How do I find my way around the Bible?

I remember going to a library when I was in grade school (before there were computers and google!) to find research information.  The process of finding information seemed confusing, but slowly using the card catalogue and other resource tools, I was able to learn my way around the library to find specific subjects.  The library opened a vast collection of important resources.

People often find it difficult to find subject matter in the Bible, because it seems so vast.  People get confused about the Old and New Testaments and all the books found in each one.  How do you find particular subject matter on handling money, raising children, or how to get along in marriage?  Let’s look at the layout of the Bible first.

 First, you can always look at the Table of contents found in the front of every Bible to see how the books of the Bible are arranged. It is very wise to spend time just looking at the names of the different books and then noticing the arrangements.

Secondly, understand the Old and New Testaments both contain truth. There are some books that give historical accounts of God’s people, like Genesis, Numbers, Joshua and Judges.  These are primarily found in the Old Testament.  But Acts is a historical account of the church in the New Testament. The Old Testament also contains wisdom literature, like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and prophetic material, like Isaiah and Jeremiah. The New Testament contains letters written to churches and individuals on how to live in a manner worthy of God’s calling and deal with problems that have arisen, like Romans, Ephesians and James. There are also books that deal with similar material in both the Old and New Testaments, like End Times matters, which would include Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament.

Thirdly, the order of the Old Testament is fascinating.  Remember 5-12-5-5-12. There are 5 books of Moses, followed by 12 books of history, followed by 5 books of poetry, followed by 5 books of the Major Prophets and followed by 12 books of the Minor Prophets. When you remember that pattern and the category that each book fits in, you will find the books very easily.

Fourthly, the New Testament is not quite as easy, but it also has a pattern. There are four gospel accounts about Jesus, then one book of history, then thirteen letters of Paul, then eight general letters and one book on end times, Revelation.

The key? Practice finding the books! You may use tabs, which have abbreviations of each book title and can be inserted at the beginning of each book, but the best way is to practice remembering the location of each book.   Once you do this, then you will begin to learn where specific subject matter is contained.  For example there is great parenting material in Proverbs, Ephesians and Philippians.  If you need specific information today, then go to a person you trust to guide you to locations in Scripture to find your answers.


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