Monthly Archives: October 2019

Off the Shelf: Week 8 (Oct. 27-Nov 2) | Bible Reading Plan

THE BIBLE IN 10 MINUTES, 5 DAYS A WEEK

If you missed last week’s plan, check out week 7 here.

WEEK EIGHT

Hello, and welcome to week eight of the Off the Shelf bible reading plan. We hope the last two weeks have helped you better understand the function and purpose of the prophetic books. This week we will finish our reading in the Old Testament as we read from the books of Nehemiah and Esther. In the bible, we can find both of these books before the wisdom literature we looked at in week five. However, from a historical perspective, these books take place following the prophets. In fact, they take place as God’s people begin to return from exile.

You may remember that in 586 BCE, God allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and carry the people of Judah off to captivity in Babylon. In 539 BCE, Persia overthrew Babylon to become the greatest power in the known world. In that same year, Cyrus, the king of Persia, decreed that all exiles of all religions could return to their lands to rebuild their temples. This allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem to begin to rebuild it. The book of Nehemiah begins almost 100 years later. Nehemiah not only helped rebuild the city but also helped restore God’s people to covenant relationship with him. We will spend the first three days this week reading from the book of Nehemiah.

The last two days this week, we will read from the book of Esther. The book of Esther takes place in modern Iran in a similar time frame as Nehemiah. This book is a story in the life of God’s people, in which the power of the Persian empire threatens them.

DAY 1  |  Today we will read the first two chapters of the book of Nehemiah. These two chapters set the stage for the work Nehemiah would do to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Today, read Nehemiah 1-2

DAY 2  |  Today we will read Chapter 4 of Nehemiah.  This chapter records the opposition Nehemiah faced as he led the people in rebuilding the wall.  Today, read Nehemiah 4.

DAY 3  |  In Nehemiah Chapter 6 the wall is finally finished.  This is an important event in the book, but not nearly as important as what happens in Chapters 8-10. In these three chapters, the people read God’s law (the first five books of the Bible), confess their sin, and make an agreement about how they are going to commit themselves to God.  Today, read Nehemiah 8-10.

DAY 4  |  Today we will read the first two chapters of Esther.  As I mentioned above, this story gives us a snapshot of God’s people living in the Persian Empire. Today, read Esther 1-2

DAY 5  |  Today we will read chapters 3 and 4 of Esther.  If you have time this week, we would encourage you to read the rest of this book.  One thing that makes the book of Esther unique is that God is not mentioned in the book.  However, the paradox presented by the story of Esther is that God is powerfully present even when he is not overtly mentioned in the book. Today, read Esther 3-4

AN IMPORTANT NOTE:
As we mentioned at the beginning of this week, this week’s readings conclude our reading in the Old Testament. For the rest of this reading plan, we will be reading from the New Testament. However, it is important to note that there are 400 years between the latest writings in the Old Testament and the first writings in the New Testament. These 400 years are sometimes called the silent years. While we do not have specific details in our Bible about what happened during this period, we do know that there were many developments in history and society. The most notable events during these 400 years were the rise of the Greek and Roman empires. Please keep this in mind as you prepare for next week’s readings.

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Off the Shelf: Week 7 (Oct. 20-26) | Bible Reading Plan

THE BIBLE IN 10 MINUTES, 5 DAYS A WEEK

If you missed last week’s plan, check out week 6 here.

WEEK SEVEN

Hello, and welcome to week seven of the Off the Shelf bible reading plan. This week, we conclude our two-week look at the Prophetic Books in the bible. As a reminder from last week, this section of the bible starts after the wisdom books and goes through the remainder of the Old Testament. In total, this section contains seventeen books. While these books come after the wisdom books in the bible, they are actually historical accounts and writings of the prophets that correlate to the time frame of the readings we did in week four.

Last week, we read from four different prophetic books. These four books are considered minor prophets. This week we are going to read from the major prophets, specifically the book of Isaiah. As a reminder, minor and major are terms that relate to the length of these books, not their value.

As we mentioned last week, prophets were God’s appointed messengers, sent to call his people to turn from their sin and return to right relationship with him. The books we read last week primarily dealt with judgment and destruction. While the book of Isaiah also contains prophetic warnings, it also includes a good deal of theology as well as prophecies about the coming Messiah.

DAY 1  |  Today we will read the first two chapters of the book of Isaiah. In these chapters, God uses Isaiah to address the rebellious people of Israel and describe the cleansing and restoration that would be in their future. Today read Isaiah Chapters 1 and 2.

DAY 2  |  Today we will read Isaiah chapter six. This is a short chapter, so take the time to read this chapter slowly. Chapter six is regarded as Isaiah’s commissioning. In this chapter, Isaiah experiences God in all his glory, he is cleansed, and then he responds to God’s concerns by offering himself as a messenger. Today read Isaiah 6

DAY 3  |  Today we will read chapter forty of Isaiah. This chapter is pivotal in the book of Isaiah, and it sets up the rest of the book. This chapter deals directly with the concerns God’s people were going to have when they were carried off to exile. Specifically, he knew they would wonder if God could and would deliver them. Keep that in mind today as you read Isaiah 40

DAY 4  |  Today we will read chapters fifty-two and fifty-three of Isaiah. These chapters are full of prophecies that describe the coming Messiah. Chapter 53 is referenced 35 times in the New Testament regarding Jesus. Keep these things in mind as you read Isaiah chapters 52 and 53 today. 

DAY 5  |  Today we will read chapters fifty-four and fifty-five of Isaiah. These chapters are an invitation to deliverance. In light of the prophecies in chapters fifty-two and fifty-three, God invites Israel back into the relationship with him that began at Mount Sinai. Chapter fifty-five is explicitly a call for them to respond quickly to his invitation.  Today read Isaiah chapters 54 and 55

Thank you for joining us this week. Join the conversation at Off the Shelf Facebook Group!


THE BIBLE IN 90 DAYS
Also, If you are looking for a challenge, it’s not too late to jump into the Bible in 90 days plan. This plan is designed to walk you through the Bible over the course of just three months. That works out to 12 pages of reading each day—a commitment, but certainly manageable, and one that’s well worth making.
Start plan here: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13-bible-in-90-days

 

 

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Off the Shelf: Week 6 (Oct. 13-19) | Bible Reading Plan

THE BIBLE IN 10 MINUTES, 5 DAYS A WEEK

If you missed last week’s plan, check out week 5 here.

WEEK SIX

Hello, and welcome to week six of the Off the Shelf bible reading plan. We hope week five was an opportunity for you to get a taste of the wisdom literature in the Bible. This week, we begin a two-week look at the Prophetic Books in the Bible. This section of the Bible starts after the wisdom books and goes through the remainder of the Old Testament. In total, this section contains seventeen books. While these books come after the wisdom books in the Bible, they are actually historical accounts and writings of the prophets that correlate to the time frame of the readings we did in week four. In other words, the events of these books took place during the time of the kings before Israel was captured by Assyria, and Judah was captured by Babylon.

So, what is a prophet? A prophet was God’s messenger to his people and other people groups. Primarily, they spoke God-given messages to God’s people to explain where they were off track, to urge them to return to the covenant, and to remind them of what would happen if they disobeyed. While their messages were often heavy and harsh, they were also fueled by God’s love for his people and his desire for them to return to him.

This week, we will be reading from four different prophetic books, which will give us a snapshot of what these books are about. The books we are reading this week are all considered minor prophets. Next week we will read from the major prophets. The terms minor and major have nothing to do with their importance or value. These are terms used to describe the length of the books. The minor prophets are much shorter books. This week we begin with the book of Hosea.

DAY 1  | Today we will read the first two chapters of the book of Hosea.  It is important to note that while the prophets were God’s messengers, they often faced great difficulty because of their role.  Sometimes, God even asked them to do difficult things to help his people understand the message.  As we will see in Chapters 1 and 2 of Hosea, God asked Hosea to do something incredibly difficult. Today, read Hosea chapters 1 and 2.   

DAY 2 | Today we will read chapters three and four of Hosea. These chapters contain Hosea’s reconciliation with his wife and then God’s warning against Israel. This is a challenging passage to read, but we need to keep in mind that God did all of this because he genuinely wanted to be in relationship with his people.  Today, read Hosea chapters 3 and 4

DAY 3 | Today we leave the story of Hosea and jump into another message from God through the prophet Joel. In the book of Joel, God uses a natural catastrophe to remind his people of their sin and call them back to obedience.  In the midst of this awful event, we also get to see God’s care for his people. Today, read Joel chapter 2

DAY 4 | Today we are reading from the prophet Amos.  In chapters three and four we get another glimpse at the coming judgment against Israel for their disobedience.  As with all the readings this week, these chapters remind us of how seriously God takes our sin, and how deeply he desires for us to return to right relationship with him. Today, read Amos chapters 3 and 4

DAY 5 | For our final reading this week, we are reading Habakkuk chapters 1 and 2.  In these chapters we get to listen in on a conversation between Habakkuk and God.  Habakkuk questions God about his silence and why he would use an evil nation to accomplish good.  Today read Habakkuk chapters 1 and 2 to hear God’s answers. 

Thank you for joining us this week. Join the conversation at Off the Shelf Facebook Group!


THE BIBLE IN 90 DAYS
Also, If you are looking for a challenge, it’s not too late to jump into the Bible in 90 days plan. This plan is designed to walk you through the Bible over the course of just three months. That works out to 12 pages of reading each day—a commitment, but certainly manageable, and one that’s well worth making.
Start plan here: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13-bible-in-90-days

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Off the Shelf: Week 5 (Oct. 6-12) | Bible Reading Plan

THE BIBLE IN 10 MINUTES, 5 DAYS A WEEK

If you missed last week’s plan, check out Week 4 here.

WEEK FIVE

Hello, and welcome to week five of the Off the Shelf bible reading plan. We hope week four was an opportunity to reflect on the way God delivered his people to the promised land, and who he chose to lead his people. Last week, we ended by looking at the beginning of King David’s reign. If we had continued to read the rest of 2 Samuel, we would have seen some of the horrible missteps King David made as Israel’s leader. However, despite these actions, David was known as a man after God’s own heart. He genuinely loved God and strove to lead the people to follow God.

Unfortunately, the same thing can not be said of many of the kings who came after David. Only two generations after David, God’s people had forsaken him. Because of their sin, God allowed the kingdom to be divided, and ten of the tribes separated from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The ten northern tribes became known as Israel, and the two southern tribes became known as Judah. As we look at the books of 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, we see story after story of God’s people being unfaithful to him. While some of the kings of Israel and Judah were godly kings who led the people toward God, many were evil and led the people astray.

As we step into this week’s reading, we are going to look at a section of Scripture called Wisdom Literature. This section is between the historical books, which we looked at last week, and the prophets, which we will look at in the next three weeks. This section contains five books. Three of the books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, are considered wisdom books. These books focus on the significant issues of life and what it means to respond to those in godly wisdom. The other two books: Psalms and Song of Songs are considered lyrical writings. These two books are remarkably different, but they both are essential to our overall understanding of the Old Testament.

DAY 1  | Today we will read the first and last chapter of the book of Job. This book is a story of undeserved suffering and God’s relationship with Job amid the suffering. Throughout the book, we see Job’s friends offering their insight on Job’s suffering. Toward the end, we get to see God’s responses.  Today read Job Chapter 1 and Chapter 42 for a snapshot of the book of Job. 

DAY 2  | Today will be the first of three days we spend reading from the book of Psalms. The book of Psalms is a collection of five books of song lyrics. Many of these songs were worship songs or prayers used by God’s people to worship him. Many different men wrote these songs, but almost half of them are attributed to King David. Today, read:

  • Psalm 1  This Psalm contrasts the way of the wicked and the way of the righteous.  It emphasizes the importance of staying rooted in God’s Word.  
  • Psalm 23  This is a well-known Psalm that focuses on the power of God being with us.

DAY 3  |  Today we continue our reading in Psalms. Today, read:

  • Psalm 51  This is a psalm of confession written by King David in response to his sin against Bathsheba and her husband.
  • Psalm 103  This too is a psalm written by David, only this Psalm is written as a psalm of praise that focuses on God’s love and justice.

DAY 4  |  Today we conclude our reading in Psalms. Today, read:

  • Psalm 139  This is another well-known Psalm. This Psalm focuses on David’s trust in God as he navigates enemies in his life.
  • Psalm 150  This is the final Psalm in the book.  It contains a powerful call to worship God for who he is and all he has done.

DAY 5  | Today we will read the first two chapters of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a book of wisdom written by Solomon, King David’s son. This book focuses on godly living, both in our relationship with God and with one another.  Today, read Proverbs Chapters 1 and 2

Thank you for joining us this week. Join the conversation at Off the Shelf Facebook Group!


THE BIBLE IN 90 DAYS
Also, If you are looking for a challenge, it’s not too late to jump into the Bible in 90 days plan. This plan is designed to walk you through the Bible over the course of just three months. That works out to 12 pages of reading each day—a commitment, but certainly manageable, and one that’s well worth making.
Start plan here: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13-bible-in-90-days

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