As a child I enjoyed growing up going to church, and being taught biblical principals and reading all the cool Bible stories. I attended Sunday school and youth group and went to all the church meetings and conferences; my parents had both been to Bible college and had imparted a lot of their knowledge to me and my brothers. I had all the knowledge and understanding, or so I thought. However something was missing.
As I got older and began to make my parents faith my own, I stopped reading my Bible. What was the point? I knew everything there was to know anyway, at least that’s what it seemed like. I had heard all the sermons on every topic imaginable and there were hardly ever any new revelations about the Bible. Every once in a while a pastor would add a tidbit of relevant cultural or historical background to their message and I would drink it in. It was never enough to satisfy my thirst though. I couldn’t comprehend how thirsty I was for the Bible to come alive to me again.
Years went by between the tidbits and I began to itch for more information. On occasion I would look into going to Bible college or taking a theology course, but it never felt like the right time or the right fit. Until finally God led me to the right course at the right time, the Discipleship Bible School (DBS) this past July. God did not disappoint. He brought me to a course with one of the main focuses being to understand the cultural and historical background of the Bible.
I learned very quickly that I didn’t have much true knowledge or understanding about the Bible. The way I had read the Bible before had been through the lens of western society and that the Bible was written to me. But as my class and I learned more and more about who the Bible was actually written to and why it was written and about the cultural context of the Israelites, it began to come alive. I started to see more of who God was and to understand how He was trying to communicate with me through the Israelites’ story.
I could now connect the whole story together, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. I could understand more of why certain things happened and why what God said to the Israelites was so radical. The story finally began to make sense and have a purpose in my life.
Now, there is still a lot that I don’t understand about the Bible. But I have been given a foundation to build on and tools with which to do so. Here are a few resources that have helped me to set the foundation and now build on it.
- good for short and concise videos on topics, words and overviews of books of the Bible
- good for looking at the original Hebrew or Greek, text commentaries, and cross references
- good for historical and cultural context
Have fun exploring the Bible!