’s start with the words of John. I can’t help but sing “Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear. Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here. Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea; stories of Jesus – tell them to me!” Let’s spend this first week together reading the story of Jesus as told by the one who knew those stories better than anyone and through divine wisdom, tells us about Jesus the Messiah, the Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

When and Where Are We?

The events take place around 30 AD and center around the areas known as Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem in the land we know as Israel. Of course, there was no timeline known as BC and AD at the point these things took place. In fact, the events of this story are so world changing that because of them, all of time would forever be marked as Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) which is Latin for “In The Year of Our Lord.”  

Who’s Who?

  • Jesus, the Son of God, made flesh to live in human form, in order to save the world by giving Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so that sinful man would have access to the sinless God through the salvation offered to anyone who believes in Him.  
  • John, was both a disciple (student) and an apostle (messenger); the author of this book, was one of the twelve Disciples who walked most closely with Jesus during His earthly ministry.
  • John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who was sent to help prepare the world for Jesus. He preached out in the wilderness and was known for baptizing those who wanted to repent of their sins.
  • The twelve disciples: brothers Peter (also called Simon) and Andrew, the brothers James and John (the author of this book), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon (another Simon), and Judas (the one who will betray Jesus)

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.”   John 20:31

This week’s reading assignment:

  • Monday:
  • Tuesday: John 1-4
  • Wednesday: John 5-9
  • Thursday: John 10-14
  • Friday: John 15-17
  • Saturday: John 18-21
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