I grew up in the church and of course I grew up learning the treasured Bible stories of both the Old and New Testaments and memorizing Bible verses. Occasionally in my teens and twenties I would flip through and read passages, mostly from Psalms and Proverbs. The books of Judges, Deuteronomy, and Revelations however, I tended to avoid like the plague. The Old Testament is full of laws and rules and geneology that, honestly, is pretty dry reading. And Revelations? Well, I just could never bring myself to read about Christ's return. I always became anxious thinking about what the end of the world will be like. I must say though, after reading the entire Bible I found Revelations one of the most fascinating books in the Bible.
One of my favorite passages from Revelations comes from ch. 21 vs. 3-4;
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. there will be no moe death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
How comforting are these words. No more pain, the old ways are gone and God is with us! What wonderful promises Revelations holds!
As I worked through the Bible I used Halley's Bible Handbook: An Abbreviated Bible Commentary (Bible Handbook Series) to help me understand passages and the historical context of the Bible. Maybe that's why it took me so long, I was reading two books and I'm still not finished with Halley's!! I enjoyed his commentary even if it is fifty years old. I felt he had a lot to say that pertains to Christians today.
About the book of Revelations he writes;
There are many interpretations of the book of Revelation. And every one has its difficulties. Whatever interpretation is accepted, some detials require straining to fit.
To us, it seems, taking the language in its most apparent meaning, that the simplest, most obvious, most natural, most evident, and most reasonable interpretation is a sort of combination of the Historical and Futurist interpretations.
Some writers, and preachers, and others, greatly overdo Revelation, or rather their pet ideas of it. And, on that account, in part, at least, others stay away from it altogether. Both attitudes are wrong. the book should neither be neglected, nor over exalted above other Bible books. But surely it is entitled to, and will greatly reward, a reasonable share of a Christian's study and devotion.
I know today's post isn't exactly a devotion but I found it exciting to have finished the Bible and wanted to share a bit of my experiences.
Do you use a handbook or guide when studying the Bible? Please share!