I read a lot of books and I write a lot of book reviews here at LearnThis.ca. Nearly all of them are focused on areas I have interests and about things I want to learn more about. As well, many of you know about my Christian faith and foundation and while I had continually been explorer deeper into many areas of personal development through books, I’ve only just started to explore more books about Christianity and faith. So, I decided to challenge myself and so I embarked on reading the greatest book of all time. The number one best seller every year with nearly 6 billion sold overall through time. That’s right, I decided to read the bible start to finish within 6 months.
Reading The Entire Bible
So I started by picking a few books (of which there are 66 by the way) from the old Testament. I’ve read all the gospels and the first few books of the bible many times before but never consistently read through many of the inner books except story by story or bit by bit. I decided to start part way through and wrap back to the old testament to finish it so I started with Ecclesiastes. It’s a wonderful book and actually one of my favorites now. So many words of wisdom and things to think about I could likely read it 100 times and not understand half of what is said in it. This is the thing that amazed me the further and further I read. I understood far more than I ever have in reading individual stories and chapters or bible books before, but at the same time, I realized there is so much more depth and wisdom that I just barely scratched the surface of what can be learned. There are countless passages of wisdom and things to learn from that other books really just don’t compare any more for me. One man’s book on a subject couldn’t possibly come close to the sheer volume of things to learn in the Bible. This is not to say I’m going to stop reading other books or value them less as they have their place as well, it just really demonstrated to me that most of the content I really love learning about in personal development roots back to the Bible and especially to Jesus by example in so many ways. I’ve always known that but never read it first hand over and over like I did reading through in the past 8 months. I started reading in March and finished 8 months later in October which I’m quite happy about. I read a number of other books in between as well, especially through the summer with more vacation time and time spent out at the lake.
So I want to explore as with any book I read, some of the things to learned. In this case, I can only begin to mention the things I learned and really its more about the general methods that I learned from, not specific elements since there is just so much content to take in. I know I will be reading this incredible book many times over after such a great experience this time.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1–2
Learning from Heroes
Everyone loves heroes and there are no shortage of them in the Bible. There are a significant number of them in fact and they have so much to teach through their actions. Everything from great acts of faith, fantastic leadership, servant hood to acts of desperation from suffering, despair and heartache. These heroes aren’t like your everyday Pixar movie heroes though, they’re real with real scenarios, struggles and in most cases quite an amazing journey.
One of my favorite heroes is Jeremiah. The depth of his character, his integrity and emotion portrayed is simply wonderful. Jeremiah faced delivering a message of despair to the people of Judah due to their lack of faith in God and distance the commands of the Lord. Of course he was rejected by the people of the land and expressed deep emotion to the pain and hardship that was brought upon him, yet all the while, he obeyed every command from God. He was imprisoned, beaten, tossed aside, hated and wanted dead by many who knew him. His faith kept him alive despite the harsh emotions and laments he expressed in his time of solitude. Jeremiah’s strength showed by him being completely real and expressive about his emotions and relationships. He expressed his disappointments, his questions, his burdens. He was authentic. Genuine. We don’t live an honest life like Jeremiah did, we fake our feelings, we tell little white lies to hide our true feelings and expressions. Why can’t we be genuine like Jeremiah while still holding onto a faith in God, a hope that cannot die regardless of the suffering and despair we come across on this short earth life? We ought to learn from Jeremiah to remember God’s compassion, seek him and wait for his grace and love. Anyone who can exult the Lord and follow God in spite of these great grievances heart ache is a hero if you ask me.
I’ll finish up with Part 2 tomorrow looking specifically at how The Bible teaches through storytelling, makes you look at what really matters in life and then how this relates to personal development.
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