I have an addiction. I suppose if we’re going to get to know one another better, you should know it all. I am addicted to garage sales. The unquenchable desire seems to be genetic, dating back to my Grandma Lucy. My aunts certainly played their part. Another woman’s junk is most certainly my treasure.
The secret to garage sailing is regularity. If you plan to just go one or two times a year, those might be the off weeks and you’ll come up empty handed. But if you go weekly, sometimes a couple times a week, you can furnish your cabinets, toy boxes and closets with the finest of things. Of my many treasures, I have gotten Bibles, commentaries and Christian books for only a handful of spare change.
A couple years back, I picked up an NLT chronological Bible. Missing a dust cover but otherwise in excellent shape. I paid like $.50 for it. The following January I decided to read the Bible straight through, based on the actual timeline that theologians think it occurred. My mom and a few local friends started this journey with me. The lessons kept coming all year long. No one really knows where Job fits in the timeline. So, translations put it in different locations. My Bible lists the descendants of Israel’s patriarchs found in Chronicles along with their stories in Genesis. Other translations do not.
My mom and I chat on the phone daily and often times our conversations would center around what we discovered from reading the Bible chronologically. I attend Bible study with another friend reading the Bible through in this way. We would spend the first few minutes before Bible study on Wednesday nights comparing notes.
My in-laws knew I planned to read the Bible through in a year. I shared tidbits with them on what I read from time to time. They took a trip to Mexico that spring and happened to mention to their cab driver I had a chronological Bible. With tears in his eyes, he said,
I would love to have a Bible to read like this.
Of course, they came home determined to send him one. Get ready - traces of God forthcoming... we visited my sister-in-law and her family that March. While there, we visited the library, who was having a book sale. For one dollar, we picked up a chronological Bible for the Mexican cab driver. He emailed them recently that he enjoys it so very much!
Back in Michigan, as I read the Old Testament, I got completely confused by all the “ites” in the Bible... Jebusites, Midianites, Hittites, Canaanites, etc. For the first time, I put together these nations who fought the Israelites were for the most part distant relatives. The Hatfields and McCoys have nothing on these Bible characters. This year I have decided to keep a list of the descendants of Noah, Abraham, Jacob and the like.
Get the picture now?!
Perhaps I should have left this genealogy stuff up to the theologians. To put it mildly, reading the Bible through this way completely fascinated me. I got caught up in it. Come August, when Jesus FINALLY made His appearance as a man, I needed Him on the scene. Because, frankly, the Old Testament business, while compelling, left things a mess.
We need Jesus!
On December 31st, I finished the chronological Bible in its entirety. Without a doubt in my mind, I knew I would start again with Genesis 1 on January 1st. I couldn’t wait!
Even more than that, I wanted to find others who would read the Bible through in this way with me. What we read each day could lead to such rich discussion. I put a feeler out on Facebook and got some interest. Then, I decided to start a private group so we could comment freely and not clog up our walls with posts about our Bible readings.
Forty women from four different states agreed to read through the Bible in a year. One lady mentioned she would like to read through the New Testament only because the Old Testament never made any sense to her without being in a classroom discussing it. I plan to extend her an invite come August!
For many of them, this is their first time reading through the entire Bible. We are brand new believers to mature Christians. Some use an actual chronological Bible while others read a version online or have printed off a copy of the chronological order to read it in their own Bible. The posts we share bless me. They challenge me. They crack me up.
Our children see us reading the Bible and ask questions. One member is actually reading the Bible through with her child. With the built-in accountability of daily posts, many women have made it further than ever before on their goal to read the Bible through in a year. But it’s not about that - how much of the Bible you can read in a year. We are engaging with God’s living, breathing Word on a daily basis. Every 24 hours or so, we visit with Him. We ask each other hard questions, often finding our answers in Scripture later down the road.
I have yet to dread doing my Bible reading this year. I never find it boring, and we waded through Leviticus!
On several occasions, I have seen the women in this group around town. Our conversation naturally goes to what we’re reading or the experience of reading it through together. I don’t know exactly what we’re on to here, but I can trace that God is up to something.
Talk about the garage sale find of the century!