Reading the Bible: Where do I start?
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Proverbs is an easy place to begin your Bible reading.
When I was little, a wise man from our church showed me Proverbs 20:11 which states, "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his works be true or whether they be right." KJV. I remember as a little girl thinking about how people know you by what you do. Did I want to be a known as a little girl who was sweet and kind or did I want to be that little girl no one wanted to watch or to be around? I think it was at that moment when I first fell in love with the book of Proverbs. I understood it. It wasn't hard to grasp like some of the other books in the Bible. Proverbs uses simple statements and word pictures of common sense.
The book of Proverbs was written mostly by King Solomon. He was the son of King David. His mother was Bathsheba, the woman David saw bathing from his palace roof and later had an affair with. The Bible states that when Solomon came of age, he was nervous about running the kingdom of Israel. God told him to ask for whatever he wanted and it would be given to him. Solomom, instead of asking for riches, peace from his enemies, or long life, asked for wisdom to rule the numerous Isrealite people. God was so impressed with his request that He gave him wisdom, riches, peace, and a long life. He said that there would never be another man on the earth, before or after, who would be wiser than King Solomon. Appropriately, Proverbs is called the book of Wisdom.
Proverbs is written in 31 chapters- one for every day of the month.They are short and easy to read. On months of less than 30 days I read two chapters. I never loose my place or forget what I have read the day before. With four kids, reading the Bible can be a challenge but everything about Proverbs make it a natural devotional.
Reading Proverbs has really helped me in my walk with the Lord. I find at times when I am struggling with a decision, verses come into my head and I know what to do. Proverbs has advice on everything from overeating, taking care of your yard, being a good parent, not loosing your temper, sex, and controlling your tongue.
Because it is written in a back and forth manner, the verses are easy to remember. They flow naturally from one line to the next. The verses use animals and nature to teach common sense wisdom. "You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy-do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!" Prov. 6:6-11 The Message. Very clearly, it states that you should work hard and do your best. I like the way it refers to something that can be seen in nature.
Solomon repeatedly uses the symbolism of a woman to refer to wisdom. "Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart; fools never even get to say hello."Prov. 14:33 The Message. He talks of how important it is to find her (Wisdom) and of how you should hold onto her. In a biblical world mostly dominated by men, I find this wording extremely fascinating.
The book of Proverbs reminds me of the importance of inner beauty. In a world that focuses so much on what a person looks like, Proverbs looks to the soul. It talks of letting the Lord direct your steps each day, of looking to Him for direction in your life and of finding peace in your heart. It speaks of mean people and of how there is injustice in the world. These are the common situations of our everyday lives. It tells us that good friends are rare to find and that they should be treasured. Proverbs consistently mentions the importance of watching you words and of thinking before you speak.
Proverbs concludes with chapter 31. It speaks of how good it is to find a good wife. It tells of how much her husband loves and trusts her. It speaks of how her children will rise up and bless her. As a mother and wife, these are really beautiful things to read and to strive toward. It is a lovely ending to this wonderful book of the Bible.
I enjoy reading Proverbs in The Message. The Message is written in a modern day language that is easy to follow and to understand. Whatever translation you prefer, Proverbs speaks to the heart. I highly recommend the youversion app. It is completely free and can be downloaded to your phone, your computer, your ipad, your kindle, your nook, your android or any other electronic device. With the youversion app, you can read the Bible in any form of language that you enjoy. There are so many to choose from. Now that you have choices on where and how to read your Bible, I recommend starting with the book of Proverbs. I hope you find it an exciting beginning to your exploration of the Bible..