Reading the Bible Chronologically

It has been my habit over the past many years to read through the Bible every year. Most of the time I have followed a Bible chart where I read a portion in the Old Testament and a portion of the New Testament every day starting in Genesis and Matthew and reading through in the order the Bible is written finishing with Malachi and Revelation. This year I have decided to read the Bible chronologically to get a better understanding of historical context and the history of salvation for each book of the Bible. So far this year I have read Genesis and Job and now I am reading Exodus.

The book of Genesis showed the plight of the human race and its need of salvation and the beginning of the process of divine rescue in Abraham. The process then seems to pause with Israel’s descendants’ migration to Egypt.

The book of Job does not move the historical narrative forward but is a book of wisdom literature which deals with the big question of the apparently undeserved suffering of faithful individuals “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1). It helps the faithful to remember that we only see a fragment of what God’s ultimate plans are for his people (think of the story of Joseph’s). This equips believers to trust and obey the sovereign God of all creation and enables believers to support and encourage each other in the spirit of tenderness and humility. Job askes one of the most important questions that anyone can ask; “But how can a man be right before God?” (Job 9:2). The firm foundation for Job’s hope in in his “Redeemer” in whom he is confident will come to stand on the earth (Job 19:25). Near the end of the book, after God has answered Job out of the whirlwind, Job’s response shows that he has a clearer understanding of who God is and who Job is in relationship to God. He concludes, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” After this time of testing God restores the fortunes of Job.

Exodus describes a great step forward in the history of salvation story. In Exodus we see the pattern for the ministry and death of Christ. In him God dwelt (tabernacled) among us; we have seen his glory. Jesus sojourned in Egypt and then came out of Egypt. The Passover meal pointed to “the new covenant in my blood” Luke (22:20). Baptism and partaking of his spiritual food and drink identifies the believer with the Israelites’ passage through the Red Sea and their experiences in the wilderness. Believers shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3). Exodus ends with the question of how a sinful people will live with a holy God in their midst. Leviticus will begin to address this problem.

Doug Stauffer

 

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